The Government has announced that parents can access early years funding if their income falls below or rises above eligibility levels this term.
Parents who are normally eligible for the government’s early years childcare offers will continue receiving the entitlements during the summer term if their income levels fall due to the impact of coronavirus, the Government has announced.
The Government says that any working parent usually eligible for 30 hours free childcare or Tax-Free Childcare will remain eligible if they fall below the minimum income requirement due to COVID-19 – equal to 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage. Subject to Parliamentary approval, parents who are key workers will also remain eligible for these entitlements if their income has increased over the maximum threshold during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently only key worker parents and parents of vulnerable children are able to access registered childcare. The arrangements will be reviewed over the summer. In addition, given parents are required to reconfirm their eligibility for 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare quarterly, the Government says it has extended the 30 hours deadline for the summer term to the 31st August to give working parents additional time to protect their place. And it has told local authorities that they can extend the validity dates for the 30 hours funding for key workers who missed the 31st March reconfirmation date for the summer term.
Meanwhile, the Government says parents who are still employed or self-employed can continue to receive tax credits even if they are working fewer hours or furloughed due to COVID-19. There is no need to contact HMRC about this change. However, if parents have lost their job, are made redundant or cease trading they must inform HMRC. They can still report any other changes in income, childcare and hours in the normal way and they can continue to claim Working Tax Credit and be treated as though they are working their normal hours. However, the Government says they should check GOV.UK to see if additional or alternative support is available based on their personal and financial circumstances.