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 claim before it’s three months old. Even if you think you won’t be entitled to anything, you should still claim so you don’t miss out on other entitlements.

Who can claim Child Benefit?

You can claim Child Benefit (formally known as ‘family allowance’) for each child you’re responsible for (you do not have to be their parent), regardless of whether you’re working or have savings.

You can claim for each child:

If your child starts paid work for 24 hours or more a week and is no longer in approved education or training, your Child Benefit will stop. The same applies if your child starts an apprenticeship or starts receiving certain benefits in their own right.

Payments are tax-free as long as neither parent or carer earns more than £50,000 a year.

How much is Child Benefit?

Did you know?

A family with two children can claim nearly £1,800 a year in Child Benefit.

In the 2015-16 tax year, you can claim:

  • £20.70 per week for your first child
  • £13.70 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.

Child Benefit if you earn more than £50,000

If you or your partner earns over £50,000 a year, you’ll have to pay back some of your Child Benefit in the form of extra Income Tax

You’ll need to pay back 1% of your family’s Child Benefit for every £100 or your income over £50,000.

If either of you earn over £60,000 a year, you’ll have to repay all of your Child Benefit in the form of extra Income Tax

How to apply for Child Benefit

You need to fill out a claim form (CH2) 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 forward the certificate as soon as you have it.

Top tip: Claim Child Benefit as soon as your child is born

You’ll have lots of other things to do and remember in the first few weeks, but it’s worth claiming straight away as 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 off work looking after your child and not paying National Insurance contributions, claiming Child Benefit will ensure you get credits towards your State Pension.

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

Even if you don’t think you’ll be entitled to anything because either you or your partner earns over the £50,000 tax-free limit, it’s still worth claiming so you don’t miss out on National Insurance credits.

If either of you earns over £60,000, you can always opt not to receive the payments - and avoid the tax charge - but still get the entitlements.