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: 22 Sep 2017 |
 
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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Pops - Your Question:
Hi, am I entitled to claim any child tax credits as my children live with me 3 days a week , as I m on a low income I was wondering what I could do. The mother of the children claims all at this minute in time , as we weren't married there's no court order as to who has the children this was agreed amongst the 2 of us. As we're no longer communicating I can't ask her about this. So any help would be greatly appreciated Cheers pops

Our Response:
The person with the majority care is usually the one able to claim Child Benefit and tax credit. In families where care is shared equally, sometimes each party will agree that Tax credits and CHB are claim for a child each for example. You would need to "communicate" on this - maybe try and mediation service and then contact HMRC to see what is acceptable.
LawAndParents - 25-Sep-17 @ 10:48 AM
Hi, am I entitled to claim any child tax credits as my children live with me 3 days a week , as I m on a low income I was wondering what I could do . The mother of the children claims all at this minute in time , as we weren't married there's no court order as to who has the children this was agreed amongst the 2 of us . As we're no longer communicating I can't ask her about this . So any help would be greatly appreciated Cheers pops
Pops - 22-Sep-17 @ 6:07 AM
Tracy - Your Question:
My grandson who lives with me is 19 goes to college two days a week and I have had his child benefit and tax credits stopped is he entitled to claim anything or should I still be entitled to claim?

Our Response:
A child benefit claim can usually contiune while the child still in further education (no higher than A level or equivalent) of more than 12 hours per week. Your grandson should be able to take part time work for the days he's not at college, but we don't know if you're entitled to anything else as we don't have any of your background information. Citizens' Advice or the Turn 2 Us website might help.
LawAndParents - 20-Sep-17 @ 2:24 PM
Key - Your Question:
HiMy son is in full time education how many hours can he work without it affecting child tax credit

Our Response:
There don't seem to any limits specifically stated for part time work while your child is in full time education. The HMRC website seems to state 24 hours per week maximum working time but it's not clear whether that applies while they're in full time education. Sorry we can't be more specific...it might be worth calling HMRC directly and asking them.
LawAndParents - 20-Sep-17 @ 11:57 AM
Jaq - Your Question:
I have 3 children. My eldest has unfortunately moved out. She is still eligible for child benefit. I am still claiming and have not yet notified anyone. She is living with grandparents who have income of I expect well over £60k however I am more than happy to contribute (not money but items equal in value or in excess of child benefit) My questions are her dad may well put a claim in (he contributes nothing) so am I best to give up my claim and let him or his family maybe my daughter herself claim it since they refuse to communicate with me anyway so I actually can't talk to them to find out exactly what she needs not what she wants!If I cancel my claim does my second child get eldest child amount? If they claim for my eldest would CB pay both families 2 eldest child amounts or would they get it because they have my eldest child?Do I tellCB of the change now but ask if I'm ok to carry on claiming. How do I prove I am contributing if I am not giving money. I refuse to give money as the reason for my child leaving is the lies and deceit and I would also question whether money I gave to grandparents would be used appropriately, they have no idea what she is doing. Dad would spend it on himself. The only way I know it is going on her proper care is if I spend it on bus tickets, makeup, socks, that sort of thing.Please help any advice would be great, I am at my wits end

Our Response:
Here is what the government advises..(you should call Child Benefit for advice on what to do): "You’ll usually get Child Benefit for 8 weeks after your child goes to live with someone else (eg a friend or relative), if nobody else claims. It can continue for longer if you make contributions to your child’s upkeep.
The Child Benefit Office will tell you if they get another claim for your child. They’ll help you decide who should claim if you can’t decide for yourself.
You could continue to get payments for more than 8 weeks if you contribute to your child’s upkeep by the same amount or more than the Child Benefit payment.
Upkeep includes clothes, presents, food and pocket money and financial contributions to provide your child with somewhere to live.
Here's the link to the page
LawAndParents - 20-Sep-17 @ 11:49 AM
My grandson who lives with me is 19 goes to college two days a week and I have had his child benefit and tax credits stopped is he entitled to claim anything or should I still be entitled to claim?
Tracy - 20-Sep-17 @ 10:54 AM
Hi My son is in full time education how many hours can he workwithout it affecting child tax credit
Key - 19-Sep-17 @ 2:50 PM
J - Your Question:
My 17 year old sister is moving in with me, im a full time student im still on income support and recieve travel expenses from college. I have 2 young kids aged 6 and 2. Will I get any help with my sister? She is currently unemployed and no longer in education.

