Halton Borough Council wants to remind parents that free early years entitlement for three and four year olds changed in September 2017.
In addition to the universal offer of 15 hours free hours per week (which all three and four year olds are entitled to from the term after their 3rd birthday), most working parents of three and four year old children will be eligible for an additional 15 hours – giving them 30 hours free childcare, per week.
The new 30 hours free childcare is intended to support working parents with the cost of childcare and enable parents, where they wish, to return to work or to work additional hours.
Parents are reminded that they can only start claiming a 30 hour place for their 3 or 4 year old the term following the date they receive a decision from HMRC.
Therefore, parents are encouraged to apply in good time (before the end of August 2018 at the latest) if they want to start claiming from September 2018.
To find out if you qualify and apply, go on-line to: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/
You can also apply for Tax Free Childcare on the same link.
Once parents have applied and been informed they are eligible for the additional 15 hours, and have been issued with an eligibility code, they need to take the eligibility code to their childcare provider, as childcare providers need to verify the code and date before a child can take up the additional hours.
Parents will also need to re-confirm eligibility every three months.
To ensure you can claim 30 hours free childcare from September 2018, parents are encouraged to apply by the end of August 2018 as any applications received after 31st AUGUST 2018 will not be eligible to claim the additional hours until January 2019.
To be eligible for the additional 15 hours from September 2018, both sets of criteria below must be met:
• The child must be three or four years old before 31st August 2018, and
• Parents must have applied for the additional hours and been issued with an eligibility code with a start date before 31st August 2018
Parents who are already claiming 30 hours free childcare are reminded that they must re-confirm eligibility every 3 months, by logging into their Government gateway account. They will receive an email reminder in their Government secure emails account approximately 4 weeks before their eligibility code expiry date.
Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Children, Young People and Families, Cllr Tom McInerney, said: “We want to make sure everyone knows what they are entitled to.”