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Claiming Child Benefit

Posted 08/07/2019

If a person or couple looks after children and are responsible for them, even if they are not the parents, they are entitled to a child benefit. The weekly rate for the oldest child is £20.70 each week, and every child thereafter has a rate of £13.70 per week per child. These totals are usually paid in one sum each month to the individual or nominated person of the couple.

Child benefit is paid up to the child’s 16th birthday. If the child intends to remain in education such as attending college then the payments continue up to the child’s permanent education status ends. The Child Benefit Office must be informed if the child does stay in approved full-time education, and if they later leave the education. Any changes to the family situation or to the child’s details must always be passed on to the Child Benefit Office; such as marriage details, changes of names and/or genders, or if the child moves out the home, or stays abroad or in a hospital for more than 12 weeks. An accountant or HMRC will be able to advise if a situation change is required to be passed on to the Child Benefit Office.

The Child Benefit is not payable if one of the adults in the home earns £50,000 taxable income or more in one tax year, from 6th April 20X1 to the 5th April 20X2. This can catch people out if they change their job or if they start self-employment without realising the income exceeds the limit; the tax return has a section to enter how much child benefit was received in the year. If the result shows a taxable income higher of £50,000 from employment income, profits, rental income, dividends or from other sources, then the tax calculation will show that the child benefits are to be paid back to the government. If a person is aware that their income will exceed the amount then they can inform the Child Benefit Office and have the child benefit payments stopped.Child Benefit should not be confused with Child Tax Credit. These were two separate things. The Child Tax Credit has now been replaced by Universal Credit if an individual is of working age, which pulls together various tax credit services and puts them in to one payment together. HMRC uses 3 different benefit calculators that can be used to estimate how much an individual is entitled to; once calculated the calculator will explain the steps needed to send the application. This is typically by creating a universal credits account with HMRC and sending off an application within 28 days of setting up the account. Once applied for HMRC will ask the applicant to set up an interview with one of Jobcentre Plus’ life coaches to go through the application with the persons involved before officially submitting the claim. In some cases, depending on the age of the children or on working situations, the life coach may set goals which will need to be met for the universal credits to continue.

Tags: child benefit, tax credits, personal tax return

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