If you have children and are need assistance with money, there are many financial services available to help you with costs. The Child Benefit Programme is the largest of these services.
Claiming Child Benefit (CB) from the UK government is quite simple. In order to ensure you are eligible to collect CB, you must have a child under 16 or 20 as long as they are enrolled in one of the approved education and training fields.
In order to be eligible to collect CB you must meet a set of guidelines. The child must be under 16 or 20 if they are enrolled in a full time (12 hours weekly) educational programme such as practical schools, university, International Baccalaureate, or Scottish Highers. Additionally they can take on full time UNPAID training in apprenticeships in England or Wales, Training for Success, Pathways to Success or Collaboration and Innovation Programme in Northern Ireland
If you are in the process of adopting a child, you can apply for CB before the process has been completed. Once the child has begun living with you or if you are fostering children, you become eligible to apply for CB.
Another case which may make you eligible to claim CB from the government is if you are taking care of the child or children of friends or relatives for extended periods. You will not qualify if the council is paying for any of the expenses however. If you are taking care of a child whose parent or parents have passed away, you will be able to apply for a Guardian’s Allowance rather than CB.
Assistance Provided by the Child Benefit Programme
Once your application for CB has been approved, you will be eligible to receive £20.50 each week for your first child and an additional £13.55 for every other child you have. If you are eligible for Guardian’s Allowance, you will receive an additional £16.35 tax free in addition to the £20.50 or £13.55 you would normally receive.
The CB program is paid to your bank account which you provide to the CBO once every four weeks, however if you are a single parent or are collecting additional benefits like ESA or JSA, you can receive it on a weekly basis.
If you or your partner is considered a high income earner, with an income of over £50,000, you are still eligible for CB; however, you will also need to pay the “High Income Child Benefit Charge” which varies based on your level of income.
Applying and Claiming Child Benefit
If you want to claim CB for one or more children then you will need to download and fill out the CH2 Child Benefit claim form and submit it to the CBO (Child Benefit Office) along with the original copy of your child’s adoption or birth certificate.
It is important to realise that a CB claim can take up to about 3 months, and in some cases, even longer. Remember to claim CB as soon as you have your foster or adopted children living with you or whenever your child is born.
If you are claiming CB for a child for the first time or are reapplying for the same child, you will not need to submit the adoption or birth certificates.