Disability Access Fund (DAF)

Mother and child playing together on the sofa

The Disability Access Fund is to support access to early years free entitlement places for 3 and 4 year olds. It supports children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The intention of this funding is to support childcare providers in making reasonable adjustments to their provision and/or helping to build capacity within the staff team.

Who can apply?

Childcare providers can apply on behalf of the family for the Disability Access Fund (DAF) funding.

The provider needs to be offering funded places for 3 and 4 year olds and also be one of the following:

  • an Ofsted registered childcare provider whether private, voluntary or independent,
  • any school providing registered nursery provision,
  • an Ofsted registered childminder.
Will my child be eligible?

To be eligible for the DAF funding, your child will need to be in receipt of:

  • disability living allowance (DLA),
  • universal free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds.

Please note that 4 year olds in school reception classes are not eligible for DAF funding.

How much funding will my child get?

Children do not have to take up the full 570 hours of universal free entitlement in order to receive the Disability Access Fund (DAF).

If your child is eligible for the  DAF and is sharing their free entitlement across 2 or more childcare providers, parents will be asked to nominate the main provider to receive the funding. 

Childcare providers will receive an annual payment of £881 to meet children’s individual needs.


Will my child be eligible for Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

Usually, to qualify for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) the child must:

  • be under 16,
  • need extra looking after or have walking difficulties,
  • be in Great Britain, another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland when you claim – there are some exceptions, such as family members of the Armed Forces,
  • have lived in Great Britain for 2 of the last 3 years,
  • be habitually resident in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands,
  • not be subject to immigration control.

Further information on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children is available at:

GOV.UK or at Contact

How is the DAF funding authorised?

The local authority will check that the DAF eligibility requirements are met.  

Local authorities must be satisfied that the child in question is receiving disability living allowance. 

Evidence of the child’s disability living allowance award letter will need to be submitted and a copy of this will be kept for evidence on file.


Who will identify eligibility for DAF?

Childcare providers are ultimately responsible for identifying eligible children. They should speak to parents in order to find out who is eligible for the Disability Access Fund (DAF).

Childcare providers will use the secure online Early Years Provider Portal to apply.

Page last reviewed: 15/11/2023

Skip back to top of page