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The National Day Nurseries Association has outlined the steps you need to take if you want to apply for the 15 hours ‘free’ funding for two year olds starting in April.
The Department for Education has announced that applications are open for eligible working parents of two-year-olds to receive 15 hours funded childcare. NDNA has put together a quick step guide for parents, explaining exactly what you need to know.
1. MAKE SURE YOU ARE ELIGIBLE
Check that you are eligible to receive the 15 hours funded childcare on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/check-eligible-free-childcare-if-youre-working
2. HAVE THE RIGHT INFORMATION TO HAND
You will need your National Insurance number, the date you started or are due to start work, details for any support or benefits you receive and the UK birth certificate number (if you have one) for your child.
3. APPLY ONLINE
Complete the online application on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-childcare-if-youre-working
4. RECEIVE YOUR APPROVALS DECISION
It can take up to seven days for you to receive your decision. Sometimes you may find out straight away.
5. DON’T MISS THE DEADLINE
Applications are open from now until 31 March. If you miss the deadline, or don’t receive your code by 31 March, you won’t be able to start using the new entitlements from 1 April.
If you are already claiming Tax-Free Childcare, there is a slightly different process:
1. RECONFIRM YOUR ELIGIBILITY
You must reconfirm your eligibility for Tax-Free Childcare every three months.
2. RECEIVE YOUR CODE
If you are eligible, once you have reconfirmed your eligibility you will receive a code which will also let you access the new offer.
3. RECONFIRMATION WINDOW: AFTER 15th FEBRUARY
If your reconfirmation window opens on or after 15th February, HMRC will send you a letter with a temporary code before this date.
4. READ YOUR LETTER
The letter will tell you how to use your code to claim your free place in April. Please wait for the letter to arrive instead of contacting HMRC, where possible.
5. SPEAK WITH YOUR EARLY YEARS PROVIDER
Before your letter arrives, speak with your early years provider and demonstrate your eligibility for the new free hours entitlement. The eligibility criteria are the same. You can show: a screenshot from your childcare account, when your reconfirmation window is, your National Insurance number and proof of your child’s date of birth. You must wait for your code to formally confirm your place.