Home > Children & Money > Legal Entitlement to Child Benefit and Tax Credits

Legal Entitlement to Child Benefit and Tax Credits

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 21 Sep 2018 |
 
Child Benefit Claim Government Interest

Child benefit is available to anyone with children under 16 and is payable either monthly or weekly. There is no means test, which means that it is available regardless of your savings or income. Parents and guardians can claim for child benefit for children who are:

  • Under the age of 16
  • Over the age of 16 and under the age of 20 but are in education or training
  • Under the age 18 and have recently left education or training, but they must have registered for work, education or training with a careers service, Connexions, Ministry of Defence or similar

How Much Is Child Benefit?

This depends on how many children you have. If you have one child, the rate is £20.70 per week. If you have more than one child, each subsequent child (not including the first born) will attract £13.70 each per week. Most people receive this money once a month, although those on benefits such as Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance are able to receive child benefit weekly. Single parents are also entitled to receive child benefit on a weekly basis.

Does My Child Have To Live With Me?

It is not necessary for your child to live with you in order for you to claim, although you will have to show that you contribute towards the upkeep of your child, and that you pay at least the amount of child benefit towards that upkeep. If a child lives between two households, only one person claim for child benefit on behalf of that child – it is not possible to claim twice or split entitlement.

Child Tax Credits

If you are working, and are responsible for a child (or children) you may be entitled to receive child tax credit. Those who are on low wages (approximately less than £17,400 per annum) may be eligible for working tax credit. Contrary to popular myth you do not actually need to have children in order to claim working tax credit.

Nine out of ten families in the UK qualify for tax credits. The amount that you receive will depend on several factors: the number of children in your household; the amount of hours you work each week; whether you pay for childcare costs; whether you are over 50 years old; and whether any of your children suffer from a disability.

Child Trust Funds

The Child Trust Fund (CTF), a government initiative which gave every child born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011 a £250 financial start in life, has now been scrapped. Babies born on or after 3 January 2011 do not receive any CTF payments.

CTFs that are already in place will continue to benefit from this tax-free investment, and it will still be possible for parents to make a contribution to their child's account, as long as no contributions amount to more than £1,200 per annum. The fund cannot be accessed until the child reaches the age of 18.

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Me and my ex partner split up 4 months ago, our daughter lives with me. He has her on a weekend basis, I'm still providing everything for her, even when she is at her father's for the weekend, he claims that he is entitled to half of the benefits I claim for her, I'm on UC and as far as I was aware as a single parent claim tax credits is awarded to the parent with full care of the child, he claims his name is still on the tax credits yet I'm the one claiming them through UC is this possible, can he claim tax credits and child benefits if she resides with myself
PixieKR - 21-Sep-18 @ 9:45 AM
My sons 16hecant find a course helikes in college . I have had my,tax,stoped im.a,single parent how,can. I.live on nothing is,they,any help. Ti he finds a,job
Nic - 15-Sep-18 @ 10:25 PM
Hi, long story short I am a single parent but I must state my child does see his father we kind of on a 60/40 spilt at the moment with that 60% my side. Anyway I have recently had to move back home with my son so we are now both living with my parent/ grandparent. I do receive child benefit and child tax but I have just been offered a job of 24hours a week on min wage. My mother is currently receiving benefits due to long term illness please do notassume! she has worked for many years up until recently!! I am just seeing would I still be able to claim child tax possibly working tax while living with my parent who stated above is on benefits and would this affect my mother benefits too.
L - 8-Sep-18 @ 12:50 AM
My step daughter boyfriend who is 17 has been living with us for 10 months now , although I do get his child benefit this is all I receive for him . I work full time and so does my husband but with 2 teens in the house it’s getting expensive and with course fees for college and equipmentnow - what can I claim
Nicolablue - 6-Sep-18 @ 11:29 AM
Hi there Can I ask my friends son has been working full time within the school holidays even though his mum is claiming benefits for him at the age of 19 and he is about to go back to college to do a course, is this allowed? I tried telling her she need to at least declare it but she’s unsure if she needs to or not so I thought I’d ask? So I can give her proof this is what she should do. Thank you in advance
Kezza - 4-Sep-18 @ 6:56 PM
Hi my son is 15 years old he moves back and forth to my house and his dads house. His dad has full custody of him. But he has moved back with me again. He said he isn’t going back to dads. But dad said I’m not intitled to the child benefit or child tax credit as he has custody of him even though he’s back living with me full time his dad is keeping all the money please help
Tt - 30-Aug-18 @ 4:36 AM
my daughter has just turned 16 and even though she has been ill for years with spinal problems and she has had several operations and needs more treatment she has missed lots of her school years andplace cant be found for her due to her illness she has had her child benefit stopped. can we appeal against this decision,as we have been told that we cant.
brian - 29-Aug-18 @ 3:10 PM
My partner claims child benefit for his daughter...will that mean my child benefit will be the lower amount as our child will be classed as the second child or will she be classed as my first as his daughter isn’t mine and it’s me that is making the claim?
Lisa - 28-Aug-18 @ 3:14 PM
Judith - Your Question:
I receive child tax credit for my son he is now 16 and going to college and wants to do a criminology course doing A levels but I am not sure wheather this is classed as a non- advanced course so I still get money it’s a bit ambiguous

