30 Hour Eligibility Criteria and Checks

Nationally, from 1st September 2017, every eligible working family can apply to access 30 hours of funded childcare each week in term time or 1140 funded hours stretched over the year.


The national eligibility criteria which families will need to meet are:

  • Both parents must be working (or the sole parent if in a lone parent family)
  • Each parent must have a weekly minimum income equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or national living wage
  • Each parent must have an income less than £100,000 per year

They would also fit the criteria if:

  • Both parents are employed but one (or both) is temporarily away from the workplace on maternity, paternity, parental or parental leave
  • Both parents are employed but one (or both) is temporarily away from the workplace on adoption leave
  • Both parents are employed but one (or both) is temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay
  • One parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring
  • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

A 'Parent' is defined as a person who has parental responsibility or care for the child. In cases where a parent has remarried or is living with a partner, the step-parent or partner must also meet the earnings threshold.

Foster carers will only be eligible for their own children (if they meet the above criteria) and not for the children they are fostering.

The definition of 'Working' includes employed persons, self-employed persons and parents on zero hours contracts who meet the above criteria. 

HMRC Eligibility Checking Service

Parents will be able to apply for funded places, using the HMRC eligibility checking service at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Parents will also need to apply each term to ensure they still meet the eligibility criteria and grace periods will be put in place to ensure that parents can still claim their funded places for as long as possible.

Above parents will also need to apply each term :


Re-application and grace periods

Please remind your parents to re-confirm their eligibility for their code every 3 months from the date they applied and to validate their code with you as soon as possible, otherwise they may miss out on their place.
Please direct them to:



Grace Periods

  • A child who becomes ineligible during the first half of a funding block (as defined below) should be funded until the end of that funding block (31 March, 31 August, 31 December) or for as long as they remain under Compulsory School Age, whichever is the shorter.

  • A child who becomes ineligible in the latter half of the funding block (up to the last day of the funding block) should be funded until the end of the following funding block or for as long as they remain under Compulsory School Age, whichever is the shorter.

Date Parent receives ineligible decision on reconfirmation:

LA audit date:

Grace Period End date:

1 Jan - 10 Feb

11 February

31 March

11 Feb - 31 March

1 April

31 August

1 April - 26 May

27 May

31 August

27 May - 31 August

1 September

31 December

1 September - 21 October

22 October

31 December

22 October - 31 December

1 January

31 March


Foster Carers

From 1st September 2018, Foster Carers who look after early years children from the term after their third birthday can now apply for the 30 hours extended entitlement if they are in paid work outside of their fostering responsibilities.

Foster Carers will apply via a manual process through the EY Funding Team, ensuring that applying for the extended entitlement does not impact on the child’s care plan.

The Supervising Social Worker and the Child’s Social Worker will support the declaration as applicable on a case by case basis and the EY Funding Team will process each application via the Eligibility Checking Service to generate an eligibility code, which the Foster Carer will then take to their early years childcare provider to be validated as normal.

If Foster Carers have any questions, please signpost them to the Families Information Service on 01609 533483, who will then be able to support them.

Useful downloads

Briefing 1 - Eligibility 

Early Education and Childcare - DfE Statutory Guidance- June 2018

Early years entitlements: operational guidance For local authorities and providers June 2018

Letter from the Minister of State for Children and Families

Minister Goodwill has expressed his thanks to all North Yorkshire providers and schools for being part of the early roll-out of the extended entitlement funding. You can read his letter on the link below: http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2017/07/Minister-Goodwill-letter-to-early-years-providers.pdf

Evaluation of the Early Implementer Trials

The evaluation of the trials from the 8 early implementers of the extended entitlement has been published. You can find a copy of the evaluation here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/30-hours-free-childcare-early-implementation-evaluation

A slide pack from Frontier Economics is also available: http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2017/07/Frontier-EI-Evaluation-Final-Findings-Slidepack.pdf

DfE evaluation of Early Implementation of 30 hours childcare can be found here

Childcare Works

The following website has a wealth of information around the delivery and implementation of the extended entitlement along with case studies and good practice guidance: http://www.childcareworks.co.uk/resources