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Child Benefit

Child Benefit

 

Part 1: Overview

You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).

Child Benefit is a tax-free payment unless you or your partner have an individual income of more than £50,000.

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.

Child Benefit rates are fixed until 2014.

You must report any changes of circumstances to the Child Benefit Office.

Incomes over £50,000

If you, or your partner, have an individual income of more than £50,000 and one of you is entitled to get Child Benefit you might be affected by a new tax charge.

There’s more information about this on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website.

Use the Child Benefit tax calculator to estimate how much tax the person with the highest income may have to pay.

 

Part 2: What you’ll get

The current rates are fixed until April 2014.

Who the allowance is for Rate (weekly)
Eldest or only child £20.30
Additional children (per child) £13.40

You must tell the Child Benefit Office if you’re paid too much.

Guardian’s Allowance is a benefit you could get if you’re bringing up someone else’s child – it’s paid on top of Child Benefit.

If families split or join together

If a family splits up, you get £20.30 a week for the eldest child you qualify for.

Example

If you have 2 children and one of them stays with you, you’ll get £20.30 a week for them. If your ex-partner claims for the other child, they’ll get £20.30 a week for that child.

If you both claim for the same child, only one of you will get Child Benefit for them.

If 2 families join together, the eldest child in the new family qualifies for the £20.30 rate. If you’re entitled to Child Benefit for any other children, you’ll get the £13.40 rate for each of them.

How Child Benefit is paid

Child Benefit is paid into your bank account every 4 weeks. You can get it paid weekly if you’re a single parent or getting certain other benefits, eg Income Support.

When you get paid depends on where you live. You can find your next payment date online.

The benefit cap puts a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. The benefit cap started to affect some local councils from 15 April 2013.

Child Benefit is a tax-free payment unless you or your partner have an individual income of more than £50,000. Use the Child Benefit tax calculator to see if you might have to pay tax on your payment.

 

Part 3: Eligibility

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.

You normally qualify for Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training) and you live in the UK.

Child Benefit continues for 20 weeks if 16 or 17 year olds leave education or training and register with the armed services or a government sponsored careers service.

Eligibility rules are different if your child:

Adoptions and fostering

If you’re adopting a child, apply for Child Benefit as soon as the child comes to live with you – you don’t have to wait until the adoption process is complete.

The nationality of the child doesn’t affect whether you’re entitled to Child Benefit or not.

You might be able to get Child Benefit for a period before the adoption – contact the Child Benefit Office to find out.

If you foster a child, you’ll get Child Benefit if the local council isn’t paying anything towards the child’s accommodation or maintenance.

Looking after someone else’s child

You may be able to get Child Benefit if you’ve got an informal arrangement to look after a friend or relative’s child.

If your local council is paying towards the child’s accommodation or maintenance you might not qualify – contact the Child Benefit Office to find out.

If you want to make a claim, you need to try to agree with the person who is currently getting Child Benefit (eg the parent) that you can make a claim instead – 2 people can’t get Child Benefit for the same child.

If you’re responsible for a child who has lost one or both of their parents, you may also be entitled to Guardian’s Allowance.

Living abroad

You could get Child Benefit if you’re a national of an EEA country or Switzerland, and work in the UK (or get certain UK benefits, eg State Pension).

There’s more information about Child Benefit if you’re living or working abroad on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website.

New arrivals to the UK

You could get Child Benefit if your main home is now in the UK and you have permission to enter the UK and stay there – there’s more information about this on the HMRC website.

Questions about eligibility

If you’re not sure about your eligibility, contact the Child Benefit Office.

Child Benefit Helpline
Enquiry form
Telephone: 0300 200 3100
Textphone: 0300 200 3103
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm

 

Part 4: How to claim

  1. Fill in a Child Benefit claim form.

  2. Send it to the Child Benefit Office with your child’s original birth or adoption certificate.

Child Benefit Office (Washington)
Freepost
NEA 10463
PO Box 133
Washington NE38 7BR

The claim form is also available in Welsh.

Claim Child Benefit as soon as your child is born or comes to live with you.

Child Benefit can only be backdated for 3 months – make your claim as soon as possible.

If you don’t have the birth or adoption certificate, you should still send in your claim form – send the certificate later on when you’ve got it.

You don’t need the birth or adoption certificate if you’ve claimed Child Benefit before and are making a new claim for the same child.

If you’ve lost the birth or adoption certificate you can order a new one.

Claiming Child Benefit for someone else

In certain circumstances you can manage someone else’s Child Benefit claim.

 

Part 5: Further information

Child Benefit number

You can find your Child Benefit number on any paperwork you have from the Child Benefit Office.

You should keep your paperwork until you stop getting Child Benefit.

Other benefits

Child Benefit doesn’t count as income for other benefits.

If you get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, the office paying you needs to know if you start or stop getting Child Benefit. This is so they can work out how much to pay you.

You might be able to get other benefits too, eg Child Tax Credit – use the benefits adviser tool to find out what you could get.

Child Benefit and your State Pension

If your child is under 12 and you’re not working or don’t earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions, Child Benefit can help you qualify for National Insurance credits.

These credits count towards your State Pension. They protect it by making sure you don’t have gaps in your National Insurance record.

If you were getting Child Benefit before 6 April 2010

If you were getting Child Benefit for a child under 16, you would have automatically qualified for Home Responsibilities Protection instead – this counts towards your State Pension in the same way.

If you were getting Child Benefit for a child under 6, you would have automatically built up entitlement to an extra pension through the Second State Pension.

Changes of circumstances

You must report any changes to your family life (eg getting married) or to your child’s life (eg leaving education) to the Child Benefit Office.

Complaints and appeals

You can complain to the Child Benefit Office if you’re unhappy with the way you’ve been treated.

If you’re not happy with a decision the Child Benefit Office has made, you can appeal.

Child Benefit Helpline

Child Benefit Helpline
Enquiry form
Telephone: 0300 200 3100
Textphone: 0300 200 3103
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm

 

Other relevant links

Permanent link to this article: http://operationfatherhood.org/dwp/child-benefit/