Important information about applications for the eligible working families entitlement for 2 year olds
From 2 January 2024, applications for the eligible working families entitlement for 2 year olds must be made via childcarechoices.gov.uk. Information on the working families criteria can also be found on the childcare choices website.
Families receiving some additional form of government support or who meet the eligibility criteria listed below*, should apply using the application form below.
Some working families may meet the eligibility criteria for both the working families entitlement and the criteria listed below*. If you meet any of the criteria listed below, you should apply using the following application form as your eligibility for the entitlement will then be protected until the term after your child's third birthday. Applications for the working families entitlement will require you to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months.
*Some two year olds are eligible for 15 hours of free early education and childcare if you are receiving one of the following :-
- Income support
- Job Seeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
- Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both), and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
2 year-olds can also get free childcare if they:
- are looked after by a local authority
- have an education, health and care (EHC) plan or a statement of educational needs (SEN)
- Get Disability Living Allowance - https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children
- have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order
If you are a non-UK citizen who cannot claim benefits
If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’ you may still get free childcare for your two year old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more that:
- £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
- £34,500 for families within London with one child
- £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
- £38,600 for families within London with two or more children
You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments
If you meet any of the criteria listed above, please apply for the entitlement using the 'online application form' link further up this page.
What hours will my child get and how can they be used?
Eligible children will receive 15 hours per week of early education and childcare during term times. This is a total of 570 hours which can be stretched over a whole year if your child is with a childcare provider who is open all year and the childcare provider can accommodate this to help working families with their regular childcare costs.
Can I choose where to access the 2 year old entitlement?
The entitlement is available in certain school nurseries, day nurseries, preschool playgroups and with many registered childminders.
If you would like your child to attend a childcare provider in Kingston or Richmond but you live in another borough, you can still apply.
If your child is not already attending childcare and your application is successful, we can send you a list of childcare providers to choose from. You can then contact childcare providers directly to enquire whether they have a place available.
If you apply to Childcare Choices for the working families entitlement, you can use our online Childcare Search once you have received your eligibility code to find childcare providers in your area who can offer a place.
If your child is already attending a childcare provider you must still apply for the entitlement, but you should also speak to your childcare provider to find out if they will be able to continue to offer your child a place using your entitlement.
When will my child be eligible?
Please use the dates below as a guide for when you should apply.
If your child's second birthday is between 1 January and 31 March, you may qualify for the entitlement
- from the summer term starting in April
- you can submit an application after 31 December
If your child's second birthday is between 1 April and 31 August, you may qualify for the entitlement
- from the autumn term starting in September
- you can submit an application after 31 March
If your child's second birthday is between 1 September and 31 December, you may qualify for the entitlement
- from the spring term starting in January
- you can submit an application after 31 August
If you are applying via Childcare Choices for the Working Families Entitlement for 2 year olds, you must apply for your eligibility code during the term in which your child turns 2 and you must have received a code by the end of the term in which your child is 2 if you wish to claim your entitlement from the following term.
What happens once I have applied and how soon will I know if my application has been approved?
Your application will be checked for eligibility. You will then be contacted to let you know if your application has been approved. If you apply using the application form above and you meet the criteria listed above, you will be provided with an Eligibility Reference Number and a list of childcare providers who can offer places. If you apply to Childcare Choices for the Eligible Working Families 2 year old entitlement, you will receive an Eligibility Code and can then use our online Childcare Search to find a list of childcare providers who can offer places. The Eligibility Reference Number or Eligibility Code should be passed to your childcare provider once you have secured a place for your child.
If your application is approved, you will be advised what to do next.
Times and days of attendance will depend on the childcare provider's availability.
You should not be charged for the childcare entitlement hours. Your childcare provider must make you aware of any additional charges that may apply. If you need additional hours you would have to request this from your childcare provider and pay for these.
Please note, eligibility checking may take several weeks to be completed. You should apply in good time to ensure you receive confirmation of your eligibility during the term of your child's second birthday, to allow plenty of time for you to find a childcare place.
Is there anything that could affect my child's entitlement ?
If your application is successful and your child is receiving his or her early education entitlement, certain changes can affect the entitlement but other things won't:
If you apply under the criteria listed above for your 2 year old entitlement and you move your child to a childcare provider outside the Kingston and Richmond boroughs, you may need to reapply to the local authority in which your new childcare provider is located.
If you apply under the criteria listed above for your 2 year old entitlement and your income changes or you return to work, this does not change anything - your child will continue to receive the entitlement for two year olds until they are eligible for the three year old early education entitlement.
If you apply to Childcare Choices for the Working Families 2 year old entitlement and your income or employment status changes, this may affect your entitlement if you no longer meet the working families eligibility criteria. You will be asked to reconfirm your information every 3 months to retain your entitlement.
You may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk. Please visit https://www.
What happens when my child turns three years old?
When a child becomes three years old, they will usually move over to the three year olds entitlements and stay with the same childcare provider. However in some cases this might not be possible and you may have to move to a different childcare provider. You should check before you register with your childcare provider to find out if your child will be able to stay to access their three year old entitlement.