For something so small they don't half cost a lot of money. Fear not, help is at hand. Child Benefit is worth at least £80 a month; more if you have more than one child.
What is Child Benefit?
Child Benefit offers extra financial help for parents and guardians. It’s worth £20.70 a week for your eldest child and £13.70 for every additional child.
It isn’t taxed and your income doesn’t affect it, unless you are a high earner earning over £50,000.
It’s normally paid to the parent the child lives with, but that’s not always the case. However, only one parent can claim it.
Anyone who’s responsible for a child (even if you’re not their parent) who is:
- under 16
- under 20 and in full-time education, or on certain approved training courses
- 16 or 17 and have recently left education or training, (however, you must be registered for work or training with one of a number of organisations)
You’re also entitled to get Child Benefit if your child doesn’t live with you, providing you:
- pay towards their upkeep giving at least the same amount of Child Benefit.
- the person your child lives with is not getting Child Benefit for them.
You cannot usually claim Child Benefit for a child who’s in local authority care (although you may receive it for the first eight weeks), or in prison.
For more advice, contact the Child Benefit office, or call the Child Benefit helpline on 0300 200 3100.
Will I get the full amount?
How much you get depends on what you earn. Child Benefit used to be given to all parents – including those with a six-figure salary. However, this all changed in 2013, so here’s how it works:
- The full amount of Child Benefit is paid to parents who earn under £50,000 – even if both parents earn £50,000.
- Those earning over £50,000 will still be entitled to Child Benefit, but will have to pay a tax on the benefit at a rate of 1% for every £100 earned over that amount. (For example, of you’re earning £55,000, you’ll get 50% less Child Benefit.)
- If one parent earns more than £60,000, you’ll be taxed so much it will cancel out the Child Benefit.
How do I claim?
How will I be paid?
In some situations you can get it paid weekly, for example if you’re a single parent, or you or your partner/civil partner are getting income support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
If you claim late, you can get it backdated for up to three months. If you’d like help claiming backdated Child Benefit, you can speak to someone at a Citizens Advice Bureau.
Remember to tell your benefits advisor if your circumstances change, for example, if you get a pay rise, new job, or get married. If you don’t you could face a £50 fine, as well as having to pay back any extra benefit. See GOV.UK for more information.
Unfortunately we are unable to offer benefits advice at The Mix, but we can give emotional support and guide you to the best places for expert advice if you give us a call on 0808 808 4994
Updated on 20-Oct-2015
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