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Child Benefit: Do you qualify?

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Child benefit can really help low income families

Raising a child isn’t a cheap business at the best of times so child benefit, the social security payment paid to parents or guardians of children to help with their upbringing, definitely helps families with everyday bills.

Who is entitled to receive a child benefit payment?

Child Benefit is paid by the government to those adults who are responsible for a child under 16, or a young adult of under 20 if they remain in approved education or training. Generally speaking, the child benefit payment is only made after the age of 16 if the child is in full time non advanced education. That definition includes GCSEs, A Levels or  NVQ level 1,2 or 3 for example. Such students are required to spending more than 12 hours a week in term time on tuition, practical work, supervised study or taking exams on a course that begins before the child’s 19th birthday. Young adults on advanced education courses such as degrees or BTEC Higher National Certificates (HNC) are not eligible for the payment to be continued after they are 16.

Who receives the payment?

The child benefit payment in most cases is made to the resident parent, but can also be paid to someone who is responsible for a child but isn’t necessarily a relative. It can even be paid for a child who doesn’t live with you, that is provided that you pay towards their upkeep at a level that is at least the same as the amount of child benefit. It also requires that the person within whom the child is living is not also claiming child benefit for the child.
There are two levels of Child Benefit that are paid. For the first, children’s parents or guardians are paid £20.30 a week. For subsequent children a rate of £13.40 is paid per week.

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When your income exceeds £50,000 per year things are different

The benefit is tax-free unless either yourself or your partner have an income individually that exceeds £50,000, in which case there are specific restrictions on the benefit. You may be asked to complete a self assessment tax return every year, or you may choose to discontinue your claim as the tax payable on the benefit may exceed the benefit amount. HMRC will look at individual circumstances and will inform you of your options, for more information visit HMRC declaring child benefit.

How is child benefit paid?

The benefit payment is paid directly into bank accounts, generally every four weeks although it can be paid every week. Payment frequency will be dependent on receipt of various other benefits, or if you are a single parent and have requested the payment to be made more often.

Child benefit for foster or adoptive parents

Child benefit is also payable to adults that have an adopted or foster child, and may also be eligible to those adults that make an informal arrangement to look after a friend or relative’s child. This is on the provisor that the local council isn’t also paying towards the child’s accommodation or maintenance, and is also the case with fostering too.
For those adults who are acting as official guardians to children there may be an eligibility for Guardian’s Allowance too – this is an additional benefit payable on top of child benefit to assist in situations where both parents have died.

 

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About Liz Morrell

About Liz Morrell

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