Child Benefit

What is Child Benefit?

Child Benefit is a monthly payment made to anyone bringing up a child or a young person. For example, you may be the guardian or carer of your grandchildren. You do not need to be the parent of the child or young person to qualify, but you must be responsible for them.

It is not affected by income or savings, so most people who are bringing up a child or young person will qualify for it.  However, it is possible that you will be liable to pay extra tax if you or your partner’s income is over £50,000 a year.

Child Benefit is administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

Guardians can also claim Guardian’s Allowance

Am I eligible for Child Benefit?

Only one person can claim child benefit for a child or young person.

To claim you must be bringing up a child or young person who is either:

  • aged under 16
  • or aged under 20 and in full-time education or training (There are some exceptions to this)

For more information visit

If the child or young person lives with someone else you can get Child Benefit if:

  • you pay money to bring up the child;
  • you pay at least the same amount as the Child Benefit you receive for them; and
  • the person the child lives with is not getting Child Benefit for them.

For more information visit

You may not be eligible for Child Benefit if:

  • the child or young person is looked after or financially supported by the local authority
  • is detained in secure or non-secure accommodation
  • receives certain benefits in their own right

Contact the Child Benefit Office if you’re not sure if you’re eligible to claim.

How much child benefit may I receive?

There are two child benefit rates. One for a single child and another for additional children in your care. For full details, including the current rates, visit

Benefit cap

Your benefit(s) may be limited by the ‘benefit cap’. Read the welfare benefits article.

How do I apply for Child Benefit?

To make a claim visit

It can take up to 12 weeks to process a Child Benefit claim so put in your application as soon as your child is born or comes to live with you. Child Benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months.

Who should receive the payment?

The current rules stipulate that anyone who receives child benefit for a child under 12 is treated as if they had also paid National Insurance contributions for that week. Importantly this credit only goes to the person who claims that benefit.  If you are in a partnership or marriage, it may be sensible for the person who earns the lowest income or has periods when they do not work to receive the payment and boost their National Insurance contributions.

Where can I get benefits advice?

You can get benefits advice from a local independent service. They can help guide you through the application process and explain how some benefits may impact upon another:

Healthy Start Scheme

NHS Healthy Start Scheme is for people who are more than 10 weeks pregnant, or have children under the age of 4, who receive certain benefits. You get a free prepaid card that’s topped up every 4 weeks to buy: milk, fruit and vegetables. You can also collect free vitamins from locations listed here.

You can use the card in shops that accept Mastercard payments and sell at least one of these Healthy Start foods.

Find out if you are eligible and how to apply on the NHS Healthy Start Website.

Other useful information

  • Money Advice Service provides online information on the full range of benefits that you may be entitled to.  This also includes where to find more help and advice.
  • Payment Exception Service was introduced as cheques are no longer used to pay state benefits and Pension credit. Information Now has more details on the service available to those unable to use bank accounts.
  • Read the InformationNOW welfare benefits article

Last updated: December 20, 2023