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 Jan 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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In response to kelly who has partners child 4 days a week. Your partners ex is illegally claiming for the child if you have child more than she does.. The main carer and the one who receives the money is the parent that has the child most in a weekly monthly period. by law he should be contacting hmrc because he has more care responsibility than Childs mum. He can also get into trouble for letting her be in reciept if ctc and cb when he knows he looks after child more in a week/month. Would definitely get him to check with hmrc so he isn't getting into trouble. Only advising as have been in similar situation.
shel - 21-Jan-18 @ 2:34 AM
My son is 17 and has autism and anxiety... he is unable to handle college as its all too much for him . he is now about to be left without any education,does this mean i will lose both child tax credits and child benefit?. it is so unfair that he feels so overwhelmed with his anxiety ..to be further punished having the child tax credits stopped and the child benefit is yet another smack in the face!!.
lindy - 20-Jan-18 @ 2:47 PM
Eloisa - Your Question:
My daughter doesn’t like her college course and wants to drop out and get a full time job until the next academic year starts, would I still get CTC? She will be starting a new college course in September 2018. Thanks

Our Response:
If your daughter is working in a full time job, it's likely to affect your CTC, you would need to check with HMRC.
LawAndParents - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:33 PM
Good morning we have my partners daughter stay with us 4 days a wk thurs to mon morning and i do the school are we entitled to any help? His ex demands money off us even though we have his daughter more than she does. We pay for everything and his daughter wants to do ballet so now goes to ballet every saturday. I was just wondering if they was any help for us or if her mum shouldnt be claiming because is daughter is hardly at home we also have her on school holidays. Thanks
Kelly - 18-Jan-18 @ 10:55 AM
17yr old has decided to drop out of college to explore further career options. She is not on any course as of yet.She lives with her mum. What can be done regarding the benefits she is entitled to? Her mother's HB and CB has been discontintued. Why is this? What can be done to change this?
Maya - 18-Jan-18 @ 12:18 AM
Fats - Your Question:
To whom it may concern, my brother is 17 goes to college part time from Wednesday to Friday. He does not have a job and wishes to go into an apprenticeship once he finds one. My mother! Doesn't pay anything for him I pay everything for him that he needs I have a twin boy and a girl aged 1 who are my children and I get the following benefits from universal credits. I was wondering if there is any help I can get with my brother ?

Our Response:
Does he live with you? If so, you could claim child benefit if he is in full time education of no less than 12 hours per week.
LawAndParents - 17-Jan-18 @ 10:05 AM
My ex wife claims tax credits for our 2 kids . I have the kids 3 nights a week so should I be entitled to claim tax credits also . I pay money each week to her for the kids also .
Johnny - 17-Jan-18 @ 6:37 AM
I receive CB for my 2y since his mum has no recourse for public funds ( illegal immigrant ) I have now a court order for one night per week but HOusing benifit s have said he dosent live with me full time . How much time does he need to live with me for me to get HB . Any help would be appreciated .
Jay - 15-Jan-18 @ 11:53 PM
Linfa - Your Question:
Further to the situation with my grand-daughter discussed with universal credit team and they are adamant thst ctc ceases after the 31 august following the 19 th birthday but admit that the advise is ambiguous!Once again thank you for help which is invaluable More power to you.Linda

Our Response:
Unless you can tell us the exact course she is studying, there is not much we can add to this.
LawAndParents - 15-Jan-18 @ 1:46 PM
To whom it may concern, my brother is 17 goes to college part time from Wednesday to Friday. He does not have a job and wishes to go into an apprenticeship once he finds one. My mother! Doesn't pay anything for him I pay everything for him that he needs I have a twin boy and a girl aged 1 who are my children and I get the following benefits from universal credits . I was wondering if there is any help I can get with my brother ?
Fats - 14-Jan-18 @ 4:01 PM
Further to the situation with my grand-daughter discussed with universal credit team and they are adamant thst ctc ceases after the 31 august following the 19 th birthday but admit that the advise is ambiguous! Once again thank you for help which is invaluable More power to you. Linda
Linfa - 12-Jan-18 @ 3:50 PM
Hi, I would like to know if my son lives with his mum at her parents house (his grandparents / council house / low income) are they able to claim any benefits at all? I assume not but thought I would ask.
John - 11-Jan-18 @ 7:12 PM
My daughter doesn’t like her college course and wants to drop out and get a full time job until the next academic year starts, would I still get CTC? She will be starting a new college course in September 2018. Thanks
Eloisa - 11-Jan-18 @ 2:38 PM
Ros - Your Question:
My son is nearly 18, in full time education and wants a part time job. Will this affect my working and child tax benefits?

Our Response:
If your child is in education at a level no higher than A level on a full time (minimum 12 hours per week) course, then a part time job should not affect CTC or CHB.
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-18 @ 3:47 PM
Angela Race - Your Question:
My 2 children live with me full time, yet thier dad has made a claim for child benefits and now he gets half, why is this? I pay for everything my children need , how did he receive half, my children are 11 and 14, how can I change this?

