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Child Benefit

23 October 2012

Posted by Lisa Wood


Once your baby has arrived, you can send off your claim for Child Benefit. However new rules come into force from January 2013 which mean that the previously universal benefit is now subject to an upper income threshold and not all families will be entitled.


If you meet the income criteria then you should be able to claim Child Benefit for your child or children if they are either:

  • > under 16 years old,
  • > between 16-20 and in eligible further education or
  • > under 18 and registered for work with a careers service e.g. Connexions or Ministry of Defence 

Only one person responsible for a child can claim Child Benefit for that child, including those who are fostering or adopting.  However, the same parent/carer doesn’t have to claim for all children even if they live in the same home.  If you have more than one child eligible and they live in separate homes then they can be claimed for by the same person but certain rules apply.

How much and how often?

Child Benefit is a tax-free benefit paid every four weeks.  For three years from April 2011 the rate has been capped at £20.30 per week for your first child and £13.40 per week for each of your other children.

How to claim

You can get a form for Child Benefit from the 'Bounty' pack that you receive in hospital after the birth.  Or you can fill in a form online and print it out from here.  You'll need the original birth certificate for your baby which has to be sent along with your claim form.  Find out more about how to get a birth certificate whilst registering your baby.

Child Benefit cannot be backdated more than three months so you need to make sure you get your claim in as soon as possible after your baby's birth. 

New rules from 2013

The new rules for eligibility to Child Benefit, announced in the budget earlier in 2012 are due to come into effect from 7th January 2013. 

Subject to the usual rules of eligibility, the benefit will still be paid out in the first instance but for families where one person earns over £50,000 the benefit will be reclaimed through a new income tax charge on that person.  In effect, one parent could claim and still receive the benefit but it will be paid back via this tax charge from the higher earner’s income.

Rather than an instant removal of all of the benefit at the £50k threshold, there will be a slow tapering so for every £100 above earned above £50k Child Benefit will be paid back at 1%.  This means that regardless of how many children you are claiming for, by the time the income reaches £60,000 there will be no Child Benefit left.

This withdrawal process hasn't satisfied all nor resolved the earlier issue of inequality, if both parents earn just below the £50k threshold e.g. £49k per year each, which would give them a combined household income of £98,000, Child Benefit will still be paid out. 

Also, single parent households with just one income but earning just over the £50k limit will also lose the benefit.

The rules around divorced and separated households are also now known, if you separate from your partner part-way through the tax year and your partner's income is over the threshold the new rules of withdrawal will apply up to the date that you split up.  After that date your new circumstances will be taken into account and benefit (or a portion of it depending on your own income) may be reinstated. 

The HMRC website has more info here.


  1. 03 April 2013


    Personally I believe if i was to earn 50k I would not even think of applying for child benefit. I earn 21k and struggle but if i earned 50 i would be laughing.. not claiming

  2. 07 March 2013

    Mr Angry

    I cant believe that with all the infomation the HMRC collects on income, that just because I work my butt off all year for 55000 (basic salary of 37000 rest is hard earned over time) That my child benifit is getting cut. However my next door neighbours can earn 49000 each and keep the full benifit. This is just bang out of order. Why cant the HMRC just means test the house hold income and treat every one fairly. Child benifit is the only credit i get and ive never claimed anything else. Yet ot

  3. 02 March 2013


    A single person gets just one personal allowance and find the benefit stopped, yet two people can earn almost double and benefit from two personal allowances plus this benefit. Is it just me left scratching my head...?

  4. 17 February 2013


    Where's my benefit for not having kids?

  5. 12 January 2013

    James Humphreys

    It should be lowered.

  6. 06 January 2013


    i dont think anyone has a right to complain if they are earning 50k a year Benefits are for the NEEDY not the GREEDY

  7. 05 January 2013


    good luck on 50 grand we just get 26000 for 2 working

  8. 03 January 2013

    Elizabeth H.

    I would probably be rather miffed if I was having/had children now,but in 1964 when I had my first baby there was no Child Benefit (Family Allowance) paid for a first child.I has to wait until 1966 when, having given birth to my second baby,I was entitled to claim for that baby but still not the first one.The following year,1967,I thought myself well off when I gave birth to my third child and I claimed for two children.I cannot remember exactly how much Family Allowance I received,but it would

  9. 27 December 2012

    Sue S

    This is disgusting. So my husband earns just over 50k and I earn under 10k (paying towards childcare fees) and yet I get penalised and lose out. So if a family earns 98k they still receive it. This government is a total shambles and utter disgrace.

  10. 22 March 2012


    Yet another way working parents of the UK are being stuffed by the government. Disgusting.

  11. 17 March 2012

    Jamie J

    Crazy, I totally agree with having it capped but it should be based on total household income not one salary.

  12. 15 March 2012


    i can see a lot of issues here but being a single parent just earning over the threshold your still entitled to single parents working family tax credit which will be a higher amount than a couple could claim , so surely this evens it out ?

  13. 06 March 2012

    Luke U

    is that true that child benefit can not be paid for the fifth child? I have heard that from a friend... Can anyone answer this question please

  14. 10 January 2012

    Julie B

    I am appalled by this ruling. As a working mother and family breadwinner earining just on the the higher tax threshold, our family relies on this. I believe it should be reinstated as before with no changes. It is an absolute lifeline for non working primary carers whose partner controls the purse strings.

  15. 29 December 2011

    Elizabeth Holden

    This is the most ridiculous proposal that I have ever heard of. I have a daughter who is just about over the propsed limit category with three children strugging to bring them up on her own as her husband left her seven years ago leaving her heart broken through no fault of her own. It appears she will lose child benefit under these proposals. Our son is married and there are two good wages coming into their household, but not quite reaching the proposed limit each. They will keep child benefit