Our Response:
If it's A levels or equivalent (e.g level 3 NVQ type course) - then you can usually continue to claim tax credits.
LawAndParents - 28-Aug-18 @ 2:50 PM
I receive child tax credit for my son he is now 16 and going to college and wants to do a criminology course doing A levels but I am not sure wheather this is classed as a non- advanced course so I still get money it’s a bit ambiguous
Judith - 25-Aug-18 @ 10:34 AM
I need to change my child tax credit claim fromsingle to joint my partner doesn't currently work or claim benefits. But I receive carers allowance as in a full time carer for my son can We still make a joint claim on this basis?
Jodie09 - 20-Aug-18 @ 1:26 PM
Natasha83 - Your Question:
Hello October 2017 my family had to urgently move from one part the country to another so my disabled husband and I could receive support with his health.Before we moved my son was in a college course but had to stop as we were suddenly moving the other side of the country, we had no choice as house was offered by Housing association and family support needed.We arranged a interview at the local college for when we moved to the new place the interview was 4 months later, that’s as soon as my son could be seen, my son was accepted at the new college in January and enrolled but course starts September.I have spoken to child benefit they are aware we have moved and why and that my son is enrolled for a college course in September they continued to awarded us we were told he was awarded for his 3 years course that I would only needed to get in touch if he stopped his course.This morning 2 - 3 weeks later child benefit sent me a letter to say the money/claim had been stopped, they now require college course info including attendance from old and new college?When I spoke to an advisor she said my son was not entitled to child benefit because he is not spending any hours at college, I explained that child benefit had been aware that he is at a new college and only enrolled waiting to start in September that I was told previously that classified as still being in higher education which is why he was awarded for a further 3 years?I’m worried sick that I will have to repay them I don’t have money to give?I looked online and see that they do still pay for children that can not go to college for a good reason, I believe my son comes under two 1) because he has moved to another college 2) his fathers deteriating illness again why we have moved.My son has secured a new college place as quickly as possible in the mist of a quick move, I find this unfair and believe he should still be in receipt of child benefit?I have requested a letter from old college and will be given a letter from new college at the end of this month when he has the enrollment day, once I have both letters I’ll send them to child benefit immediately. Please help.Yours sincerely Natasha

Our Response:
Has you son been working in the interim period? If so then it's likely child benefit shouldn't have been claimed. Has he been able to do any other form of education during this period? Unfortunately you may need to take this to Citizens' Advice as we don't have enough information and you haven't given us your son's age etc.
LawAndParents - 14-Aug-18 @ 11:12 AM
Squeak - Your Question:
Am I still entitled to my tax credits if my son stays in Scotland for a month with his grandparents?

Our Response:
This shouldn't make a difference to your CTC but contact the helpline on 0345 300 3900 to be sure.
LawAndParents - 14-Aug-18 @ 10:39 AM
Hello October 2017 my family had to urgently move from one part the country to another so my disabled husband and I could receive support with his health. Before we moved my son was in a college course but had to stop as we were suddenly moving the other side of the country, we had no choice as house was offered by Housing association and family support needed. We arranged a interview at the local college for when we moved to the new place the interview was 4 months later, that’s as soon as my son could be seen, my son was accepted at the new college in January and enrolled but course starts September. I have spoken to child benefit they are aware we have moved and why and that my son is enrolled for a college course in September they continued to awarded us we were told he was awarded for his 3 years course that I would only needed to get in touch if he stopped his course. This morning 2 - 3 weeks later child benefit sent me a letter to say the money/claim had been stopped, they now require college course info including attendance from old and new college? When I spoke to an advisor she said my son was not entitled to child benefit because he is not spending any hours at college, I explained that child benefit had been aware that he is at a new college and only enrolled waiting to start in September that I was told previously that classified as still being in higher education which is why he was awarded for a further 3 years? I’m worried sick that I will have to repay them I don’t have money to give? I looked online and see that they do still pay for children that can not go to college for a good reason, I believe my son comes under two 1) because he has moved to another college 2) his fathers deteriating illness again why we have moved. My son has secured a new college place as quickly as possible in the mist of a quick move, I find this unfair and believe he should still be in receipt of child benefit? I have requested a letter from old college and will be given a letter from new college at the end of this month when he has the enrollment day, once I have both letters I’ll send them to child benefit immediately. Please help. Yours sincerely Natasha
Natasha83 - 13-Aug-18 @ 5:31 PM
Am I still entitled to my tax credits if my son stays in Scotland for a month with his grandparents?
Squeak - 10-Aug-18 @ 6:02 PM
0000000 - Your Question:
I have my 13 year old son 4 days a week,my ex has him 3 days sometimes 2,she claims child benefit for him,should it be the other way round.

