Claiming Child Benefit

Claiming Child Benefit can give a big boost to your family budget. If you’ve just had a baby make sure you get your claim in before your baby is three months old. And even if you think you won’t be entitled to anything because either you or your partner earns over the limit, you should still claim – otherwise you’ll miss out on a number of other entitlements.

Who can claim Child Benefit?

Everyone with children. You can claim it until your child is 16 (or in most cases until they turn 20 if they are in approved education or training). And you need to live in the UK and be responsible for a child who lives here.

What’s Child Benefit worth?

Did you know?

A family with two children can claim nearly £1,800 a year in Child Benefit. That’s useful extra income for any family.

You get £20.50 per week for your first child and £13.55 a week for any further children.

That’s more than £1,000 a year if you have one child and an extra £700 for subsequent children. The current rates are fixed until April 2015.

Child Benefit for people earning more than £50,000

From January 2013 onwards:

  • if you or your partner earns over £50,000 a year, you will have to pay back some of your Child Benefit in the form of extra Income Tax
  • if you or your partner earns over £60,000 you will have to repay all of your Child Benefit in the form of extra Income Tax

Find out more about the changes, how they might affect you and what you have to do in our guide Changes to Child Benefit from 2013.

How to claim Child Benefit

You need to fill out a form and send it to the Child Benefit Office along with your child’s original birth certificate (which you’ll get back). If you don’t have the certificate you can send in the form anyway and send in the certificate as soon as you have it.

Claim Child Benefit as soon as your child is born

Of course you’ll have lots of other things to do and remember in the first few weeks, but it’s worth claiming straight away because your Child Benefit payments can only be backdated three months from the date your application is received.

Why it's important to claim Child Benefit

Claiming Child Benefit will help you protect your State Pension, if you’re at home looking after your baby or children and not paying National Insurance, as you’ll get credits towards your State Pension.

Phone the Pension Service helpline on 0845 606 0265 to talk it through with an adviser.

If you don’t claim you might also miss out on:

  • other benefits such as Guardian's Allowance
  • your child being automatically issued with a National Insurance number before their 16th birthday

So don’t be put off by all the press surrounding the changes. Make sure you claim. You can always opt not to receive the payments – and avoid the tax charge – but still get all these additional entitlements.