Eligibility for the free early years entitlement for two-year-olds under Universal Credit

The Government is inviting views on proposals for the free early years entitlement eligibility criteria for two-year-olds under Universal Credit.

The introduction of Universal Credit, which replaces the current benefit system, means that the Government needs to set similar eligibility criteria for families receiving it, to ensure ‘the early years offer continues to be targeted at those children who can most benefit from it’.

The DfE is seeking views from early years organisations, providers and parents, on the eligibility criteria for the free entitlement for two-year-olds, following the introduction of Universal Credit.

The consultation proposes setting a net earnings threshold of £15,400, not including any extra income through benefits. It estimates that a typical family earning around £15,400 a year have a total household income of between £24,000 and £32,000 once benefits are taken into account.

The DfE estimates that by applying this eligibility criteria around 8,000 more children would take up the two-year-old places once universal credit is fully rolled out, compared to the number currently receiving it.

The Government intends that this earnings threshold for the two-year-old entitlement comes into effect from1 April 2018.

  • Respond to the consultation here
  • The consultation closes on 15 January 2018

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