If you are living in England and are bringing up one or more children there, you are usually eligible to receive Child Benefit. This is a payment made by the Government to help with the costs associated with bringing up children. It’s made to those responsible for bringing up children up to 16 or, if they’re still in approved education or training, 20 years of age. This guide will go through the key facts around what you’re entitled to and eligibility.
How Much Do You Get?
If eligible, the Government will pay £21.05 per week for the eldest child and £13.95 per week for each additional child. (Latest information suggests this will increase to £21.15 and £14.00 respectively for 2021/22, from April). It’s usually paid on Mondays or Tuesdays every four weeks, although single parents with certain other benefits may apply for weekly payments instead. Payments need to be paid into a single bank account and only one person can receive them.
There isn’t a limit on the number of children that you can claim for. However ….
Beware the ‘Benefit Cap’
Receiving Child Benefit will not directly reduce the amount of any other benefits that you receive from the Government. It’s important to bear in mind, though, that the total amount of Government benefits, including Child Benefit, are limited by what’s known as the Benefit Cap. Broadly speaking, this limits the amount of total benefits received to an absolute maximum of £23k a year inside Greater London and £20k per annum outside, although single parents who do not live with their children are eligible for a maximum of £15.41k and £13.4k in those two respective areas (correct as at time of writing, February 2021). The Government’s Benefits Cap Calculator will help clarify your own particular situation.
Additional Benefits of Child Benefit
- Child Benefit payments allow you to receive National Insurance Credits and these count towards your State Pension. This is particularly important for those who are not working.
- Claiming Child Benefit also means that your child will get their National Insurance Number automatically once they reach 16, rather than having to apply.
- You need to register the birth of your child before a claim can be made.
- Your claim can be backdated by up to 3 months, so it makes sense to claim as soon as possible or you could miss out.
- If you work or have savings it does not affect eligibility to claim for Child Benefit.
- If you live as a couple and one of you is not working, it may be best for the responsible parent who is not working to make the claim. This is so that they continue to build up their National Insurance contributions. These will count towards their State Pension when they retire.
- If you are not living with your partner but are both responsible for bringing up your child(ren), then you’ll need to decide among yourselves who will put in the claim. Usually this is the person who lives most with the child(ren) in question.
- However, where there is a dispute about who should claim, you can both claim and then HMRC will decide who to pay the Child Benefit to. Again, though, the benefit is usually awarded to the person who lives with the child the most, although there are exceptions as the rules are complex.
- Those earning £50k or more (before tax) can still claim but will need to pay what’s known as a High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge. If they’re living with their partner, the person earning the most is the one who will need to pay the charge, irrespective of who is making the claim.
- The High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge increases as earnings increase above £50k. Once they reach £60k the charge is likely to outweigh the benefit itself. In such circumstances you can elect not to claim or, if one isn’t working, then they could fill the claim form in anyway, so they receive the aforementioned National Insurance Contributions towards their State Pension. A box can be ticked if they elect not to claim the Child Benefit itself and this will stop the high-earning partner from paying the charge.
Reasons You May Not Be Eligible
There are a number of scenarios in which you are not eligible for Child Benefit in England. These include:
- if your child has been in residential care or in hospital for more than 12 weeks (unless you’re still spending out on their needs);
- if a local authority has been looking after your child for the last 8 weeks;
- if your child has been in custody or prison within the last 8 weeks;
- if your child is married or living in a civil partnership although exceptions apply if they’re not living together or if their partner is in full-time education or training;
- if your child is in receipt of any of the following: Universal Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or tax credits;
- if you are living abroad, although there are some rare exceptions (rules are complex).
How to Start Your Child Benefit Claim
Claim your Child Benefit here using the appropriate form. You may also need to download Acrobat Reader from the same page if you don’t already have it. Choose form ‘CH2’ (paper and electronic versions available) for your first two children, or form ‘CH2(CS)’ if you’re claiming for more than two. If sending important documents like birth certificates through the post as part of your application, ensure you save copies and also ask Royal Mail for a ‘proof of postage’.
Allow 3 months before you receive your first payment. This may also include any backdated amounts covering up to a maximum of 3 months before your application if your child is up to 3 months old at the time you applied.
Childcare in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Harlesden & Kensal Green, NW10
Bringing up children costs money so it’s good that an array of Government support is available. As well as Child Benefit, the Government also offers free ‘childcare hours’ and many employers offer childcare vouchers. Treetops Nursery in Willesden supports the Government’s childcare schemes including 15 hours of free childcare for eligible 2-year-olds and 15 to 30 hours of free childcare for eligible 3- and 4-year-olds per week, as appropriate. We also accept virtually all childcare vouchers at the nursery.
A Nursery Place for Your Child
Get in touch if you are interested in your child attending Treetops Nursery. We’re an outstanding, high quality nursery in Willesden, near Harlesden and Willesden Green in London NW10. Contact us while a few places are still available to avoid disappointment. We’ll be happy to help. Choose from the following options: