Disability Access Fund

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is money that childcare providers can use to support children with disabilities or special educational needs. The aim of the DAF is to help give children who are disabled access to childcare, by making reasonable adjustments to their settings or helping with building capacity.

The Department for Education (DfE) has provided information about the Disability Access Funding.

The operational guide indicates that the funds could be used, for example, to support 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.

There is currently no specified guidance about auditing the use of this funding though we would advise settings to keep clear records and accounts of how they have used the funding for auditing purposes, and where this benefits an individual child. You should also record this in the child's record.


DAF is currently only available to eligible 3 and 4 year olds if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child disability living allowance (DLA) and
  • the child accesses their funding entitlement at an early years setting (up to 15 hours)

From April 2024, DAF will be expanded to include 2 year olds provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

From September 2024, DAF will be further expanded to children from aged 9 months provided they meet the eligibility criteria.


Early years providers with children eligible for DAF will receive an annual payment. The DAF is not based on an hourly rate and is an additional entitlement.

  • DAF can only be claimed once in a child’s funding year
  • Only by one setting in a funding year
  • Where childcare is shared the parent/carers must nominate which EYE provider should receive the DAF payment on their parent declaration form
  • If the child leaves the nominated provider part way through the funded year the DAF funding stays with the provider.
Identifying eligible children

Early years providers should speak to parent/carers to identify eligible children. Parent/carers will be required to provide a copy of the child’s DLA award letter.

Provider application process

Applications for DAF are made through the Disability Access Fund tile on your Provider Portal.

Guidance on how to apply can be found in the Provider Portal Tutorials on the Services for Young Children Moodle, within the Early Years Education Funding tile on the Moodle home page.