Child Benefit: The lowdown
Understanding why you should claim for your Child Benefit as soon as possible
When you’re expecting a baby, your to-do lists might feel endless. But adding one more thing could boost your family budget and help protect your State Pension. Once you’ve had your baby, HMRC recommends you claim Child Benefit so your family doesn’t miss out.
If you’re unable to register the birth of your child because of Coronavirus (COVID-19), you can still claim Child Benefit. You can backdate your Child Benefit claim for three months.
What is Child Benefit?
You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training).
Child Benefit is paid at a weekly rate of £21.15 for the first child and £14 for each additional child.
But did you know there is more to the benefit than the payments?
Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child. For couples with one person not working or paying National Insurance contributions, making the claim in their name will help protect their State Pension.
Claiming Child Benefit can protect your state pension by helping you to get National Insurance credits until your child turns 12. If you’re on maternity leave, take a break from work to look after your child or do not earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions, Child Benefit can help you qualify for these credits so you get what you’re entitled to.
It will also help your child get their National Insurance number automatically at 16.
High Income Child Benefit Charge
You may have heard of the ‘High Income Child Benefit Charge’ - it’s a tax charge which applies to anyone with an income over £50,000, who gets Child Benefit or whose partner gets it. Don’t let this put you off from claiming.
Even if you do have to pay the tax charge, you could still be better off. The charge increases gradually for people with incomes between £50,000 and £60,000. The tax is 1% of Child Benefit for each £100 of income over £50,000. If your income is over £60,000 the total HICBC will be equal to the Child Benefit you receive.
You can use the Child Benefit tax calculator visiting https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit-tax-calculator to work out how much tax charge you may have to pay.
To pay the charge, the person with the highest income must complete a Self-Assessment tax return.
Alternatively, you can opt out of receiving Child Benefit payments when you claim, so you won’t have to pay the charge but will still protect your State Pension.
You can stop or restart receiving Child Benefit payments online at https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit-tax-calculator if your finances change.
How to claim?
It is important that you claim Child Benefit as soon as possible after the birth of your child as Child Benefit can only be backdated 3 months.
If you are not able to register the birth of your child because of COVID19, don’t worry, you can still claim Child Benefit. Just add a note with your claim. You can find a copy of the Child Benefit form in the Bounty pack or on GOV.UK.
If you already claim Child Benefit for another child, you can complete the form or claim over the telephone on 0300 200 3100. You’ll need your National Insurance number or Child Benefit number.