Thousands issued eight-day warning ahead of free childcare deadline or face missing out on cash – are you eligible? | The Sun

THOUSANDS of parents have been issued with an eight-day warning ahead of a crucial free childcare deadline.

Some parents are currently eligible for 30 hours of free childcare a week over 38 weeks of the year, if they meet certain conditions.

The provision is set to be extended to more families from September 2025.

But, in a series of recent posts on X, formerly Twitter, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said thousands of parents who are currently eligible aren't claiming.

He urged eligible them to make a claim before the end of August if they want to start receiving the benefit from September 1.

He said: "It's really important if you want to take advantage of our existing 30 hours offer for three and four-year-olds.

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"You need to get your application in before the deadline of Thursday, 31st August."

What is 30 hours free childcare and who is eligible?

Thirty hours free childcare is available to some parents in England with children aged three and four.

There are different schemes if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

It allows you to access 30 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year – during school term time.

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But you can get free childcare for 52 weeks of the year if you use less than 30 hours a week.

Whether you can do this is dependent on your provider agreeing to it.

Typically, to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare, you must earn a minimum of the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the National Living or Minimum Wage – this works out to be around £167 a week.

You also have to be earning less than £100,000 a year, as two parents combined or a single parent.

There are certain types of income that don't count towards your minimum amount. These are:

  • dividends
  • interest
  • income from investing in property
  • pension payments

You can normally use up your free hours of childcare with nurseries, childminders and pre schools.

However, out of school clubs are also eligible if they are registered on the Early Years Register.

How to claim

If you live in England, you can apply for 30 hours free childcare via the Government's website.

If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you have to apply via their respective Government websites.

In England, you can apply for 30 hours free childcare from when your child is two years and 36 weeks old.

You'll need some details to hand though, including you, and your partner's if you have one, National Insurance number.

If you're self-employed you'll need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), to hand as well.

The Government's website says the application process takes around 20 minutes.

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In some cases, you'll find out if you are eligible straight away, but this process can take up to seven days.

Once your application has been approved you'll get a code which you can use to redeem with your childcare provider.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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