Are you entitled to Child Benefit? Find out about child benefit forms, how to apply and other information around making a claim.
Am I entitled to child benefit?
You can claim Child Benefit in the UK, a tax-free payment, for each baby you are responsible for (you do not have to be their parent) regardless of whether you are working or have savings (Gov.uk, no date a).
You can claim for each child aged under 16 years, or a young person under 20 years if they are still in approved full-time education up to A level or similar, or on certain approved training courses (Gov.uk, no date a).
Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a baby and, if eligible, you'll receive weekly payments of £21.80 for your oldest and £14.45 for each of your other children (Gov.uk, no date a). The money is usually paid into your bank or building society account every four weeks, on a Monday or Tuesday (Gov.uk, no date a).
How to apply for child benefit
You can claim Child Benefit once your baby has arrived or an eligible child comes to live you. You will need to complete the online Child Benefit claim form and send it to the Child Benefit Office with the original long or short version of your son or daughter's birth certificate (or adoption certificate).
After the Benefit Office have received your Child Benefit form, your certificate will be sent back to you once a decision has been made on your claim. It can take up to 16 weeks for a claim to be processed (Gov.uk, no date a).
High income earners
If one or both parents earn over £50,000 individually, they will have to register for self-assessment and then complete an annual self-assessment return. High earners will have to repay a percentage of Child Benefit depending on how much you earn between £50,000 and £60,000. Parents earning over £60,000 individually have to repay all the Child Benefit.
You can elect not to receive Child Benefit but you may still want to register for Child Benefit, regardless of whether you receive payments, so that you can:
- earn National Insurance credits, which will count towards your state pension,
- protect your entitlement to other benefits such as Guardian's Allowance and/or
- ensure your son or daughter is automatically issued with a National Insurance number before their 16th birthday.
(Working Families, 2022)
If your circumstances change in any way that might affect your child benefit payments, you must immediately report it to the Child Benefit Office, for example, if you change your address, or your son or daughter leaves school or training and starts work.
If you do not report changes you could build up an overpayment which you will have to pay back. You could also be given a penalty for failing to report a change, or even prosecuted for benefit fraud if you are found to have deliberately claimed money you were not entitled to (Gov.uk, no date b).
Your circumstances can be checked at any time while you are claiming.
This page was last reviewed in May 2022.
General advice on benefits can be given on the Child Benefit Helpline: 0300 200 3100
See also the Money Advice Service and read their Parent’s guide to money.
See also the benefits calculator, posted by Turn2us, a national charity which helps people to access the benefits which are available to them.
Gov.uk. (no date a) Claim Child Benefit. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit [Accessed 24th May 2022]
Gov.uk. (no date b) Report changes that affect your Child Benefit. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/report-changes-child-benefit [Accessed 24th May 2022]
Working Families. (2022) Child Benefit. Available at: https://workingfamilies.org.uk/articles/child-benefit/ [Accessed 24th May 2022]