Looking after children can be expensive, and the Government offers a benefit which can help cover the costs of running a family. However, to be able to claim child benefit you will need to meet certain criteria, and there are many factors which determine how much you will receive.
What is child benefit?
Child benefit is a Government payment made to anyone responsible for a child.
The money is intended to help people pay for things their child may need, and can help families to boost their household income.
The benefit is usually paid every four weeks to the claimant, and how much a person receives depends on their situation.
To claim child benefit, you will need to fill out an application on the Government website, and post it to the Child Benefit Office.
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How much child benefit do you get?
For the eldest or only child in a family, you receive a weekly allowance of £20.70.
For every additional child, you are eligible for an extra £13.70 per week.
If a family splits, and one child stays with one parent and another child stays with the other parent, each parent will receive £20.70 weekly for each child.
Your child benefit payments are tax-free, as long as either parent does not earn more than £50,000.
If you or your partner earn more than this, you will be subjected to a ‘High Income Child Benefit Charge’.
This means you will have to pay back some of the child benefit you receive in the form of extra Income Tax.
If you earn more than £60,000, and your child benefit will be outweighed by the tax charge, you can opt out of receiving payments.
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Am I eligible for child benefit?
You will usually qualify for child benefit if you are responsible for a child under the age of 16, or under 20 if they are in approved education or training.
You must live in the UK to claim the benefit.
You do not have to be a parent to claim the benefit, just so long as you are considered responsible for them.
This could mean you live with the child, or pay the equivalent of child benefit towards looking after the child.
Only one person can get child benefit per child, and the payment will be made into one bank account.
Will claiming child benefit affect your state pension?
You only receive the new full state pension if you’ve made 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions.
But if you are not working or do not earn enough to make National Insurance contributions, you may also be entitled to National Insurance credits if you claim child benefit.
These credits will count towards your state pension, which can help you avoid gaps in your record.
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