Child Benefits and Support
Understand whether you qualify for government assistance for your toddler...
There are a number of methods of assistance provided to parents who live permanently in the United Kingdom, in the form of a child benefit and tax credits.
Anyone with a child under 16 who lives permanently in the UK can at present apply for Child Benefit. They can also apply if a child is between 16 and 19, and in full time education that qualifies for Child Benefit, or a child of 16 or 17 years old who has recently left education or training, but is registered for certain work or training.
New arrivals to the UK must fulfill one of the following conditions to be eligible:
- Physically present with their child in the UK
- Have their main home in the UK
- Have the right to reside in the UK
- Is responsible for the child living with them
For advice on child benefitc call the Child Benefit Helpline on 0845 302 1444, between 08:00 and 20:00, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
- For further information on who may claim Child Benefit: Click here
Child Benefit is paid monthly or weekly, into any bank, building society, or National Savings & Investments (NS&I) account that accepts Direct Payment.
There are two separate amounts, with a higher amount for the eldest (or only) child. It is usually paid every four weeks. However, parents getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, and single parents may receive weekly payments instead.
- For information on Child Benefit and how it is paid: Click here
To claim Child Benefit, fill in a claim form and send it to the local Child Benefit Office, along with a birth or adoption certificate. Claim forms are given to new mothers at the hospital after the birth. Alternatively, download the form online, print it out and send it to the local office once it is filled in.
While most families have to pay the majority of costs for childcare, there are some benefits available in the form of a tax credit. Tax credits are payments from the Government, and everyone responsible for at least one child or young person can perhaps qualify for Child Tax Credit. If a parent works, but is on a low income, they may qualify for Working Tax Credit.
- For information on the types of financial help available: Click here
Child tax credits
Nine out of ten families residing in the UK with children benefit from Child Tax credits. Foreigners who have the right to reside in the UK may also benefit.
- For information on who may qualify: Click here
The amount received depends on a number of factors, including the number of children, the person's income, whether the claimant works, if the person claiming or the child has a disability, and if the claimant is over 50.
A person must make a joint claim to the Tax Credit Office for tax credits if they are married, living together or part of a civil partnership. Credits are paid directly into a bank account weekly or monthly.
The payments are based on the income earned the previous year up until 5 April. Claims can be backdated for up to three months from the date the Tax Credit Office received the claim form.
The Tax Credit Office can be contacted by telephone or in writing:
- Tel: 0845 300 3900
- Tax Credit Office
- For further information on claiming tax credits: Click here
Working tax credits
Parents on a low income can claim up to 80 per cent of their childcare costs. The amount received depends on the person's income.
- For further information on tax credits and how to claim: Click here
Single parents who are out of work can get help through a Government programme called New Deal for Lone Parents. Further information is available through the local Jobcentre Plus office.
Employers may also provide help to pay for childcare through childcare vouchers, workplace nurseries and other options. However, they are not required by law to provide these.
- For information on the different types of help available: Click here (PDF)