Child benefit is a payment from the government that is geared towards helping parents financially cope when bringing up children. The payment is tax-free, however, if your partner earns over £50,000 per annum you may be liable for a tax charge.
First of all, to make a successful claim, you must be eligible. As with any benefit in the UK, you must meet specific criteria or your application will be rejected.
• To start with you must be responsible for a child under the age of 16 or under the age of 20 years old if they are still in education or taking part in training that is approved by the government.
• Only one person is eligible to receive child benefit payments for a child.
• You may be entitled to claim child benefit if you are fostering or adopting a child.
• If your child begins working 24 hours or more per week, your claim will be stopped.
• If your child begins an apprenticeship, then your application will be stopped.
• If your child is in receipt of benefits such as Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit, you will stop receiving child benefit.
• You can opt against receiving child benefit payments. However, filling out the form ensures the child receives a National Insurance number at the age of 16. It will also help you collect National Insurance credits which will go towards your state pension.
If you are eligible to claim child benefit, you will be given a weekly rate of £20.70 for your child (eldest or only), with a rate of £13.70 for additional children (amounts correct as of 7/1/2019). The payment is usually made directly into your bank account every four weeks, on either a Monday or a Tuesday. Single parents may be entitled to receive their payments on a weekly basis.
To receive the payment, you must make your claim for child benefit by filling out a child benefit claim form, called a CH2. The completed form then has to be sent to the Child Benefit Office, accompanied by your child’s original birth certificate.
The Child Benefit Address is as follows:
Child Benefit Office (GB), Washington, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE88 1ZD.
It’s important to start your claim for child benefit as soon as your child is born, as some applications take up to 12 weeks to be processed. Due to some long wait times we have had many customers apply for a logbook loan while waiting on benefits. If you do end up making your claim a bit further into the future, you can get it backdated for up to 3 months.
You should always keep your details and circumstances up to date with the Child Benefit Office. Failing to do so could lead to you being overpaid and having to pay back the extra money received. Alternatively, you could be in receipt of less benefit than you’re entitled to.
Changes that the Child Benefit Office need to be made aware of are as follows:
• If your child stays or leaves further education.
• If your child gets a paid job that provides more than 24 hours work per week.
• If your child is moving away for eight consecutive weeks or more than 56 days over the course of 16 weeks.
• If your child is moving abroad for 12 weeks or more. Including moving to and from Northern Ireland.
• If your child will stay in a hospital for a period of over 12 weeks.
• If there is a change of name.
• If your child goes missing for any length of time.
• If your child marries.
• If your child dies.
• If your child is imprisoned for a period of more than eight weeks.
• If your child receives benefits such as Universal Credit.
It’s of vital importance that if any of the above apply that you inform the Child Benefit Office straight away. You should also be aware that you must notify them of any changes in your own circumstances too. You can contact them in writing or by telephone.
Couples where one parent earns over £50,000 a year on average, will not receive the full amount of child benefit. It’s important that couples and families are honest with each other and the Child Benefit Office when making a claim.
Child benefit is a great way for the government to help parents when bringing up children. Most families will feel the benefits of having that extra financial assistance. It’s important to get your claim up and running as soon as possible, even if you don’t have the birth certificate. It can always be provided at a later date. Otherwise, you could be waiting for a long time before you receive your first payment.