Our Response:
If she is not in education it's unlikely you will be able to claim anything such as Child Benefit or Child Tax Credits. She may be able to claim something in her own right...try the Turn 2 Us benefit calculator
LawAndParents - 19-Sep-17 @ 2:32 PM
Emma80 - Your Question:
Hi my son is 18 in 3 mths and last yr he left school and got a job so we took him off the tax credits and child benefit as he was no longer in education, however this yr he has gone back to 6th form to do double business and A level English and R.E. He also works 14 hours a week. Am I able to add him back onto my tax credit claim or not because he works 14 hours Thanks in advance

Our Response:
You can usually receive Child tax credit for a child to their 20th birthday if they are in full time non-advanced education as long as they enrolled onto a full time non-advanced course before their 19th birthday.
LawAndParents - 19-Sep-17 @ 1:58 PM
I have 3 children. My eldest has unfortunately moved out. She is still eligible for child benefit. I am still claiming and have not yet notified anyone. She is living with grandparents who have income of I expect well over £60k however I am more than happy to contribute (not money but items equal in value or in excess of child benefit) My questions are her dad may well put a claim in (he contributes nothing) so am I best to give up my claim and let him or his family maybe my daughter herself claim it since they refuse to communicate with me anyway so I actually can't talk to them to find out exactly what she needs not what she wants! If I cancel my claim does my second child get eldest child amount? If they claim for my eldest would CB pay both families 2 eldest child amounts or would they get it because they have my eldest child? Do i tellCB of the change now but ask if I'm ok to carry on claiming. How do I prove I am contributing if I am not giving money. I refuse to give money as the reason for my child leaving is the lies and deceit and I would also question whether money I gave to grandparents would be used appropriately, they have no idea what she is doing. Dad would spend it on himself. The only way I know it is going on her proper care is if I spend it on bus tickets, makeup, socks, that sort of thing. Please help any advice would be great, I am at my wits end
Jaq - 19-Sep-17 @ 12:58 PM
My 17 year old sister is moving in with me, im a full time student im still on income support and recieve travel expenses from college. I have 2 young kids aged 6 and 2.Will i get any help with my sister? She is currently unemployed and no longer in education.
J - 18-Sep-17 @ 4:03 PM
Chris - Your Question:
I'm claiming child tax credits as my daughter is in college, I'm a single parent, I also claim working tax credits and child Benefit, my daughter wants to get a part time job whilst in college. If she does, will this affect my claim for the benefits I've mentioned,?

Our Response:
Your CTC and CHB will not usually be affected if your daughter is working part time while in full time education of more than 12 hours per week.
LawAndParents - 18-Sep-17 @ 1:54 PM
Hi, my son lives between mine and his Dads house, he claims his Child benefit and I was wondering if I'm allowed to claim the child tax credits as his dad doesn't claim that?
Jstwondering - 18-Sep-17 @ 1:52 PM
Ansmamd - Your Question:
Hi my son whos 19 years old in full education wich I s getting the benefits has an ofer of 12 hours work per week will that affect my benefits??

Our Response:
If he's in full time education of over 12 hours per week at a standard no higher than A level or equivalent then your Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits should not be affected.
LawAndParents - 18-Sep-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hi my son is 18 in 3 mths and last yr he left school and got a job so we took him off the tax credits and child benefit as he was no longer in education, however this yr he has gone back to 6th form to do double business and A level English and R.E.He also works 14 hours a week. Am I able to add him back onto my tax credit claim or not because he works 14 hours Thanks in advance
Emma80 - 18-Sep-17 @ 12:02 PM
I'm claiming child tax credits as my daughter is in college, I'm a single parent, I also claim working tax credits and child Benefit, my daughter wants to get a part time job whilst in college. If she does, will this affect my claim for the benefits I've mentioned,?
Chris - 16-Sep-17 @ 3:01 PM
Hi my son whos 19 years old in full education wich i s getting the benefits has an ofer of 12 hours work per week will that affect my benefits??
Ansmamd - 15-Sep-17 @ 7:51 PM
Hi, I have this friend, she had 2 kids under 10 that have recently moved to their dad's (have separate dads) she's pregnant again, will she be entitled to child benifit and tax credits? I don't agree with this if this is true.
Saz - 15-Sep-17 @ 3:33 PM
Blessings1970 - Your Question:
Hi my 17 year old daughter is doing two full days at college on her English and Maths! Is this classed as full time education?

