How much is child benefit and when does it stop?

MILLIONS parents are entitled to child benefit payments to help them with childcare costs.

Most parents in the UK can claim child benefit but there are still certain eligibility rules.

Child benefit is available to all carers of children under 16


Child benefit is available to all carers of children under 16Credit: Mattel – SWNS

Parents tend to qualify for child benefit if they live in the UK and are responsible for a child under 16.

But you can also claim the help for a child under 20 if they are in approved education or training.

Previously families claiming child benefit have always had to fill out a paper form, post it, and wait as long as 16 weeks for their first payment.

However, this has recently changed and now parents can apply on the government website for the first time.

Here we explain everything you need to know about claiming Child Benefit:

How much is child benefit?

Child benefit payments are usually made every four weeks, plus by claiming child benefit you also get National Insurance credits that count towards your state pension.

There are two child benefit rates, one for the eldest child and another for each further child.

The current rate for your eldest or only child is £24 per week. That’s around £96 a month or £1,251.43 a year.

But, from April 2024 the rate for your eldest or only child will go up to £25.60 a week – equating to around £102.40 a month or £1,334.86 a year.

This is an increase of £1.60 a week, £6.40 a month and £83.43 a year.

For each of your other children, it’s currently £15.90 a week – equating to around £63.60 a month or £829.07 a year.

And, from April 6 for every other child, you’ll get £16.95 a week, which is £67.80 a month and £883.82 per year.

When and how is Child Benefit paid?

Child Benefit is usually paid every four weeks on a Monday or Tuesday.

But you can have the money paid weekly if you’re a single parent or getting certain other benefits like Income Support.

You can get the money paid into any account, apart from a Nationwide cashbuilder account in someone else’s name.

But you can only get the money paid into one account.

How do I apply for Child Benefit?

As soon as you have registered the birth of your child, or once they’ve come to live with you, you can open a claim.

The claims process is much quicker now than it used to be and you can apply on the government website.

The claims process on takes just 10 minutes and you could even get the cash in as little as three days.

It’s probably a good idea to create a Government Gateway account before you start your claim – you can do this with a passport and other proof of ID.

A full list of the documents needed for proof of identity can be found on GOV.UK.

When ready to make the claim, applicants should have the following documents to hand:

  • your child’s birth or adoption certificate
  • your bank or building society details
  • your National Insurance number
  • your partner’s National Insurance number, if you have one

Who is eligible to claim Child Benefit?

You will normally qualify for Child Benefit if you live in the UK and you’re responsible for a child under 16.

The support can also be claimed for a child under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.

But when two or more people share caring responsibilities for a child, it can only be claimed by one person.

To be considered responsible for a child, you will live with them or pay at least the same amount as Child Benefit rates to look after them – for example, for food, clothes or pocket money.

It’s important to note that eligibility changes if a child goes into hospital or care and if your child starts to live with someone else.

You’ll usually get Child Benefit for eight weeks after your child goes to live with a friend or relative – as long as they don’t make a claim.

But it can continue for longer if you make contributions to your child’s upkeep.

If both parties claim then HMRC will decide who receives the Child Benefit if you cannot agree.

Foster parents can also claim Child Benefit as long as the local council is not paying anything towards their accommodation or maintenance.

Legal guardians or parents who are adopting a child can also apply for the support as soon as the child comes to live with them.

If you leave the UK, you’ll only be able to claim for a short period of time, for example on holiday or for medical treatment.

For those who move to the UK, you can claim Child Benefit if you have the right to reside.

If you’re not sure about your eligibility you can contact the Child Benefit office.

What age does Child Benefit stop?

Child Benefit payments stop on 31 August, on or after your child’s 16th birthday.

However, you can continue to claim up until they are 20 if they stay in education or training.

But you must let the Child Benefit Office know of the plan to continue claiming the support.

The office will send you a letter in your child’s last year at school, which will let you know how to confirm their plans.

You’ll also stop receiving Child Benefit immediately if your child starts paid work for 24 hours or more a week and is no longer in approved education or training.

The payments will also stop if the child starts an apprenticeship in England or starts receiving certain benefits in their own right.

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.

Can I claim Child Benefit if I earn over £50,000?

You can, but the High Income Child Benefit Charge kicks in at £50,000, meaning you’ll start to be taxed on the money you claim.

From your self-assessment tax return, HMRC calculates how much you owe them in over-payments which must either be paid in full or negotiated to be paid in instalments.

But once you start earning £60,000 of more, you’ll lose all of your benefit through tax.

However, the Chancellor confirmed in his Spring Budget that from April the threshold at which parents have to pay the charge will be increased to £60,000.

And in a further boost, Jeremy Hunt announced that the upper threshold to qualify for child benefit will rise to £80,000.

Even if you start having to pay tax, you can financially profit from claiming.

You could put the child benefit into a high-interest savings account to earn money before having to pay the tax back.

Other reasons to claim include the automatic NI enrolment and state pension protection.


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