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Apply for 30 hours free childcare before the deadline

Posted 23 August 2017

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Make sure you’re getting the free childcare you’re entitled to – and that you apply in time for this academic year.

Good news for parents of children between the ages of 3-4. A new child care system is being rolled out across England from September and will provide double the hours of free childcare available a week.


The scheme is officially called ’30 hours free childcare’ and allows parents to register for an extra 15 hours of free childcare a week. Currently every 3-4 year old in the country is entitled to 15 hours of free childcare per week.

The rise from 15 to 30 hours of free childcare could save parents 1000s of pounds a year. Altogether that adds up to 1140 hours of free childcare a year.


How do I get this free childcare?


To benefit, you need to register through the Childcare Choices website and the deadline for September 2017, is the 31st of August. It’s likely that nursery places will be limited as well, so it’s in your best interests to act as soon as possible. You can look for an Ofsted nursery in England here.


Once you’ve completed the online form, you’ll get a code which proves that you’re eligible. You need to take this code, along with your National Insurance number to your care provider and they will pass this on to the local authority.


It will be available from any Ofsted registered nursery, playgroup, childminder or Sure Start Children’s Centre that participates in the scheme.


Eligibility


Only parents who are working and earning £120 a week or more, will qualify. If you earn more than £100,000 you won’t be eligible, unless this amount is split between both parents and you are allowed to claim if you’re self-employed or on a zero-hours contract.


Once you’ve registered, you will need to reconfirm the fact that you’re eligible every three months, which may seem like a chore, but it will be worth it financially.


My child is older – is there any help for me?


If you have an older child, you should check whether you’re entitled to Tax Free Childcare instead. This provides some parents with tax relief for children up to the age of 12, capped at £2,000. For every 80p you spend on childcare, the government will subsidise an extra 20p.


You should also check whether you’re entitled to Tax Child Credits. This is a benefit which provides financial support if you’re responsible for a child under the age of 16, or someone under the age 20 who is still in full-time education or training. Use this Government link to find out if you qualify.

 

by Christine Walsh

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