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Child Benefit

Child Benefit is a regular payment made to anyone bringing up a child or young person. It's paid for each child that qualifies and isn't affected by income or savings, so most people bringing up a child can get Child Benefit.

Who is eligible?

You'll be able to get Child Benefit if you're bringing up:

  • a child aged under 16
  • a young person under 19 (under 20 in some cases) who is either studying in full-time non-advanced education (A level or equivalent) or on an approved training programme
  • a 16 or 17 year old who recently left school or training and registered for work or training with the Careers or Connexions Service or similar

How much do you get?

  • £17.45 a week for the eldest child (£18.10 from 10 April 2007)
  • £11.70 a week for each additional child (£12.10 from 10 April 2007)

How it's paid

Child Benefit can be paid into a bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings account that accepts Direct Payment, or you may be sent a cheque to cash at the Post Office.

Child Benefit is paid every four weeks, but it can be paid weekly if:

  • you're a single parent
  • you or your partner or civil partner are getting Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

Effect on benefits

Although Child Benefit isn't 'means tested' ( it's not affected by income or savings), it can affect the amount of other benefits you may be getting that are means tested. These benefits include:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing / Council Tax Benefit
  • New Deal 50 plus Employment Credit

For Tax Credit purposes Child Benefit is  not counted as income.

How to claim

You should claim Child Benefit as soon as:

  • your child is born
  • a child or young person comes to live with you
  • you adopt a child
  • you start to contribute to the cost of looking after a child

To get Child Benefit, you'll need to complete a claim form and submit the child or young  person's birth or adoption certificate.

If your child has just been born, you should have a claim form in your 'Bounty Pack' from the hospital. Or you can complete a form online (or print one out to fill in later) at the HM Revenue & Customs website.

What to do if your circumstances change

You'll need to let the Child Benefit Office know if your circumstances change - for example, if the child you're getting Child Benefit for:

  • is 16 or 17 and has left school and registers for work or training with the Careers or Connexions service or similar
  • is 16 to 19 and has left full-time further education or approved training earlier than the date you told the Child Benefit Office
  • no longer lives with you

You can contact the Child Benefit Office by calling their helpline on 0845 302 1444, textphone 0845 302 1474 (8.00 am to 8.00 pm seven days a week). You can also let them know about your change in circumstances online.

What else you need to know

You don't have to be the child's parent to get Child Benefit. You may also qualify if you pay towards their upbringing - even if the child doesn't live with you. But you'll only get Child Benefit if no one else is claiming it for the same child.

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