15 hours of free childcare for two-year-olds

Eligibility criteria for parents on a low income from work or benefits

If you have a two-year-old and are on a low household income from work or benefits - your two-year-old child may be able to get a free nursery/childcare place for 15 hours a week, 38 weeks of the year (term-time). 

Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and get any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both), and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:

  • are looked after by a local authority
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • get Disability Living Allowance
  • have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

If you’re a non- UK citizen who cannot claim benefits

If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, you may still get free childcare for your 2-year-old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £34,500 for families within London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
  • £38,600 for families within London with two or more children

You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments. 

.** Applicants who meet the criteria under the non-UK citizen section will not need to continue with the online application; and will instead, need to complete a separate application form (external link). If you would like more information or have any questions about the application form, please contact the Family Information Service on 020 8825 5588 

If you’re eligible the free early education and childcare:

  • must be with an approved childcare provider
  • starts from the term after your child’s 2nd birthday.

How to check your eligibility 

You will need to create an account before completing the eligibility check. If you require assistance, you can visit our help with my account page. 

Once you have created your account, by clicking on 'check my eligibility' below you will be asked a few questions to see if you can get this free childcare. 

Please note: To check your eligibility, we will use the information you provide to confirm your annual household income, and which benefits you are in receipt of; and share your details with the relevant agencies including the Department for Education (DfE) and HMRC. Your information will then be stored securely on our database. For more information on how we use your information, please read our Privacy Policy

If you prefer to talk to someone or need support with this application please call Ealing’s Family Information Service on 020 8825 5588 (Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm). 

Some information on this page has been sourced from: Help paying for childcare: Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)