Parents Can Get 15 Hours Free Childcare — Here's How To Check If You're Eligible

The government will roll out the second phase of funding this month.
Adorable toddler boy with Down Syndrome stacks blocks in preschool classroom during occupational therapy appointment
Courtney Hale via Getty Images
Adorable toddler boy with Down Syndrome stacks blocks in preschool classroom during occupational therapy appointment

For thousands of parents April 2024 was a big month when it came to childcare changes. The UK government rolled out its first phase of funding which meant families were able to access 15 hours of free childcare.

The government-funded project is aimed at to help families tackle the rising costs, so from last month many parents of two-year-olds were able to apply.

This month another set of parents will also be benefitting as the second phase of government funding will roll out.

From May 12, 2024, eligible working parents will be able to apply for 15 hours of government-funded childcare for children aged between nine months and 23-months-old.

When can I apply for 15 hours free childcare?

Currently, parents are able to apply for 30 hours of free childcare if they have a three or four year old.

Alongside this parents with two-year-olds can already access 15 hours free support.

The big changes are from September 2024 where 15 hours of childcare support will be extended to eligible working parents with a child from 9-months-old.

For this, applications will open from May 12.

Additionally, from September 2025 eligible working parents will be able to receive 30 hours of childcare funding if they have a nine month old up to school age.

How can I apply for government childcare funding?

Before you apply you need to check the eligibility criteria. The main aspects that are taken into consideration are:

- Your child’s age and circumstances

- Your employment status (employed, self-employed, or a director)

- Your income (and partner’s income, if you have one)

- Your immigration status

Once you have checked if you are eligible on the government website, you can apply through your childcare account.

You will need to have some information at hand to apply. This includes your national insurance number (or unique taxpayer reference if you are self-employed), the date you started or are due to start work, details of any government support or benefits you receive and the UK birth certificate reference number (if you have one) for your child.

After you have sent all your information, it can take up to seven days to hear back.

If your application is successful, you will receive a code which you need to give to your childcare provider.

For any questions or queries visit the government website.