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Eligibility

Your eligibility depends on:

  • if you are working
  • your income (and your partner’s income, if you have one)
  • your child’s age and circumstances
  • your immigration status

You can get 30 hours free childcare at the same time as claiming Universal Credit, tax credits, childcare vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare.

If you are working

You can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:

  • in work
  • on sick leave or annual leave
  • on shared parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave

If you’re on adoption leave for a child aged 3 to 4 years old, you must return to work within 31 days of the date you first apply for 30 hours free childcare for that child.

If your working pattern has changed because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

You may still be eligible for 30 hours free childcare if you’re temporarily working less and either:

  • you’re on furlough through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • you’re claiming a Self Employment Income Support Scheme grant

If you are not currently working

You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.

You can apply if you’re starting or re-starting work within the next 31 days.

Your income

You’ll need to expect to earn a certain amount over the next 3 months. This is at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week on average.

For example, over the next 3 months you expect to earn at least £1,813.76 - the National Living Wage for people over 25.

If you have a partner, they’ll need to expect to earn at least this much too.

If you or your partner are temporarily earning less than this amount because of coronavirus, you may still be eligible. You must be furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or claiming a Self Employment Income Support Scheme grant to qualify.

If you’re self-employed and do not expect to make enough profit in the next 3 months, you can use an average of how much you expect to make over the current tax year.

This earnings limit does not apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.

If you or your partner have an expected ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000 in the current tax year you will not be eligible. This includes any bonuses you expect to get.

You or your partner can earn up to £150,000 in the current tax year and still be eligible if you’re a critical worker and have worked extra hours because of coronavirus.

Your adjusted net income is your total taxable income before any personal allowances and minus things like Gift Aid.

 

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