Working parents are being reminded by Derbyshire County Council to apply now for extra funded childcare for the new term in January.
All three and four-year-old children in the county are entitled to 15 hours funded early education a week and some working parents are also eligible to receive 30 hours a week for their three and four-year-olds.
Derbyshire County Council is encouraging families to check their eligibility, get a code and apply by visiting www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.
Parents who want to take up the additional childcare from the new term in January must apply now before the December 31 deadline.
Those who are already benefiting from the additional funded childcare are also reminded they need to update their details approximately every three months to make sure they still qualify.
Councillor Alex Dale, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Young People, said: "We'd urge families not to miss out on this scheme. The extra funding is worth around £2,500 per child per year which would enable parents to work more hours if they want to while giving their children the chance to socialise and learn at nursery.
"We're urging parents not to wait until the deadline but to check now to see if they qualify for extra funded childcare. Although the deadline is not until the end of December the pre-Christmas period is busy for everyone, especially families with young children, so it’s a good idea not to leave it to the last minute to apply so applications can be processed and details checked."
To be eligible for up to 30 hours of funded childcare families must meet the following criteria:
• Both parents must be working (or the sole parent in a single parent family)
• Each parent must earn on average the equivalent to 16 hours at the national minimum or living wage, including those on zero hour contracts. This earnings limit does not apply with self-employed parents who started their business less than 12 months ago
• Neither parent (or the sole parent in a single parent family) earns more than £100,000 a year
Applicants just need their National Insurance number or Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) if they’re self-employed.
Families may still qualify where one or both parents are on maternity, paternity, adoption leave or statutory sick pay or if one is working but the other is unable to work because they are disabled or have caring responsibilities and receive Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.
The county council is continuing to work with schools, nurseries, pre-schools and childminders to encourage them to offer the extra hours flexibly to meet the needs of working parents in Derbyshire. Funded childcare is available at participating:
• Full day care providers (eg nurseries)
• Schools with nursery provision
• Sessional providers (eg playgroups)
• Before and after-school provision
The extra hours are Government funded and eligibility is assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Even if parents don’t qualify for the extra hours, they will still be entitled to the universal 15 hours of funded early education.
Families can check their eligibility and apply for their 30 hours funded childcare at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.
Eligible families can receive 30 hours funded childcare at the same time as claiming Universal Credit, tax credits, childcare vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare.