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Free childcare for two-year-olds

You might be able to apply for free childcare

Please apply for two-year-old funding by creating an account on the Citizen Portal.

Your two-year-old can get free childcare if you get one of the following benefits:

  • income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less a year, after tax
  • Child Tax Credit, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

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

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

If you're a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits

Your two-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as 'part 6')
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as 'section 4')

A two-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
  • 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')

How to apply

If you think your child may be eligible for funding, you can apply through our Citizen Portal.

Once you've registered for an account, you need to complete a simple form. Your application will be checked and if you're applying based on your income, you should find out straight away if your child is eligible.

If you are applying based on different criteria, your application will be sent to us for approval.

Have a look at Icon for pdf our guidance [510KB] for help filling out the form.

If you're eligible, you will receive a unique reference number for your child. You need this to show to your early years provider for them to claim the funding for you.

If you are unable to apply online, please contact the West Berkshire Family Information Service on 01635 503100, who can help you find a local provider. You can also ask your nursery, pre-school or childminder to help you apply, or contact your local family hub for support and information.

If you have further questions about funding for two-year-olds, you should email

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