Contact Child Benefit on 0843 557 3383 for the customer services department
Child Benefit is a Government-implemented welfare benefit designed to support people who have children. The benefit is means tested and the amount that you get is dependent on your income and how many children you have. The benefit is controlled by HMRC and was first implemented back in 1946 under the name family allowance.
Why would I need to use the Child Benefit Helpline?
- To process your Child Benefit claim.
- To report a new change in circumstances.
- To pay a tax charge.
- To discuss what classes as ‘approved’ education or training.
- To find out when you’ll be paid.
- To get proof you qualify for child benefit.
- To make a complaint about the way that your complaint has been handled.
- To tell the Child Benefit Office that your child is due to turn 16.
- To stop your child benefit payments for any reason.
About Child Benefit
You can receive child benefit if you are responsible for a child that is under the age of 16, or is over 16 and in approved education or training. Only one parent can claim child benefit, and you may have to pay a tax charge if your income is too high. You can choose not to receive Child Benefit at all, but you should still fill out a claim form as it helps you get National Insurance credits for your State Pension and ensures that your child will be allocated a National Insurance number once they turn 16 and want to begin work.
Rates and Payments
There are two rates for Child Benefit. They are:
Eldest or only child- £20.70 per week.
Additional children- £13.70 per week.
If you are bringing up someone else’s child because their parents have passed away, you could get Guardians Allowance on top of Child Benefit.
If you and your partner decide to split up, you get £20.70 a week for the eldest child. For example, if your eldest child lives with you and your younger child lives with your ex-partner, you will receive £20.70 a week and so will your partner. However, if you both claim for the same child, only one will be awarded the claim.
Additionally, if you remarry and two families join together, you are still entitled to £20.70 for the eldest child, and £13.70 for any other children.
Child Benefit is usually paid every 4 weeks into your bank account on a Monday or a Tuesday. If you are a single parent or you receive other benefits such as Income Support, it can be paid weekly.
Money cannot be paid into:
- Accounts for child trust funds.
- children’s accounts
- joint accounts
- business accounts
- mortgage accounts
- credit card accounts
Income over £50,000
If either yours or your partners income individually is over £50,000, you may have to pay a tax charge- known as the High Income Tax Charge.
The relationship between Child Benefit and State Pension
If your child is under the age of 12 and you are not working, or you do not earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions, Child Benefit can help you qualify for National Insurance credits. National Credits are used to count towards your State Pension and they protect it by making sure that you don’t have any considerable gaps in your National Insurance contribution record. So even if you do not wish to claim child benefit, you should still fill in the form.
As previously mentioned, only one parent can claim child benefit on behalf of a child. You are considered to be responsible for a child if they live with you or if you are paying at least the same amount as child benefit (ie £20.70 a week) towards their cost of living. This can include:
- birthday and Christmas presents
- pocket money
If 16 year olds decide to leave education or training, Child Benefit will continue for 20 weeks before expiring.
If you adopt or foster
If you are adopting a child, you can apply for child benefit as soon as any child that you are adopting comes to live with you. You do not need to wait until the adoption process is fully complete. If you are a foster parent, you’ll only be eligible for child benefit if the local council isn’t paying anything towards the child.
Looking after someone else’s child
If you have an informal arrangement to look after someone else’s child, such as a friend or relative, you may be eligible for child benefit. Contact the Child Benefit Helpline to find out.
If your child goes to work/receives benefits on their own
You will immediately stop receiving child benefit if your child:
- Begins doing paid work for 24 hours or more a week and is no longer in approved education or training.
- Starts an apprenticeship in England.
- Starts receiving benefits in their own right, such as Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or tax credits.
When your child turns 16
Child benefit will stop on the 31st August on or after your child’s 16th birthday. It will continue if they stay in approved education or training. You will be sent a letter during your child’s last year of school asking you to detail their plans.
- Must be full time (more than 12 hours a week of supervised study or course related work experience)
- Can include: A Levels, Scottish Highers,NVQs and other vocational courses before level 3, home education (if started before the age of 16), traineeships in England.
- Courses are not approved if they are paid for by an employer or are advanced, such as a university degree or a BTEC certificate.
- Your child must be accepted onto the course before they turn 19.
This should be unpaid and can include:
- Foundation Apprenticeships/Traineeships in Wales.
- Employability Fund/ Get ready for work programmes in Scotland.
- Training for Success, United Youth Pilot, Pathways to Success or Collaboration and Innovation programmes in Northern Ireland.
Any temporary breaks, such as your child changing college should be reported to the child benefit office.
When the approved education or training ends:
When your child leaves approved education or training, payments will end at the end of February, 31st May/August or 30th November, whichever comes first.
You could get an extension of up to 20 weeks if your child leaves approved education and joins a local careers service, such as Connexions or signs up to join the Armed Forces.
Claiming Child Benefit
To claim Child Benefit, you should fill out claim form CH2 and send it to the child benefit office alongside your child’s birth or adoption certificate. You can find the address further down this page.
It can take up to 12 weeks to process a brand new claim, or longer if you are new to living in the UK. You can claim child benefit as soon as your child is born or comes to live with you. Your claim can also be backdated for up to 3 months. If you don’t have the birth or adoption certificate, you can just send the claim form and send the certificate when you receive it. If you have already claimed child benefit for your child, you do not need to provide the birth/adoption certificate.
Changes in circumstances
You must report any changes in circumstances to the child benefit office, such as:
- changes to your family life, i.e. getting married.
- changes to your child’s life i.e. leaving education.
Complaints and appeals
You can complain to the child benefit office if you feel that you have been treated unfairly. You can also appeal to the Social Security and Child Support tribunal if you disagree with a decision, but you must ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you appeal.
Child Benefit Office
The Child Benefit Office can be found in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Child Benefit Office (GB)
Newcastle upon Tyne
Families With 9 Or More Children Cost British Taxpayers £8.6million A Year In Benefits
In the UK there are already 1205 families with 9 or more children. This number rose by 3.5% in the last year alone, and it’s worrying some MP’s, who claim that people shouldn’t be having children that they can’t care for financially without benefits. Harry Davis, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s unfair to expect taxpayers to subsidise a lifestyle for others which they cannot enjoy themselves.”
HMRC revealed that big families who claim for child benefit payments total £165 000 a week for the tax payer. The way child benefit works is that big families will receive £20.50 for the oldest child and £13.55 for subsequent children. This would give an average family with 9 children an income of £6775 a year. The Tory party wants the benefit restricted to the first three children only, which could save up to £300 million a year.