Our Response:
You need to ask HMRC to investigate this. Child benefit can sometimes be shared between parents (e.g one payment for one child per parent). If the father does not have residency (e.g 3 or more days per week) with the father this does seem a little odd.
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-18 @ 3:43 PM
Parthena- Your Question:
Another query please. If my 17 year old took up any casual or part time work whilst going to college full time, would it affect any child benefit and CTC I may be able to get? How much could he earn before it had an effect? Thank you.

Our Response:
If your child is in education at a level no higher than A level on a full time (minimum 12 hours per week) course, then a part time job should not affect CTC or CHB.
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-18 @ 3:09 PM
My son is nearly 18, in full time education and wants a part time job. Will this affect my working and child tax benefits?
Ros - 10-Jan-18 @ 8:06 AM
My 2 children live with me full time, yet thier dad has made a claim for child benefits and now he gets half, why is this? I pay for everything my children need , how did he receive half, my children are 11 and 14, how can I change this?
Angela Race - 10-Jan-18 @ 12:32 AM
Thank you very much for your reply . Off to do battle with Universal Credit with full armour,shield and lance! Linda
Linda - 9-Jan-18 @ 3:50 PM
Another query please. If my 17 year old took up any casual or part time work whilst going to college full time, would it affect any child benefit and CTC i may be able to get? How much could he earn before it had an effect? Thank you.
Parthena - 9-Jan-18 @ 3:27 PM
Thank you Law and Parents for the reply. I will contact DWP and the Child Benefit dept asap.
Parthena - 9-Jan-18 @ 3:19 PM
Parthena- Your Question:
My 17 yr old has resigned from an apprenticeship because it wasn't working out for him. He was being paid so our CTC and child benefit had ended. Now he wants to go to college full time instead. I used to get child tax credit as well as child benefit before he began working and getting paid. Can I get it again?

Our Response:
If the course is no higher than A level standard or equivalent and is "full time" i.e 12 hours or more per week, then child benefit and tax credits could be payable until age 19/20 when the course is completed.
LawAndParents - 9-Jan-18 @ 2:55 PM
Linda - Your Question:
Reference my granddaughter,her course finishes in june this year.The course is a continuation of the same course that ended june 2017,therefore she has been in continual education since sept 2016.Hope this is helpful.

Our Response:
Is the course of A level standard or below?If so, child tax credits should continue until the age of 20 (so definitely no further than June 2018). If the course is a level above the previous course (that ended in June 17) i.e higher than A level/NVQ level 3 then the parent will not be eligible for Child Tax Credits.
LawAndParents - 9-Jan-18 @ 2:53 PM
Jo - Your Question:
Hi my children are on a tempary interm care order.do I still recieve child benifit if my tax credits have been stopped

Our Response:
If your children are taken into care for more than 8 weeks you Child Benefit will stop.If your child spends2 consecutive nights (or 7 days or more) at homeyou may be able to claim . You can contact the Child Benefit Office on 0300 200 3100 to find out.
LawAndParents - 9-Jan-18 @ 12:42 PM
My 17 yr old has resigned from an apprenticeship because it wasn't working out for him. He was being paid so our CTC and child benefit had ended. Now he wants to go to college full time instead. I used to get child tax credit as well as child benefit before he began working and getting paid. Can i get it again?
Parthena - 8-Jan-18 @ 4:06 PM
Reference my granddaughter,her course finishes in june this year.The course is a continuation of the same course that ended june 2017,therefore she has been in continual education since sept 2016. Hope this is helpful.
Linda - 8-Jan-18 @ 3:46 PM
Carol - Your Question:
Hi , my daughter is 8 months old she is my second child and I still didn’t receive any child benefits. I did contact child benefit people but they told me they got my application and I had to wait.What can I do? What else I can do?

Our Response:
Are you new to the UK? If so it can take a longer to process an application. Under usual circumstances the wait is up to 12 weeks. If you feel that HMRC are deliberately stalling (i.e there are no unusual circumstances in your case), follow their Complaints procedure or try contacting your MP.
LawAndParents - 8-Jan-18 @ 2:22 PM
Linda - Your Question:
My granddaughter,who was 19 last june,is still in full time education and living at home with her mother.Her mother is claiming universal credit but has been told she cannot claim for her daughter because of her age however everything we have read indicates that she is entitled to the age of 20.Her mother is still in receipt of child benefit but the universal credit office states that child tax credit finishes on 31 august agter her 19 birthday.Can you clarity this situation please?

Our Response:
When does your granddaughter's course finish?
LawAndParents - 8-Jan-18 @ 1:52 PM
Hi my children are on a tempary interm care order .do I still recieve child benifit if my tax credits have been stopped
Jo - 8-Jan-18 @ 1:30 PM
Hi , my daughter is 8 months old she is my second child and I still didn’t receive any child benefits. I did contact child benefit people but they told me they got my application and I had to wait . What can I do? What else I can do?
Carol - 5-Jan-18 @ 8:39 PM
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