Free childcare for two-year-olds
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 two-year-old can get free early education and childcare if you live in England and get one 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
- Child tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).
A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:
- They are looked after by a local council
- They have a statement of special education needs (SEN) (GOV.UK) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
- They get Disability Living Allowance (GOV.UK)
- They have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order.
If you are a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits
Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act (GOV.UK) and have either:
- Claimed asylum (GOV.UK) in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
- Been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’).
A 2-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:
- Leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds (GOV.UK)
- Support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan
- The right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’) (GOV.UK).
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 apply