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Disability Access Fund Information

From April 2017 the government introduced a funding measure for Early Year’s providers, the Disability Access Fund (DAF); this is to support children with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).  

DAF helps children access an Early Years place by supporting providers to make reasonable adjustments or increasing the number of SEND places available.

Eligibility for Disability Access Fund (DAF)

3 & 4 year olds will be eligible for DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • Child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Child is in receipt of Free Early Learning (FEL).

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

Entitlement

Settings with eligible DAF 3 & 4 year old are entitled to receive a one-off payment of £615. DAF is not calculated on an hourly rate it is an additional entitlement.

Identifying Eligible Children

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 DAF.

Providers will need to record on the parent/carer agreement that the child is eligible and in receipt of DLA. Provider will be required to keep evidence of the child’s eligibility that confirms that they are in receipt of the DLA (a copy of the letter from the relevant agency).

If a child eligible for DAF is splitting their free entitlement across two or more providers, the local authority will ask parents to nominate the provider they wish to receive the DAF payment.

Template parent/carer agreement http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/schools-childcare/fel-funding-providers)

How Early Years Providers will Receive DAF Funding

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) will be collected from providers between the Actual Headcount opening and the Amendment headcount closing each term.

Providers are responsible for identifying eligible children, confirming with parents/carers that they would like to claim for this, and making the claim to the LA via the Provider Portal on https://ems.sheffield.gov.uk/ProviderPortal/.

Providers must upload with their application the copy of the parent/carer consent to make the DAF claim, and a copy of the child’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) letter. After applications have been approved, the lump sum payment of £615 will be made to the provider in the upcoming payment. This payment lasts for 3 terms.

The Local Authority will:

  • Check no other claims have been made for the child within the previous 2 terms or the current term and process the DAF payments due by the end of the term. If upon checking any ineligible claims these will be queried with providers.
  • DAF will not be offset against any other funding an eligible child may receive. DAF is paid as a lump sum once per financial year, per eligible child.
  • If more than one provider claims DAF for the same child, the LA will pay the first application received. If both applications are received on the same day, the parent will be asked to nominate a provider as above.
  • If a child receiving DAF moves from one setting to another within a financial year, the new setting will not be 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 LA.
  • Where a child lives in a different local authority district to where they take up a FEL place, the local authority where the child accesses their FEL place will administer the DAF payment.
Last Updated: 10/02/2021
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