Children are now going back at school and that means household spending will be rising because of the costs of uniforms, packed lunches, transport and equipment.
And families have had many new arrivals during lockdown too.
The Children’s Commissioner for England said: “In England 1,688 babies are born every day.
“This means that 76,000 babies will already have been born during lockdown, and we have no idea when things will return to anything like normal.
“For most people having a new baby will be a source of untold joy. For some families, however, the new pressure that the arrival of a baby can bring – on relationships, finances, and mental health – can push them into crisis.”
One of the best money saving tips to get some extra support is to claim Child Benefit. So how do you go about doing this?
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging parents to claim Child Benefit so they do not miss out on this additional help.
Angela MacDonald, Director General for Customer Services at HMRC, said: “It’s really important that parents remember to claim Child Benefit, not just for the payments which we hope will provide vital support at this time, but also so they don’t miss out on National Insurance credits that help protect their State Pension.
“In addition, it helps children to get their National Insurance number automatically at 16.
“We are doing all we can to make this as simple and stress-free as possible for parents.”
Are you eligible for Child Benefit?
In order to qualify for Child Benefit, you must be responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16, or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.
Approved education means it’s full-time – more than an average of 12 hours a week supervised study or course-related work experience. It includes A Levels and NVQs but does not include a degree or BTEC. Approved training must be unpaid and includes Foundation Apprenticeships.
Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.
It’s paid every four weeks and there is no limit to how many children you can claim for.
By claiming Child Benefit, you can get National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension, and your child will automatically get a National Insurance number when they are 16 years old.
If you choose not to get Child Benefit payments, you should still fill in and send off the claim form.
How to claim Child Benefit
You may not be able to register a birth (or a marriage or civil partnership) at the moment because of coronavirus.
Many of the General Register Offices are operating at reduced capacity and, with Government guidance on social distancing, new parents have been advised not to visit them.
But they can still claim Child Benefit without having to register their child’s birth first during the pandemic.
It’s vital to know that claims can only be backdated by up to three months, so new parents should put in a claim as soon as they can to receive the maximum support available.
It can take up to 12 weeks to process a new Child Benefit claim – or longer if you are new to the UK.
You need to decide which parent will put in the claim. The person who claims will get National Insurance credits towards their state pension if they are not working or earn less than £166 per week.
First-time parents need to fill in the Child Benefit claim form CH2 (for up to two children) or the CH2(CS) form (for more than 2 children). You can find those Child Benefit claim forms here
Fill the form in online or print it out and send to the Child Benefit Office.
If you already receive Child Benefit and want to add a new child, call the Child Benefit Helpline.
The helpline number is 0300 200 3100 and is available from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Hours were reduced as there are fewer advisers available to answer calls because of measures put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus. Calls to this number are not free.
How much do you get?
Child Benefit is paid every four weeks, usually on a Monday or Tuesday. It can be paid into any account apart from a Nationwide cashbuilder account (sort code 070030) in someone else’s name.
There are two Child Benefit rates. For an eldest or only child, you get £21.05 a week, so the four-weekly payment would be £84.20. For all addiitonal children, you get £13.95 per child per week, meaning an extra £55.80 per child in the four-weekly payment.
Note that the Benefit Cap – a limit on the amount of state help you can receive – may affect how much you can get.
Child Benefit continues for 20 weeks if 16 or 17 year olds leave education or training and register with the armed services or a Government-sponsored careers service.
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The Government says Child Benefit stops immediately if your child starts paid work for 24 hours or more a week and is no longer in approved education or training; starts an apprenticeship in England; or starts receiving some benefits themselves such as Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or tax credits.
If either parent has an income of more than £50,000, there is a tax called High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge on the Child Benefit.
Find out how much Child Benefit you’ll receive and how much tax you may have to pay using the Child Benefit tax calculator
This tax is one per cent of Child Benefit for each £100 of income over £50,000. This means the benefit stops altogether if income is £60,000.