Child Benefit

Overview

You will get Child Benefit if you are responsible for one or more children under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). There’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

You can choose not to get Child Benefit payments, but you should still fill in the claim form because:

  • it will help you get National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension
  • it will ensure your child is registered to get a National Insurance number when they’re 16 years old

How much will you get?

There are 2 Child Benefit rates:

Eldest or only child

£20.70 per week

Additional children

£13.70 per child per week

You must contact the Child Benefit Office if you’re paid too much or too little.

There is a Gov.UK Child Benefit calculator to check your entitlement.

How will it be paid?

Child Benefit is usually paid every 4 weeks on a Monday or Tuesday.

You can have the money paid weekly if you’re a single parent or getting certain other benefits, such as Income Support.

Payments are made direct into your bank account.

How long is it paid for?

You can keep getting Child Benefit until the 31 August after your child becomes 16 or until they are 20 if they stay in education or training, however your child benefit will stop when your child goes to university.

When your child turns 16, HMRC will send you a letter asking whether your child will stay in education or training. You must reply to this letter to keep getting Child Benefit.

Eligibility

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.

You normally qualify for Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training) and you live in the UK.

You will usually be responsible for a child if you live with them or you’re paying at least the same amount as Child Benefit (or the equivalent in kind) towards looking after them.

Contributions can include:

  • money
  • clothes
  • birthday and Christmas presents
  • food
  • pocket money

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.

Eligibility rules are different if your child:

Adoptions and fostering

Apply for Child Benefit as soon as any child you’re adopting comes to live with you - you do not have to wait until the adoption process is complete.

The nationality of the child does not affect whether you’re entitled to Child Benefit or not.

You might be able to get Child Benefit for a period before the adoption, contact the Child Benefit Office to find out.

If you foster a child, you’ll get Child Benefit if the local council is not paying anything towards the child’s accommodation or maintenance.

Looking after someone else’s child

You may be able to get Child Benefit if you’ve got an informal arrangement to look after a friend or relative’s child or if you can evidence through a court order that you have parental responsibility.

You might not qualify if your local council is paying towards the child’s accommodation or maintenance, contact the Child Benefit Office to find out.

Two people cannot get Child Benefit for the same child, if you want to make a claim, you must agree it with the person who’s currently claiming. HMRC will decide who receives the Child Benefit if you cannot agree.

Living abroad

You may be able to get Child Benefit if you go to live in certain countries or if you’re a Crown servant.

If you’ve moved to the UK

You may be able to get Child Benefit if your main home is in the UK and you have permission to live in the UK.

What if your child starts work or claims benefits?

You’ll 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
  • starts an apprenticeship in England
  • starts getting certain benefits in their own right, such as Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or tax credits

High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge

You may have to pay a tax charge, known as the ‘High Income Child Benefit Charge’, if you have an individual income over £50,000, and either:

  • you or your partner get Child Benefit
  • someone else gets Child Benefit for a child living with you and they contribute at least an equal amount towards the child’s upkeep

What counts as income

To work out if your income is over the threshold, you will need to work out your ‘adjusted net income’. Your adjusted net income is your total taxable income before any personal allowances and less things like Gift Aid.

Claim on behalf of someone

You can usually claim Child Benefit on behalf of someone if:

You have a child you’re responsible for and their baby

  • If your child is claiming the Child Benefit, you can collect the payment on their behalf by talking to their bank.
  • The Child Benefit Office can only pay Child Benefit into one account. This can be a joint account you share with your child, but their name must be on the account too.

You are accepted as an appointee

  • You can apply for the right to deal with the Child Benefit of someone who can’t manage their own affairs, for example because they are e mentally incapable or severely disabled. This is called becoming an ‘appointee’.
  • You can apply as an individual or as a voluntary organisation.
  • If you’re paid to deal with someone else’s Child Benefit, you’re known as a ‘paid agent’.

You need to contact the Child Benefit office to claim on someone's behalf.

How to claim

You can claim Child Benefit as soon as you’ve registered the birth of your child, or they come to live with you.

It can take up to 12 weeks to process a new Child Benefit claim (or longer if you’re new to the UK). Child Benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months.

Make a claim for the first time

Fill in Child Benefit claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is on the form.

If your child is adopted, send their original adoption certificate with the form. You can order a new adoption certificate if you’ve lost the original.

If you do not have the certificate you need, send your claim form now and send the certificate once you’ve got it.

If your child’s birth was registered in Northern Ireland or outside the UK

When you send your claim form include your child’s:

  • original birth certificate
  • passport or travel document used to enter the UK - only if the birth was registered outside the UK

You can order a new birth certificate if you’ve lost the original. How you order the certificate depends on if your child’s birth was registered:

Add a child to an existing claim

Call the child benefit helpline if:

  • your child is under 6 months old
  • your child was born in the UK
  • you live in England, Scotland or Wales and registered the child’s birth there

You’ll need your National Insurance number or Child Benefit number with you when you call.

Child Benefit helpline

T: 0300 200 3100

Welsh language: 0300 200 1900

Textphone: 0300 200 3103

Outside UK: +44 161 210 3086

Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm

Saturday, 8am to 4pm

Find out about call charges

If you do not meet this criteria, you’ll need to make a new claim by post. Fill in Child Benefit form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is on the form.

If you’re claiming for more than 2 children, also include the additional children’ form.

Claiming Child Benefit for someone else

You may be able to manage someone else’s Child Benefit claim.