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Child Benefit explained for parents of primary school children

Child Benefit explained for parents
Child Benefit can help significantly with the cost of raising a child. Here's what you need to know about what it is, who is eligible, and how much it's worth.
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Child Benefit is money paid to parents or other people responsible for bringing up a child. You are entitled to Child Benefit for every child you have (or are responsible for).

Are you eligible for Child Benefit?

You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up:

  • A child under the age of 16.
  • A child under the age of 20 if they stay in approved education or training. 

Child Benefit can only be paid to one parent or guardian. So for example, if you and your partner are separated and your child splits their time between you, only one of you can claim (usually the person who the child spends the most time with).

How much Child Benefit could you get?

Currently, Child Benefit is paid at £21.15 per week for your oldest child, and £14 per week for each younger child. It’s usually paid every four weeks, but you may be able to get weekly payments if you’re a single parent or claim certain other benefits.
If you or your partner earn over £50,000, you will be subject to a tax charge against your Child Benefit, which effectively reduces the amount you receive. If you or your partner earn over £60,000 per year, the tax charge is the same as the full amount of Child Benefit, so you’re no better off for receiving the benefit.

This tax charge kicks in as soon as one parent earns over £50,000. So you and your partner could both earn £49,000 (a total of £98,000) and receive the full amount of Child Benefit – but if you earn £50,001 and your partner earns nothing (or vice versa), you will be affected by the tax charge.
The tax charge is paid each year through HMRC self-assessment (tax return). Alternatively, you can opt not to receive Child Benefit if you don’t want to pay the charge.
You can use the Child Benefit tax calculator to get an estimate of how much Child Benefit you’re eligible for, taking into account any tax charges.

How to apply for Child Benefit

You need to fill in the Child Benefit claim form CH2. If you have, or become responsible for, another child, you’ll need to fill in another form to add their Child Benefit.

How to use Child Benefit

You can use your Child Benefit for anything you like.

With thanks to Turn2Us, the charity that helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits.