Disability Access Fund (DAF)

Guidance on how to claim and use DAF funding.

The Equality Act 2010 ensures that local authorities and settings must not discriminate, harass or victimize children with a disability, and must make reasonable adjustments. Local authorities must ensure that children with disabilities entitled to a place are found suitable provision.

Disability Access Fund (DAF) is a measure which aids access to early years places by, 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 attending the setting.

The Department for Education is encouraging local authorities to establish a special educational needs (SEN) inclusion fund to help settings better address the needs of individual children. The current WSCC Inclusion funding meets this requirement.


Children will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (Appendix A) and the child receives any of the following Early Years Funded Entitlement (EYFE):
    • 9 month old EYFE for working families (from September 2024)
    • 2 year old EYFE for working families (from April 2024)
    • LA Issued 2 year old EYFE
    • 3 and 4 year old Universal EYFE
    • 3 and 4 year old Extended EYFE for working families.

Please note that four-year-olds in primary school reception classes are not eligible for DAF funding. See the dates when children become eligible for 3 and 4 year old Universal EYFE.


The settings of children eligible for the DAF will be entitled to receive a one-off payment of £910 per year from April 2024. This is an increase from £858.92.

Children do not have to take up the full 570 hours of EYFE in order for the setting to receive the DAF. Where children are eligible for DAF the setting will receive the payment regardless of the period of EYFE take-up by the parent.

The DAF is a one-off payment within the year it is agreed. If the child changes childcare settings within the year, the new setting will not receive another payment of the DAF. The new setting will need to wait until the following year.

Identifying eligible children

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

Parents will be able to use the Parent declaration form to tick if their child is in receipt of DLA.

Eligibility checking

WSCC must check that the DAF eligibility requirements are met. As a local authority (LA) we should be satisfied that the child in question is receiving DLA.

We will need to see evidence of the child’s DLA award letter and should keep a copy of this evidence on file. Settings must email a copy of the DLA award letter and signed parent declaration to free.entitlement@westsussex.gov.uk and follow the latest guidance on how to submit your Early Years Funded Entitlement actuals.

Supporting information

Settings to email a copy of this letter to free.entitlement@westsussex.gov.uk together with a copy of the signed parent declaration form and submit DAF claim online with EYFE actuals via the Online Provider Portal.

How much funding will my setting receive?

WSCC must fund all early years settings providing a place for each child eligible for the DAF in their area at the fixed annual rate of £910 per eligible child.

The DAF is payable as a lump sum once a year per eligible child. If a child eligible for the DAF is splitting their EYFE across more than one setting, we will ask parents to nominate the main setting (usually where the child accesses the majority of hours or the setting your parent thinks the payment will make the biggest difference to their child). This setting will be where we will pay the DAF for the child.

If a child receiving DAF moves from one setting to another within a year, the new setting is not eligible to receive DAF funding for this child within the same year. DAF funding received by the original setting will not be recouped provided evidence is available of relevant spending of the DAF.

In cases where a child who lives in one LA area attends a setting in a different LA, the setting’s LA is responsible for funding the DAF for the child and eligibility checking.

All early years settings who are eligible to receive funding for EYFE are also eligible to receive the DAF.

A parent is in the process of applying for DLA for their child, is there support in the meantime?

Yes, please discuss the possibility of Inclusion funding to help support the child before you are eligible to claim DAF.

Why should a parent apply for DLA?

Following the introduction of Personal Independence Payments, DLA is a benefit to help support children under 16 with care and mobility needs.

DLA could be an entitlement depending on the child’s current needs and will help the parent to provide the extra support the child needs. If a child receives DLA the early years setting they attend will be able to receive the DAF to help make their setting more accessible to the child and other children.

  • The parent may not consider their child has a disability but they may be giving them additional support that other parents do not have to provide for their child of the same age - this means they may be eligible for DLA.
  • Is the child known to professionals such as speech and language therapist, specialist health visitor, Child Development Centre?

    These professionals may be able to support a claim for DLA.
  • Have they discussed any concerns about the child’s development with an early years practitioner in your setting? Has the parent asked you ‘do you need to give my child additional support for them to be able to manage every aspect of their time in the setting?’

    The setting should discuss the child’s stage of development, progress, and any concerns they may have about a child’s progress on a regular basis (at least once a term). The child’s setting will be able to support a DLA claim with any reports or assessments of the child’s stage of development.
  • Is the child known to Early Years Planning and Review Meeting?

    If so the reports written about the child may be useful for a DLA claim.
  • Does the child’s setting receive Inclusion Funding to help support the child?

    If yes, they may be eligible for DLA.

What additional help and guidance is available for parents?

The following links provide information about completing a DLA form and things to consider when a parent is deciding what extra support they provide for their child.

As it is sometimes difficult to know what is expected at each age and stage the parent may wish to talk to their early year’s key person in their childcare setting, their health visitor or a member of staff at the local Family Hub for advice.

Last updated:
20 March 2024
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