Child Benefit: Payment lengths set to be reduced as coronavirus puts children off studying

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Child benefit pays out £21.05 per week for an eldest or only child to claimants, with £13.95 being awarded for any additional children. These payments will be awarded until the children turn 16 but they can carry on until they turn 20 so long as the children stay in education or training.

Approved education or training includes the following:

  • A levels or similar, for example Pre-U, International Baccalaureate
  • T levels
  • Scottish Highers
  • NVQs and other vocational qualifications up to level 3
  • home education – if it started before your child turned 16 or after 16 if they have special needs
  • traineeships in England
  • Foundation Apprenticeships or Traineeships in Wales
  • Employability Fund programmes in Scotland
  • United Youth Pilot (if started before June 1 2017), PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1 or Training for Success in Northern Ireland

While many young people are usually keen to get into training or education to boost their career prospects, coronavirus appears to have hampered some of these motivations.

Killik & Co. recently surveyed 2,668 UK parents and the results revealed 24 percent of parents who have children under the age of 13 said their children have changed their education plans.

Of those with children who have altered their plans, it was shown that one in 10 (11 percent) of them are now not planning to go to university at all.

Svenja Keller, the head of wealth planning at Killik & Co., commented on the research’s results: “While we know that the world has been turned upside down for millions of adults in the UK in recent months, the impact this is having on young adults and children who’ve had their education and career goals derailed by Covid-19 – either temporarily or permanently –is no less dramatic.”

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With the chance of children deciding to not move into higher education, incomes from child benefit may be reduced in the coming months and years.

Fortunately, there are still options available for those looking to make the most of their finances, as Svenja continued: “Every parent wants their child to have the best possible start in life.

“It’s more important than ever to discuss – as a family – what everyone thinks is most important, and then make a financial plan that can help you to achieve these priorities.

“When saving for children, there are a range of tax-efficient options worth looking into – such as Junior ISAs, Lifetime ISAs and Junior SIPPs to name just a few – and these combined with the ‘power of compounding’ could make all the difference in helping the next generation realise their future ambitions.”

It should be noted child benefit will continue to 20 weeks if 16 or 17 year olds leave education or training to register with the armed serviced or a government sponsored careers service.

Initial claims for child benefit can be made from as soon as the child’s birth is registered.

It can take up to 12 weeks to process a new claim but they can also be backdated by up to three months.

Only one person can receive the benefit for a child so parents will need to decide who among them should make the claim.

To make a claim for the first time, a “CH2” form will need to be completed and sent to the child benefit office.

Existing children can then be added to a claim if:

  • The children are under six months old and lives with the claimant
  • The children were born in the UK and their birth was registered in England, Scotland or Wales more than 24 hours previously
  • The claimant is a UK, EEA or Swiss national and they’ve lived in the UK since the start of their claim

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