How to Claim Child Benefit
In the United Kingdom, when a citizen becomes a parent they are entitled to claim child benefit. This particular benefit gives the parent a certain amount of money to help towards the expenses of raising the child such as buying food, clothing and school essentials. This article shall discuss everything around child benefit from how to claim it to a person's eligibility and finally the amount of money a parent will receive from the benefit.
It is fairly easy to claim child benefit compared to the other benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance that require multiple interviews and meetings in person. It is important to put in a claim for child benefit as soon as the child is born, as it can take a long time to process a new child benefit claim sometimes up to 12 weeks, therefore the sooner an individual puts in a claim the quicker the process will take. In order to make a claim, the parent of the child will have to fill out a child benefit claim form CH2 which can be found on the government website.
As well as filling out the form, the parent should enclose the child's original birth or adoption certificate for proof of identity. If the parent has lost the child's birth or adoption certificate it is easy enough for them to be issued with a new one from the government. Because of the length of time it can take for an individual's claim to be processed, child benefit can be backdated for up to three months to make up for the money the parent did not receive once the claim was being processed. It is also possible for someone to manage someone else's child benefit claim.
If a parent's child has a baby and they are both living with the parent they can claim for child benefit on behalf of the child who has had the baby. However, child benefit is only paid into one account and the child must have their name on the account if it is a joint account. An individual can also become an appointee for someone else's child benefit, which means that they have the right to deal with the person's child benefit. This is usually the case if the claimant cannot handle their own affairs possibly because they have a disability. In order to become an appointee, the individual must contact the child benefit office where they will discuss whether or not the claimant requires an appointee and if it is the best solution.
Once the person has been approved by the child benefit office, their role as an appointee will include helping the claimant organise and fill out forms from the child benefit centre as well as reporting any changes to the child benefit office. It is very important that an appointee gets authorised as only the claimant whose name is on the claim form will be allowed to discuss their claim over the phone. An appointee will only be allowed to get involved if their name is also on the form. In order to do so the claimant is required to fill in form TC689, which can be found on the government's website, or write a letter with the same information, and send it to the Tax Credit Office. This only usually takes two days to become authorised as soon as the form is received.
In order to be eligible to receive child benefit, an individual must be responsible for a child under the age of 16 and living in the UK. Once a child turns 16, on August 31st if the child leaves education or training their child benefit will be stopped. If a child does not leave education, the parent of the child will be sent a letter from child benefit centre asking them to confirm their child's plans for the year ahead. Child benefit will stop if the child leaves school but will continue if they remain in school. If an individual has adopted a child and the council does not pay anything towards their accommodation or other expenses, the guardian will be able to claim for child benefit.
Child benefit can only be claimed by one parent or guardian so it is important in a situation where someone is looking after another person's child for them to reach an agreement as to who will claim to receive the benefit. Families who earn an income of over £50,000 will receive a tax on their child benefit but will still be able to claim it even if they decide that they do not want to receive it any more. Once a child has started working over 24 hours a week or is claiming any benefits in their own right such as Income Support, child benefit is stopped.
There are two different rates of pay for child benefit, one being for eldest or an only child at £20.70 a week and another for additional children at £13.70 per child. For families who separate, the guardian will receive £20.70 for the eldest child living with them and £13.70 for children younger, again, child benefit is only paid to one parent/guardian. Child benefit is paid into a parent or guardian's account once a month unless they are a single parent and or claiming other benefits as well as child benefit. If this is the case, then it can be paid weekly. It is advised that child benefit is not deposited into a child's account or an ISA (Individual Savings Account) due to the cap they have on the amount of money that can be deposited into them.
Child Benefit is an important benefit to claim as not only does it help a parent or guardian financially with the cost of bringing up a child/children but it also contributes towards the child receiving a national insurance number once they reach 16, as well as helping those responsible for the child accumulate National Insurance Credits which go towards a state pension.