Our Response:
If a child attends college/school for 12 hours or more per week and the study is at a level no higher then A level standard or equivalent then yes it's considered full time.
LawAndParents - 14-Sep-17 @ 12:46 PM
My niece as come to live with me can I claim her tax credit at the minute her dad gets it but he dosnt give me anything for her keep she is also in full time college she is 17 thanks
Wongy - 13-Sep-17 @ 10:38 PM
Shazzie70 - Your Question:
Hello could someone please give me advice. My 16 year old son left home last week to stay with my daughter. I don't like this she is sadly vicious and feel she is poisoning my sons mind. I'm worried for his welfare. He's just started college. She is abusing me through texts telling me to hand over his tax credits. I feel this is to premature with him only leaving last week. Am I entitled to keep the tax credits and child benefit if I continue to pay for his keep. I don't know how long this will last. I'm at my wits end. Thanx in advance

Our Response:
The government advises the following: "You’ll usually get Child Benefit for 8 weeks after your child goes to live with someone else (eg a friend or relative), if nobody else claims. It can continue for longer if you make contributions to your child’s upkeep."
LawAndParents - 13-Sep-17 @ 2:04 PM
Hi my 17 year old daughter is doing two full days at college on her English and Maths! Is this classed as full time education?
Blessings1970 - 13-Sep-17 @ 2:02 AM
NAV - Your Question:
Hi everyoneI'm not a UK citizen hence if anone can advise meIs it possible for me to ask my EX the amount she receives as benefits for my kids?We are separated, I pay child mantenance. Now she is demanding big amount which I can't afford. Does law allows my to demand from her to show me the amount for child benefits she claims?

Our Response:
The amount of child benefit she claims may not affect the maintenance you have to pay.The Child Maintenance Calculator might help you
LawAndParents - 12-Sep-17 @ 11:50 AM
Pat - Your Question:
Hi. I am a single mum who claims Working and Child tax credits for my both daughters. One of my 17 years old daughter wants to work part time while she is studying full time. Will her income be taken into consideration or maybe even effect or stop the benefits? Thanks

Our Response:
If she is still in full time education of 12 hours or more, your CTC and CHB should not be affected by a part time job.
LawAndParents - 12-Sep-17 @ 10:57 AM
Hello could someone please give me advice. My 16 year old son left home last week to stay with my daughter. I don't like this she is sadly vicious and feel she is poisoning my sons mind. I'm worried for his welfare. He's just started college. She is abusing me through texts telling me to hand over his tax credits. I feel this is to premature with him only leaving last week. Am I entitled to keep the tax credits and child benefit if I continue to pay for his keep. I don't know how long this will last. I'm at my wits end. Thanx in advance
Shazzie70 - 12-Sep-17 @ 12:26 AM
Hi everyone I'm not a UK citizen hence if anone can advise me Is it possible for me to ask my EX the amount she receives as benefits for my kids? We are separated, I pay child mantenance. Now she is demanding big amount which I can't afford. Does law allows my to demand from her to show me the amount for child benefits she claims?
NAV - 11-Sep-17 @ 12:19 AM
hi my 17 year old daughter walked out few mths ago I've stopped claiming child credits but still claiming and paying her friends mom for her up keep with it, But now she's moved in with her friend in their own place and needs me to stop claiming. but if I stop claiming will that affect her dad paying marinade to her as she's still goes to collage. I do t won't her to move out either so I'm in a pical. advise much appreciated
nikm - 10-Sep-17 @ 11:33 PM
Hi. I am a single mum who claims Working and Child tax credits for my both daughters. One of my 17 years old daughter wants to work part time while she is studying full time. Will her income be taken into consideration or maybe even effect or stop the benefits? Thanks
Pat - 10-Sep-17 @ 7:25 AM
Sammyjo89 - Your Question:
Hi, please can you advise me if this is allowed? I recently gave my children to their father to remain during the school holidays. I have been giving him the children's money whilst they have been there child tax and child benefit. I have gone to collect my child benefit today and it was not there. Called the cb office and they have said he put in a claim 24th July for both my children and is recieving this now. They are looking into it. But is this not illegal? He is now refusing to return my children!

Our Response:
While the father is the main carer he can claim the Child Benefit. If you want to make changes to your child arrangements, you should try and do so via mutual agreement with your ex partner. If this doesn't succeed, the court will expect you to attend mediation before you can apply to for Child Arrangements Order.
LawAndParents - 7-Sep-17 @ 12:10 PM
Jane - Your Question:
Hi, I currently live with my daughter and grandchildren. My daughter is away most of the time due to work. I look after the children all the time.At the moment my daughter is claiming tax credit for the children but we have agreed that since I am the main carer for the children will I be able to claim tax credit for my grandchildren.

Our Response:
If you can make it official (eg some kind of guardianship order etc), then you might be able to claim the tax credits. Your daughter would no longer be able to claim though. Can your daughter not simply give you the money from the tax credit and the child benefit etc?
LawAndParents - 7-Sep-17 @ 11:35 AM
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