Child Benefit can be claimed by a person if they’re responsible for bringing up a child who is under the age of 16, or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training. That said, only one individual can get the payment for a child.
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There are two different Child Benefit rates, and how much the eligible claimant can get depends on who the allowance is for.
For instance, the currently weekly rate for an eldest or only child is £21.05.
Meanwhile, for any additional children, it is £13.95 per child, per week.
It’s important to be aware that the benefit cap may affect the total amount of benefits a person gets, and this includes Child Benefit.
The payment is usually paid every four weeks on a Monday or a Tuesday, however some may be able to get it weekly.
As well as the money itself, claiming Child Benefit has another potentially helpful aspect.
If a child is under 12 and the claimant is not working or doesn’t earn enough National Insurance contributions, Child Benefit can give them National Insurance credits.
“These credits count towards your State Pension, so you do not have gaps in your National Insurance record,” Gov.uk states.
As such, in some households in which there are two parents or guardians, one of whom does not work or doesn’t earn enough National Insurance contributions, it will make a difference as to which person claims Child Benefit.
It’s something which Kay Ingram, Director of Public Policy at LEBC Group, has highlighted.
“Every parent automatically qualifies for Child Benefit,” she explained, adding that it needs to be claimed rather than the payment being made automatically.
“It can only be backdated three months, so fill in form CH2 on the Government website as soon as possible.
“This will entitle you to credits for the state pension.”
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Speaking in March this year, Ms Ingram continued: “Each year’s credit buys £250 of annual state pension and can be claimed until your child is aged 12, which is worth up to £3,000 of annual state pension in total.
“It is vital the non-working parent applies, or the credits will be lost.”
If a Child Benefit recipient or their partner has an individual income of £50,000, then they will need to repay some – or all, depending on the annual income – of the Child Benefit due to the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge.
It’s something which may mean that households opt to waive the Child benefit payment altogether in order to avoid the need to fill out a Self-Assessment Tax Return.
However, as Ms Ingram warned, that’s not to say that households can’t still receive up to 12 years of National Insurance credits.
Instead, they can state on the CH2 form that they wish to waive the payment but still get the credits.
“If another adult in the household earns more than £50,000 Child Benefit will be taxable on a sliding scale, so that once income exceeds £60,000 it is taxed at 100 percent,” the chartered financial planner continued.
“If their income is only marginally over the threshold, the tax can be reduced by paying into a pension of their own.
“Alternatively, you may waive payment of Child Benefit.
“If you waive payment, still complete form CH2 to get the state pension credits.”
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