MILLIONS households across the country are entitled to child benefit payments to help them with childcare costs.
Last year, 7.74 million families were claiming Child Benefit, a fall of roughly 95,000 when compared to the year before.
Most parents in the UK can claim Child Benefit but there are still certain eligibility rules.
You can claim if you're responsible for a child who is under 16 or under 20 and in approved education or training.
Only one person in the household can get child benefit, but there is no limit to how many children you can claim for.
Here we explain everything you need to know about claiming Child Benefit:
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How much is Child Benefit each month?
Parents can now claim £87.20 a month in Child Benefit for their first child – or £21.80 a week.
They can also claim £57.8 for each extra child, which works out at £14.45 a week.
This comes as a slight increase from the previous year where parents could get £84.60 a month for their first child and £56 for each extra child.
For the 2022-2023 tax year, a typical family with two children can on average claim £145 a month.
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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.
It can take four months to process a new Child Benefit claim, sometimes longer if you're new to the UK, but it can be backdated for a maximum of three months.
So it's best to start the application process as soon as possible.
To apply, you'll need to fill in a Child Benefit claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office.
The address to send it to is as follows:
Child Benefit Office (GB)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
Note that you'll need a stamp in order to send off the application form, and these can be purchased from the Post Office.
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.
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.
Is Child Benefit different from child tax credit?
Yes. Child Benefit is a universal payment made to anyone caring for a child.
Child Tax Credit is a form of financial support for those on a low income, but this has now been incorporated into Universal Credit for most people.
Like Child Benefit, only children under 16 are eligible unless they are under 20 and in approved training or education.
How do I avoid the Child Benefit tax charge?
Ask HMRC to stop receiving the money to avoid filling out a self-assessment tax form and paying it back.
Fill out an online form using your Government Gateway user ID and password, or contact the Child Benefit Office by post:
HM Revenue and Customs – Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Phone 0300 200 3100.
If your circumstances change, such as with a drop in income, you can request the payment restarts.
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Meanwhile, savers are facing a four-year wait for much anticipated new technology that will let them view all their pension pots in one place online.
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