Leeds parents are being warned they could miss out on the 30 hours early education entitlement from September if they do not apply for a voucher code by the end of this month.
All three and four year olds are currently eligible for 15 hours Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) for 38 weeks of the year, starting the term after their third birthday, however from September this has been extended to include an additional 15 hours entitlement for some families.
In order to be able to claim this additional entitlement from September, parents of children who have already turned three, must apply for a voucher code by 31 August 2017 via the Childcare Choices website at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk
People who do not request a code before the 31 August will not be able to claim the additional hours until January 2018.
It is also important to remember that parents will need to reconfirm their details every three months with HMRC, to enable them to continue to take advantage of the 30 hours entitlement.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families said:
“We want to encourage as many parents as possible to take advantage of the additional early education entitlement to help their children develop their skills and confidence ready to start school and increase early attainment. Attending a good quality childcare setting, can give children the best possible start in life.”
Under the new government regulations it is parents’ responsibility to apply for their voucher code to enable them to access this additional entitlement, and reconfirm with HMRC every three months existing providers cannot do this on parents’ behalf.
Parents can claim the additional entitlement if they (and partner, if they have one) are:
- in work (or receiving parental leave, sick leave or annual leave)
- each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week (£120 per week for over 25s) (This earnings limit doesn’t apply for people who are self-employed and started their business less than 12 months ago).
People are not eligible for the additional entitlement if:
- their child doesn’t usually live with them
- the child is a foster child
- either parent has a taxable income over £100,000 (this is not a combined income limit)
People who are unable to work may still be eligible if thier partner is working, if they get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.
To find out more about available childcare options, people can visit the Leeds Family Information Service website www.familyinformation.leeds.gov.uk, where information about children’s centre daycare, school and private nurseries, and childminders can be found.
The 30 hours free early education can be claimed whilst also claiming Universal Credit, tax credits or childcare vouchers.
People can contact the Leeds Family Information Service on 0113 378 9700 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for help and advice.
People who do not have access to the internet, or are struggling to apply for a voucher code, should contact the HMRC Customer Care number on 0300 123 4097 to apply for their code.