Child Benefit is a regular payment made to anyone bringing up children. It is paid for each child that qualifies and isn't affected by income or savings.
Who is eligible?
You'll be able to get Child Benefit if you're bringing up a child who is
- under 16
- under 19 and studying in full-time non-higher education
- 16 or 17 years old and has recently left school and registered for work or training with the Careers Service or similar
How much do you get?
- £20.50 a week for the eldest child
- £13.55 a week for each additional child
- These rates will remain the same until at least April 2015.
Child Benefit can be paid into your bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings account that accepts Direct Payment. But if you're registered blind or need your carer to collect the money, you'll be sent a cheque to be cashed at the Post Office.
Child Benefit is paid every four weeks, but it can be paid weekly if
- you're a single parent
- you or your partner are getting Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.
Although Child Benefit isn't 'means tested' - not affected by income or savings - it can affect the amount of other benefits you may be getting that are means tested. These benefits include
- Income Support
- Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing / Council Tax Credit
For Tax Credit purposes, Child Benefit is not counted as income.
There is a charge on a taxpayer who has adjusted net income over £50,000 in a tax year, where either they, or their partner, are in receipt of Child Benefit for the year. If both partners have adjusted net income of over £50,000, the partner with the higher income is liable for the charge.
The income tax charge applies at a rate of 1% of the full Child Benefit award for each £100 of income between £50,000 and £60,000. The charge on taxpayers with income above £60,000 is equal to the amount of Child Benefit paid.
More details are available from GOV.UK's income tax charge information.
You should claim Child Benefit as soon as:
- your child is born
- a child comes to live with you
- you adopt a child
- you start to contribute to the cost of looking after a child
To get Child Benefit you'll need to complete a claim form and submit the child's birth or adoption certificate. If your child has just been born, you should have got a claim form in your 'Bounty Pack' from the hospital, or you can complete a form available from the GOV.UK website.
You'll need to let the Child Benefit Office know if your circumstances change - for example, if the child you're getting Child Benefit for:
- reaches 16 and is continuing in full-time further education or registered for work or training with the careers service or similar
- is 16 to 18 and has left full-time further education earlier than the date you told the Child Benefit Office
- no longer lives at home (longer than 8 weeks)
You can contact the Child Benefit Office by calling their helpline on 0300 200 3100 or by textphone on 0300 200 3103 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am - 4pm Saturday), or you let them know about your change in circumstances online.
You don't have to be the child's parent to get Child Benefit. You may also qualify if you pay towards their upbringing - even if the child doesn't live with you - but you'll only get Child Benefit if no-one else is claiming it for the same child.
You can call the Child Benefit Office on 0300 200 3100 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am - 4pm Saturday) or email them via the Child Benefit online contact form.