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New addition to the family? Don’t forget you can still claim child benefit

Published on 9 April 2020

HMRC are reminding parents of newborns that they are still able to claim child benefit even though they cannot register the child’s birth because the General Register Office is currently closed.

Below, we explain briefly about child benefit and what you need to do to claim.

baby sitting by pound sign and toys vector cartoon (c) Shutterstock / Julia XOOXOO Jasiczak
(c) Shutterstock / Julia XOOXOO Jasiczak

What is child benefit?

Child benefit is a benefit which is payable to those responsible for a child or qualifying young person. Although it is a weekly benefit, it is usually payable every four weeks.

It is not means-tested, which means that it is payable regardless of your or your household’s income. However, if either you or your partner has adjusted net income over £50,000, then the high income child benefit charge may apply.

From 6 April 2020, the rate of child benefit payable is £21.05 per week for the eldest child and £13.95 per week for other children.

We publish more information in our tax credits and benefits section.

What if I am a first-time parent?

If you are a first-time parent, then you need to fill in a child benefit claim form CH2. You can print the form, complete it and send it by post to the Child Benefit office:

Child Benefit Office (GB)
Washington
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE88 1ZD

HMRC say that if you have not registered the birth because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), then you should add a note to the form to let them know.

Child benefit can only be backdated three months. In addition, it can take up to 12 weeks to process a new claim (or possibly longer if you are new to the UK). Therefore you shouldn’t delay in making the claim.

Further information can be found on GOV.UK.

What if I already claim child benefit?

If you already claim child benefit and you wish to make a claim for an additional child, then you may be able to do this over the phone. You should call HMRC on 0300 200 3100 with your National Insurance number and Child Benefit number to hand.

If you are unable to claim by phone or prefer to use the Alternatively, you can complete the form referred to above.

Is child benefit taxable?

No.

Does child benefit affect tax credits and universal credit?

No. Child benefit is not treated as income for either tax credits or universal credit (UC) purposes.

What if I earn, or my partner earns, over £50,000?

If you or your partner have adjusted net income of over £50,000, it is still possible to claim child benefit. However, the high income child benefit charge may be applicable. We explain more about it in our tax credits and benefits section.

Where the high income child benefit charge applies, some or all of the child benefit paid is clawed back via a tax charge which is paid on a Self Assessment tax return. However, it can still be worth claiming child benefit if not all of it is clawed back via the charge.

Even if the high income child benefit charge claws back all of the child benefit claimed, the claimant is able to get National Insurance credits for the first 12 years of the child’s life. This can help towards their state pension entitlement if they don’t work or get National Insurance credits on some other basis. In addition, where child benefit is claimed the child will also have a National Insurance number issued automatically when they turn 16.

It is possible to access these ‘secondary’ benefits without paying the high income child benefit charge by claiming child benefit and opting out of receiving payments. Further details can be found in our news article.

If you or your partner have suffered a drop in income recently, perhaps due to the coronavirus outbreak, you should consider whether this affects your liability to the high income child benefit charge. You may wish to claim child benefit where you didn’t before, or otherwise opt to restart receiving payments. We discuss this in our coronavirus guidance section.

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(09-04-20)

Contact: Tom Henderson (click here to Contact Us

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