When should I claim child benefit

Child Benefit is for all UK parents that qualify and is not based on you or your partners income or savings. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can only backdate your Child Benefit for up to three months from the date they get your claim, so apply for Child Benefit as soon as possible after having your baby.

When should I claim child benefitWarning

Please be aware that there are a number of companies online that charge you to apply for your child benefit. You should never pay to apply for a benefit if you are a UK citizen.  Directgov is the UK government’s digital service and provides you with all the information you need on how to apply for child benefit, as well as, the downloadable application form.

Here is the low down on Child Benefit for UK parents.

What you need to know about Child Benefit

Child Benefit is a tax-free payment that you can claim for your child. It is usually paid every four weeks but in some cases can be paid weekly, and there are separate rates for each child. The payment can be claimed by anyone who qualifies, whatever their income or savings. There are two separate amounts, with a higher amount for your eldest (or only) child. You get:

  • £20.30 a week for your eldest child
  • £13.40 a week for each of your other children

When you need to claim child benefit?

Make your claim straight away to avoid losing money because HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can only backdate your Child Benefit for up to three months from the date they get your claim. You should claim Child Benefit as soon as:

  • your child is born
  • a child you’re responsible for comes to live with you
  • you adopt a child who’s living with you
  • you start paying towards the cost of looking after your child unless they live with someone else who’s already getting Child Benefit

How you claim child benefit?

To apply for child benefit you must fill in a Child Benefit claim form and send it to the Child Benefit Office along with your child’s birth or adoption certificate. You can’t claim over the phone or the internet.  Directgov is the official government site providing UK citizen’s with information on Child Benefit and the Child Benefit Office address you must send your application form to.

  • You can download a child benefit application form from the government’s HMRC site
  • You can call the Child Benefit Helpline on 0845 302 1444 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0845 302 1444 end_of_the_skype_highlighting and ask them to send you out a form
  • You will find it in the ‘Bounty’ pack that is given to new mothers in hospital

Paperwork you’ll need to apply for child benefit

You’ll need one of the following certificates for your child when you claim:

  • a birth certificate
  • a birth certificate you get after adoption
  • an adoption certificate

This must be the original and not a copy. If you haven’t got the certificate, send HMRC your claim form anyway. You will be asked to send the certificate later. You don’t need to send HMRC certificates for any of your children that you (or someone else) have had Child Benefit for in the past.

What to do next

Once you’ve completed your claim form, send it along with the certificate, to the Child Benefit Office address below:

Child Benefit Office (Washington), Freepost, NEA 10463, PO Box 133, Washington, NE38 7BR

(Reviewed 19/05/11)

Directgov Child Benefit Information, www.direct.gov.uk (Accessed and Updated 19/05/11)
BBC Radio 4, You and Yours, Charging for free government services, www.bbc.co.uk (18/02/10)



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