Funding for the Early Years and Childcare Entitlement

Disability Access Fund

Disability Access Fund (DAF) is a Government funding measure for early years providers. DAF is an annual payment to early years providers to support children with disabilities or Special Educational Needs who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance.  

Eligibility for Disability Access Fund (DAF) 
3 and 4 year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • The child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – (for more information on Disability Living Allowance); and
  • The child receives the funded entitlement funding (15 hours universal entitlement)

Please note: 4 year olds who are attending maintained, academy or free school reception classes are NOT eligible for DAF funding.

To access additional information about Disability Access Fund, please visit the SEND and Inclusion pages of this website.


  • The settings of three- and four-year-olds eligible for the DAF will be entitled to receive a one-off payment per year. The DAF is not based on an hourly rate and is an additional entitlement.
  • The lump sum payment can only be paid to one setting. The parents of children who are splitting their Early years funded entitlements across two or more providers, are responsible for nominating the provider who should receive the DAF payment.
  • Children who are in receipt of DAF will be eligible in the setting they have chosen to take up their 15 hour entitlement for parents of three and four year olds (the universal entitlement) or in the case of split setting, the setting nominated by the parent. The parent can nominate a setting using the parental declaration form. (Please find link to parental declaration form below)
  • Children do not have to take up the full 570 hours of Early years funded entitlements they are entitled to in order to receive the DAF.
  • If a child receiving DAF moves from one setting to another within a financial year the money will remain with the original setting. The new setting is not eligible to receive DAF funding for this child within the same financial year.
  • The DAF will not be offset against any other funding which Bolton Council may ordinarily be providing for children eligible for the DAF.
  • Where a child lives in one authority area but attends a provider in a different local authority, the provider’s local authority is responsible for funding the DAF for the child and eligibility checking.
  • All early years providers who are eligible to receive the 15 hour entitlement for parents of three and four year olds (the universal entitlement) are also eligible to receive the DAF.

What can providers use the funding for?

The DAF is to be used by providers to make changes to their environment to help support their children with special educational needs/ disabilities. For example, supporting providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings and/or helping with building capacity (be that for the child in question or for the benefit of children as a whole attending the setting).

Provider Responsibilities

Early years providers are responsible for identifying eligible children. Providers are encouraged to speak to parents in order to find out who is eligible for the DAF.

Providers will be able to use the parent declaration form template. The template is for parents whose child is attending their setting and will include a box for parents to tick if their child is in receipt of disability living allowance. To access a template of the parental declaration form to use, please follow link

Process for provider application for Disability Access Fund (DAF)


For all queries relating to Disability Access Fund, please contact the Start Well SEND Service at or telephone 01204 338149