Child benefit warning: These changes in circumstance must be reported – payments may stop

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Child benefit can be claimed for children from as soon as their birth is registered. Claims for a single or eldest child will bring in £21.05 per week. Claims for additional children will provide an additional £13.95 per child.

This could equate to payments that stretch into thousands of pounds over the course of a year but the state could reduce them if certain rules aren’t followed.

Parents of the children being claimed for must report certain changes in circumstances to the government.

If these changes aren’t reported, the government could reduce what they pay out or halt the payments entirely.

These changes can come from two main categories: changes in circumstance for the child or family changes.

Changes for this child can include the child going into paid work, moving abroad or pends a prolonged period in hospital.

For the family, the changes can include altering banking details, relationship changes or moving aboard too.

Changes of this nature can be reported by going online but claimants can also call or write to the child benefit office.

It should be noted that if a person does call the child benefit office, they will be greeted with speech recognition software.

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Because of this, the government advises callers to use short phrases and words such as:

  • “change my address”
  • “question about claiming Child Benefit”
  • “I can no longer claim Child Benefit”

For initial claimants, it needs to be remembered that it can take up to 12 weeks to process a new child benefit claim.

This time-frame could be even longer given the impact of coronavirus on public services but the claims themselves can be backdated for up to three months.

Only one person can get child benefit for a child, so parents will need to decide who among them should make the claim.

Initial claims must be made by filling in a “CH2” form which can be found on the government’s website.

Once a claim is registered with the government, additional children can be added to the existing claim.

This can be done if:

  • the child is under six months old and lives with the claimant
  • the child was born in the UK and their birth was registered in England, Scotland or Wales more than 24 hours ago
  • the claimant is a UK, EEA or Swiss national and they’ve lived in the UK since the start of the claim

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