Our Response:
Usually the parent with majority care would claim these benefits.
LawAndParents - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:01 AM
I have my 13 year old son 4 days a week,my ex has him 3 days sometimes 2,she claims child benefit for him,should it be the other way round.
0000000 - 8-Aug-18 @ 3:37 PM
Hi my 16 year old son has a residential place at a state sports academy a long way from home.He will have to board during the week, which I will pay for.His time at home will be two nights a weekend & full time on school holidays.Can I continue to claim tax credits for him, I am a single mum?Jane.
Jane - 6-Aug-18 @ 6:51 PM
Gh - Your Question:
My 18yr old daughter who is in full time education has been offered a weekend job, will this affect child benifit, if so she won't take the job as will be working for nothing, as the benifit is her pocket money

Our Response:
No a part time job would not affect child benefit if your daughter is in education of 12 hours or more per week.
LawAndParents - 6-Aug-18 @ 11:11 AM
When kids are on school holidays, I book time off work so I can have them for a week or 2 if I can't get time off work for the 2nd week for example I will leave them in my mums care and I will see them around work
Dcb87 - 3-Aug-18 @ 11:15 PM
My 18yr old daughter who is in full time education has been offered a weekend job, will this affect child benifit, if so she won't take the job as will be working for nothing, as the benifit is her pocket money
Gh - 3-Aug-18 @ 2:13 PM
Gems - Your Question:
I am on Esa and my 18 year old son as just started working part time while he waits for an apprenticeship.So the job is only for a few weeks am still entitled to claim for him.Im a single mum.

Our Response:
You haven't said what your son has been doing up until now. Has he been in further education (A levels etc)? If so, you can usuallycontinue claiming Child benefit/other benefits until 31st August.
LawAndParents - 3-Aug-18 @ 12:53 PM
Jan- Your Question:
Hi, I have a son with my ex partner who refuses to pay maintenance he has now stopped working so now he doesn’t have to pay also the £2350 in arrears he owes his son is unlikely to show up. I live with someone new who Is not expected to pay towards my sons childcare etcCan I claim as a single parent for tax credit purposes as our finances are completely separate?

Our Response:
No, if you live with a partner you are assessed as as a household for benefit purposes. The benefit calculator will help you work out what you're likely to get.
LawAndParents - 1-Aug-18 @ 3:10 PM
I am on Esa and my 18 year old son as just started working part time while he waits for an apprenticeship. So the job is only for a few weeks am still entitled to claim for him. Im a single mum.
Gems - 1-Aug-18 @ 11:16 AM
Hi, I have a son with my ex partner who refuses to pay maintenance he has now stopped working so now he doesn’t have to pay also the £2350 in arrears he owes his son is unlikely to show up. I live with someone new who Is not expected to pay towards my sons childcare etc Can I claim as a single parent for tax credit purposes as our finances are completely separate?
Jan - 31-Jul-18 @ 1:26 PM
So my dilemma is me and my ex have a 5 year old and split 6 months ago. He has his own rented house which he cannot afford on his own. I live with my parents. We've had social care involvement due to his behaviour although the last couple of months have been a lot better. I claim the child benefit and always have. He wants to claim she lives there so he gets more money. Although he does love her he can't afford her. This means she has to stop 4 nights for him to claim more money. I said I am willing to do 3 nights and a day so he picks her up Wednesday after school. I go and collect her from his about 4pm on Saturday.I work full time so split the school week and weekend 50/50. Am I unreasonable for not letting him have her an extra night? Is it even true about 4 nights? I would have to say I'm not her primary carer and give up the child benefit (not that I have an issue with the money- I have an issue with it looking like I am giving her up to him) and I'm worried. I can do without going to court if they're just going to be as useless as SC are with it.
Sezza - 30-Jul-18 @ 9:01 PM
Dcb87 - Your Question:
Hi I have my children for 3 weeks should I still pay maintenance to her even though not in her care for 3 weeks? My maintenance is going towards my children while with me. Also should my ex still be receiving tax credits and child benefit for 4 children even though hasn't got 2 of them for 3 weeks?

Our Response:
Maintenance is based on a full year. Unless you have shared care (50/50) with the mother, a 3 weeks holiday will not make a difference to this. Do you make arrangements for someone else to care for the children to cover for contact times when you decide to go away on holiday without them?
LawAndParents - 30-Jul-18 @ 3:38 PM
My 17 year old son lives with his mum. He’s in full time education. Over the summer holidays he’s living with and working with me doing full time hours.Will this effect his mums benefits, as she claims it will and wants to take a third of his wages. Which will be about £1000. During this time I am still paying maintenance for him even though he is staying with me over this period of time. I find it hard to believe that this is true?Thx for your help.
Eagle - 28-Jul-18 @ 11:35 PM
can I claim child tax benefit if my sons dad is the one claiming the child benefit? also if he claims the child benefit but does not contribute monthly to anything can I open a dispute?
ana - 27-Jul-18 @ 7:35 PM
Hi I have my children for 3 weeks should I still pay maintenance to her even though not in her care for 3 weeks? My maintenance is going towards my children while with me. Also should my ex still be receiving tax credits and child benefit for 4 children even though hasn't got 2 of them for 3 weeks?
Dcb87 - 27-Jul-18 @ 3:19 PM
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