What is Child Benefit?
Child Benefit is a tax free benefit paid to most people with children. You do not need to have paid any national insurance contributions to get it.
You do not need to be earning a certain amount to receive Child Benefit, but if you or your partner earn over £50,000 each per year, you will have to pay extra tax which will effectively cancel out all or part of the child benefit you receive.
A couple’s combined income is not taken into account: it is each individual’s annual earnings that are taken into consideration.
If you or your partner earns over £50,000 you may choose to apply for child benefit but not to receive the payments. This would mean that the person claiming the child benefit would still receive national insurance credits which would count towards their state pension, but the higher earner would not have to pay the extra tax charges.
Who can claim Child Benefit?
You can claim child benefit if:
- You are responsible for a child under 16 years old, or
- A young person under 20 years old if they are still in full time education (studying A Levels or equivalent, or on certain approved training), and
- You and your child live in the UK
You do not have to be the parent of the child to claim Child Benefit.
The person that makes the claim is usually the one who gets paid the Child Benefit. The person that cares for the child for the longest period of time should make the claim, but remember the rules on high income.
How much is Child Benefit?
Child Benefit is paid at £20.70 for your oldest child. Any other children after that are awarded the lower rate of £13.70.
How do I make a claim?
The only way to claim Child Benefit is to use the Child Benefit claim form.
To obtain a claim form, you can contact the Child Benefit Helpline:
Telephone: 0300 200 3100
Textphone: 0300 200 3103
Postal address: Child Benefit Office, PO Box 1, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE88 1AA
You can also download a blank copy of the form to print out and further information here
What will I need when claiming Child Benefit?
The Child Benefit claim form will require your national insurance number and, if you are claiming for the first time you will also need to send them your child’s birth or adoption certificate.
If you do not have this certificate yet, send your claim form in to avoid delay and send the certificate at a later date. Check with the Child Benefit Office when they need the certificate by.
You will also need to fill in your bank details, including account numbers and sort codes.
For help and advice, contact the Sense Information and Advice Service.
First published: Thursday 16 January 2014
Updated: Friday 9 December 2016