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Disability Access Fund funding guide for practitioners

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) can help providers make their settings accessible to children with special needs. The funding can help providers make reasonable adjustments to their settings. They could purchase specialist equipment and or seek specialist training that would help them meet the child's needs.

Eligibility for Disability Access Fund (DAF)

3 and 4 year olds are eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child receives child disability living allowance (DLA) and;
  • the child receives 3 and 4 year old funded early education.

4 year olds in primary school reception classes are NOT eligible for DAF funding.


  • the settings of three and four year olds eligible for the DAF will be entitled to receive a one-off payment of £800 (£828 from April 2023) per year
  • the DAF is not based on an hourly rate and is an additional entitlement
  • children do not have to take up the full 570 hours of early education to receive the DAF. Children in receipt of the DAF will be eligible where they take-up any period of free entitlement.

Identifying eligible children

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

Parents of children qualifying for Disability Living Allowance need evidence of this entitlement.

Providers need to email copies of this evidence when requesting DAF to:

How early years providers will receive DAF funding

  • the local authority will fund all early years settings providing there is a place for each child eligible for the DAF in their area. The fixed annual rate of £800 (£828 from April 2023) per eligible child
  • the DAF won't be offset against any other funding the local authority may ordinarily provide for children eligible for the DAF
  • the DAF is payable as a lump sum once a year per eligible child. If a child eligible for the DAF is splitting their funded entitlement across two or more providers, the local authority will ask parents to nominate the main setting
  • this setting will be where the local authority will pay the DAF for the child 
  • please note, some parents may wish to wait until they are confident their child will remain attending a setting for the remainder of the year before accessing DAF
  • once the funding for the year is paid, it will not be reclaimed even if the child leaves the setting. The new setting will not be able to receive any Disability Access Fund payment until the following year
  • if a child receiving DAF moves from one setting to another within a financial year, the new setting is not eligible to receive DAF funding for this child within the same financial year. DAF funding received by the original setting will not be recouped by the local authority
  • 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.

Applying for the Disability Access Fund

Please complete the Disability Access Fund form.

Then email completed forms with evidence proving a child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance to our secure inbox

Queries about the Disability Access Fund

If you have any funding queries, please email

For any other queries, please email