Child Benefit: What you need to know

Are you a parent or guardian? 

If you’re responsible for one or more children, you could be eligible to claim Child Benefit. And whilst your employment status won’t affect the amount you receive, simply registering to claim will ensure your State Pension is protected – even if you’re unemployed. 

We spoke to HMRC, to find out everything you need to know about Child Benefit, and their advice on how to claim: 

 

What is Child Benefit? 

Child Benefit is a social security payment that is distributed to the parents and guardians of children and teenagers. 

Introduced as ‘family allowance’ in 1946, and known as Child Benefit since 1977, the system is designed to give parents and guardians extra financial support in order to raise their child/children. 

 

Who can get Child Benefit? 

Anyone who’s responsible for one or more children is eligible to claim Child Benefit. 

You’ll receive Child Benefit payments from the birth of your child/children, right through to the age of 16. If your child/children stays in education or training past this age, you’ll still receive Child Benefit payments up until they turn 20.

Although there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for, only one parent can claim Child Benefit. 

 

How much are Child Benefit payments?

If you have one child, you’ll receive: 

  • £20.70 per week. 

For each additional child, you’ll receive an extra: 

  • £13.70 per week. 

 

How often will I get Child Benefit? 

You’ll receive Child Benefit monthly. 

 

How can I claim Child Benefit? 

Once you’ve registered the birth of your child, or they come to live with you, you can apply to claim Child Benefit. 

To do this, just fill in the Child Benefit claim form CH2, and send it back to the Child Benefit office once complete. 

To add a new child to an existing claim, you can either call the Child Benefit helpline (providing you meet the criteria specified by HMRC), or use the above form to make a new claim by post. 

 

Why should I claim Child Benefit? 

There are a number of reasons you should always claim your Child Benefit. And it’s not just because you’d be missing out on money you’re entitled to if you didn’t. 

Claiming Child Benefit also means: 

  • You’ll claim National Insurance credits up until your child turns 12, even if you’re not earning enough to make contributions, or you’re not working at all. This allows you to protect your State Pension whilst raising your child/children
  • Your child will receive a National Insurance number when they turn 16
  • You’ll be eligible to claim other benefits, such as Guardian’s Allowance

HMRC can also backdate your claim by three months, so even if you’re late submitting your form, you don’t have to miss out.

 

What if I earn over £50,000 a year? 

If you or your partner earns over £50,000 a year, you’ll be required to pay a High Income Child Benefit Charge on your Child Benefit. 

The tax is 1% of Child Benefit for each £100 of income over £50,000. 

To find out more about the HICBC, and how it may affect you, read everything you need to know about the High Income Child Benefit Charge, or visit HMRC for more information. 

 

What may affect my Child Benefit eligibility? 

Your ability to claim isn’t affected by your employment status, or your savings and investments. 

However, there are a few factors that could affect your eligibility. 

For example, you won’t be able to claim if your child: 

  • Is 16 or over and working more than 24 hours a week
  • Is married or in a civil partnership (unless they don’t live with their partner, or their partner is in full-time education or training)
  • Has been in custody or prison in the last 8 weeks
  • Has been in the care of a local authority in the last 8 weeks
  • Is going to be in residential or hospital care for 12 weeks or more
  • Is claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit, tax credits, Income Support, or Employment and Support Allowance 

 

Want to find out more? 

To find out more about Child Benefit, visit the HMRC website.

You can also contact them directly to ask any questions you may have, report changes, or send a general enquiry about your Child Benefit.

 

 

*All information was correct at the time of writing. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit for more details.

 

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