Child Benefit

How it works

You get Child Benefit if you are responsible for bringing up a child who is:

  • under 16
  • under 20 if they stay in approved education or training

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child. There is no limit to how many children you can claim for. For more information, please see the HMRC child benefit information website (external link)

How to claim

You can claim Child Benefit (external link) as soon as you have registered the birth of your child, or they come to live with you.
It can take up to 16 weeks to process a new Child Benefit claim (or longer if you’re new to the UK). Child Benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months.
Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child, so you need to decide whether it is better for you or the other parent to claim.

Child Benefit tax calculator

Use the Child Benefit tax Calculator (external link) to get an estimate of:

  • how much money you get from Child Benefit in a tax year
  • the High Income Child Benefit tax charge you or your partner may have to pay

Make a change to your claim

You must report any change of circumstances (external link) to the Child Benefit Office. These include changes to your:

  • family life, for example getting married
  • child’s life, for example leaving education or training

Child Benefit when your child turns 16

Your Child Benefit stops on 31 August on or after your child’s 16th birthday if they leave education or training. It continues if they stay in approved education or training, but you must tell the Child Benefit Office.
You will be sent a letter in your child’s last year at school asking you to confirm their plans. For more information please see the HMRC information on child benefit after aged 16 (external link).

High Income Child Benefit Charge

You may have to pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge (external link) if you or your partner have an individual income that’s over £50,000 and either:

  • you or your partner get Child Benefit
  • someone else gets Child Benefit for a child living with you and they contribute at least an equal amount towards the child’s upkeep

It does not matter if the child living with you is not your own child.

Child Benefit Complaints

Contact the Child Benefit Office (external link) if you want to complain about the service you’ve received, mistakes they’ve made or unreasonable delays. You can:

  • complain online using your Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you complain
  • call or write to the Child Benefit Office - telephone complaints are usually dealt with faster

Child Benefit if you move to the UK

Everyone needs to meet the eligibility rules (external link) to claim Child Benefit. If you’re moving to the UK from abroad you also need to prove that you: 

  • have the right to reside in the UK 
  • live in the UK as your main home - except for short periods, like holidays 

In most cases, your child must live with you. See the HMRC child benefit moving to the UK (external link) for more information. 

Contact Information

Telephone: 0300 200 3100
Outside UK: +44 161 210 3086
Monday to Friday: 8:00am to 6:00pm