If you’ve just given birth, or adopted a baby, you’re able to claim Child Benefit.
Child Benefit is a tax-free payment to help you care for your child which parents can claim for every new child, no matter how much you earn or what National Insurance contributions you have paid.
And if this is your second child (or more!), you’ll be glad to know you can currently claim Child Benefit for each child from birth until they’re at least 16 years old.
What you need to qualify for Child Benefit
At the moment every mother or father can claim Child Benefit for their child, as long as they are resident in the UK, and not subject to immigration control.
Child Benefit payments – for your first or second child
You’ll receive £20.30 a week for your first child, and £13.40 a week for each of your other eligible children. Child Benefit rates will be frozen at the current levels for the next three years (as at April 2011).
However, for a new child it’s important that you start claiming within three months of your baby’s birth or adoption, otherwise you may lose some of it.
How to claim Child Benefit
- If you haven’t already got a Child Benefit claim pack, you can setup yourclaim Child Benefit online.
- Fill in the forms and send them, along with your baby’s original birth certificate, to the Child Benefit Office. Your baby’s birth certificate will be given to you free when you register the birth, and will be returned to you once your Child Benefit claim is sorted out.
- Your benefit will then be paid directly into your bank or building society account. Or, if you request it, you’ll be sent a cheque which you can cash at a Post Office® branch.
It is usually paid every four weeks in arrears, although if you’re a single parent or your family has a low income, you can choose to be paid weekly if it’s more convenient.
The trigger for your child’s Child Trust Fund (CTF) voucher
If your child is eligible for Child Trust Fund (born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011), shortly after you’ve registered for Child Benefit, you’ll receive your child’s Child Trust Fund voucher by post – there’s no need to make a separate claim.
Changes to Child Benefit
At the moment Child Benefit is a “universal benefit” meaning that any parent or guardian of a child can claim, regardless of their income.
But from 2013, the Government plans to introduce new rules for eligibility for Child Benefit. The proposals will mean that those families who have a higher rate tax payer in the household will no longer receive Child Benefit (currently a higher rate tax payer is someone who earns more than £42,475 a year).
Make the most of Child Benefit
With Government planned changes to Child Benefit, there’s never been a better time to try and make the most of the Child Benefit money that you receive for your children.
Invest your Child Benefit to help your child’s future
Just by paying in the money that you receive each month into a CTF or Junior ISA account is a really worthwhile way to help your child get a great financial start to adult life.
Open a Junior ISA
If your child missed out on a CTF account, Junior ISAs are a new easy way to save for them. Why not open a Junior ISA account for your child and use Child Benefit to help kick-start their account?More about Junior ISAs
Top-up a CTF or Junior ISA account
If your child already has a CTF or Junior ISA account with The Children’s Mutual, why not add to their account each month by paying in your Child Benefit money? It’s easy to set-up a Direct Debit or make a one-off payment into their account and you’ll be helping your child get a better start to adult life.Top-up your Child Trust Fund