There are a number of financial support systems that UK parents can access from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). These include Tax Credits, Tax-Free Childcare and Child Benefit. In this article, you will find out more about Child Benefit, including what it is, what you get and how to claim it.
For those parents of 16-year-olds, you can extend your Child Benefit claim until they are 19 if they are in education or training. But you need to do so before the 31st August. Keep reading for details
In a cost of living crisis, with food and energy prices remaining sky high, it is helpful for parents to know what help there is out there as they raise their family. Keep reading to find out more.
What is Child Benefit?
Child Benefit is a payment the government makes to a parent or guardian who is bringing up a child under the age of 16, or 20 if they are in certain education or training programmes. Only one parent receives the payment and it usually drops into their bank account every four weeks.
There are no restrictions to claiming based on employment status, savings or investments. If you receive Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit and you meet the Benefit Cap, you get the full Child Benefit payment, but it might affect your other benefits.
Am I eligible?
You’re usually eligible for Child Benefit if you are responsible for a child under 16. This means you live with them or you pay the same amount as the benefit or more per week to look after them. This means on their food, clothing and other expenses. In some circumstances, you can receive the benefit even if they do not live with you.
What if they’re over 16?
For children over 16, you can still claim Child Benefit until they are 20 if they are in a government approved education establishment or training programme. This includes:
- A levels or similar
- International Baccalaureate
- Home education – if it started before their child turned 16 or after 16 if they have special needs
- T levels
- NVQs, up to level 3
- traineeships in England
- Foundation Apprenticeships, Traineeships or the Jobs Growth Wales+ scheme in Wales
- PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1, Training for Success or Skills for Life and Work in Northern Ireland.
You must extend your for this, though, before the 31st August after they turn 16. If you are in this situation, use the HMRC app or search ‘Child Benefit when your child turns 16’ on GOV.UK.
How much is Child Benefit?
Child Benefit is currently £24 per week for a person’s first child and then £15.90 a week for each subsequent child, with no upper limit. The person who claims the benefit also gains National Insurance credits to count towards their state pension, even if they don’t work or don’t earn enough to pay National Insurance.
There are rules about what happens with separated families and blended families too:
- Only one person can claim for each child. Whichever parent claims gets the £24 per week for the eldest.
- If one child stays with one parent and another stays with the other, both parents can claim for the child in their care and both get £24 per week.
- In blended families, the eldest of the children now living together qualifies for the £24 per week, and the others for £15.90, even if one of them was previously the eldest child in a separate household.
For families where one or both parents earns £50,000 or more, there is a High Income Child Benefit Charge. The higher the income, the bigger the charge and this can wipe out the amount received from Child Benefit. The partner with the highest income pays the charge and must fill in a Self Assessment form to do so.
Find out more about Child Benefit at the government website.