How to claim
Claiming Child Benefit is an essential part of the tax system. But it isn’t always easy to know what you’re entitled to, or whether you qualify. Here’s everything you need to know about claiming child benefit.
How long it takes
Claiming Child Benefit Online
Child benefit claims can take up to twelve weeks to process. You can apply for child benefit online via the DWP’s My Benefits service. This service allows you to claim child benefit online, without having to go into a Jobcentre Plus office or call a helpline. If you are claiming child benefit online, you must provide proof of your relationship with the child. For example, you could send us a copy of your marriage certificate or birth certificate. We cannot accept documents such as utility bills or bank statements as evidence of your relationship with the children.
The application form requires you to enter information about yourself and the children. You must tell us how many hours you work per week, what you earn, and whether you are working part-time or full-time.
You must also tell us where you live and how much rent you pay each month.
If you decide to make a claim for child benefit online, we will ask you to complete some additional forms. These include a declaration stating that you understand the rules governing child benefit and that you agree to comply with those rules. You must also give us permission to contact your employer regarding your earnings.
We will calculate your entitlement to child benefit based on the number of hours you worked during the tax year. Your payment will normally be paid within 14 days of our receiving your completed forms.
Deciding who should claim
The government says that anyone who lives with a child under 18 can claim Child Benefit. But there are limits on how many people can do this at once. And there are rules about claiming Child Benefits. You must make sure you’re eligible, and you must follow the rules.
Introduce an initial claim.
If you’re looking to make a claim for the first child benefit payment, here are some things to keep in mind.
The Child Benefit Scheme is open to everyone living in the UK, regardless of income level. You don’t need to live in England or Wales to receive payments; however, children born outside the UK must reside there permanently to qualify for benefits.
If you want to do it over the phone, call 0300 300 5999.
How much does the Child Benefit pay out?
Child Benefit pays £5.35 per week per child up to age 16. This amount increases each year, reaching £6.85 per week by 2020.
What happens if I haven’t claimed my child benefit yet?
If you didn’t submit a Child Benefit Claim Form CH1, you won’t be able to make a claim for your first child until you complete it. You can still make claims for subsequent children.
If your child was born outside of the UK
Your child needs to provide proof that she/he is British if s/he wants to remain eligible for free school meals. Children born abroad are entitled to free school lunches and dinners at primary schools in England, Scotland and Wales – but not in Northern Ireland.
In England, children aged 4 to 7 must show their national insurance number, a valid passport or a full set of original documents proving their nationality. They must also produce evidence of their parents’ National Insurance numbers.
The Department for Education says it has no plans to change the rules for those born overseas. However, it does want to make sure that people applying for benefits do not lie about where they live. So it is planning to introduce a system of “proof of residence”.
This could mean asking applicants whether they live with their parents, grandparents or guardians. Or it could include checking addresses against electoral rolls. And if someone applies for benefits without providing proof of residency, they could face sanctions.
Add a child to an existing claim
If you are eligible to claim Child Benefit, you can now add a second child to your claim. You must apply online, and it takes just 30 minutes. Simply log into your account and follow the instructions.
You can add up to three children under 16 to your claim each year. This includes siblings.
The benefit starts once your child reaches five years old.
Your child will receive £20 a week until he/she reaches 13.
If you already have a child receiving Child Benefit, you can add another one to your claim.
Adding a child by phone is only possible if you meet certain requirements.
You can now apply for another child online – but it might cost you. The government has launched an app called ‘My Family’ where parents can register their family information online. Once registered, they can upload documents such as birth certificates and passports to prove their eligibility. This includes proof of income, savings and assets. They can also choose whether to pay monthly contributions towards childcare.
The My Family App allows parents to check their eligibility for benefits and tax credits, including Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits and Child Benefit. It also lets people see what support they are entitled to, and how much money they could receive each month.
Parents can also use the app to complete a number of different tasks, including applying for a National Insurance Number, registering a change in address, changing contact details and updating bank accounts.
There’s no charge to download the app, however there is a small fee to access some features. For example, to view a person’s earnings history, you’ll need to pay £1.50. To update a person’s National Insurance Number, you’ll need to spend £5.
In addition, there is a limit to how many times you can claim certain benefits via the app. You cannot claim more than three times for Child Benefit, Income Support or Housing Benefit. You can claim once for Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Council Tax Reduction and Pension Credit.
The My Family app is available for Android and iOS devices.
If the birth was registered in Northern Ireland
The law regarding children born overseas changes every few months. In January 2018, it became illegal to register a child’s birth outside of Northern Ireland without providing proof of citizenship. However, there are exceptions to the rule, including if the parents live in Northern Ireland, the mother had been living there for 12 weeks prior to giving birth, or the father is a British citizen. If you registered the birth in England, Scotland or Wales, you do not need to provide proof of nationality.
Claiming Child Benefit for someone else
You might think it’s complicated to claim Child Benefit for another person, but you don’t need to do anything special. All you need to know is where to look.
The government provides information about how much Child Benefit you can claim for children living abroad. This includes those who live in countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
If you’re claiming Child Benefit for someone else, you’ll need to provide evidence of their income. If you’re paying Child Benefit yourself, you won’t need to prove your earnings.
In addition to providing proof of income, you must show that the child lives in the UK and isn’t receiving maintenance payments from abroad.
Extra money to help pay for taking care of children
There are many resources available to help parents look after children while one parent works. Here are some things you might want to know about childcare:
• Most local authorities offer support for those needing child care during maternity or paternity leave. They provide information about what is offered locally, including advice on how to apply for funding.
• Local councils and health trusts often run family centres where there are activities for children, such as swimming lessons, sports clubs and playgroups. These usually cost nothing to use.
• If you are entitled to free childcare, it is worth checking whether your employer offers additional benefits, like paid time off, flexible hours or training courses.
• You could ask your GP surgery or hospital trust if they offer a scheme offering subsidised childcare. This is likely to be free of charge, although you may have to pay a small fee to cover administration costs.
• Some schools offer nursery places for children aged 3 months to 4 years old. Contact your school directly to find out what is available.
• Many nurseries and pre-schools are now open longer hours, especially during term times. Check with your local council to see if there is a place nearby.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much could each child save?
The government announced it will increase the amount families can claim for childcare costs. From April 2020, parents will be able to receive up to £2k per child per year, up to £500 every 3 months. This is based on the average cost of care for children under 5, which is around £8,600 per annum.
If you have a disabled child you will be eligible for up to £4,200 per child per year, again based on the average cost.
When can my child start?
Childcare places across England are now open for children under three years old. Parents can apply for a place starting from 1 September 2018. Places remain open for one month each January and April. Childcare providers must make sure parents’ details are updated regularly. If there is no update within three months, the provider risks losing access to their 30 hours free childcare place.