Millions of UK households rely on the £46 billion the Government spends a year to support working age people and their families.
Last year 12.66 million children from 7.28 million families received benefits in the UK.
How much is child benefit each month?
Parents can claim £82.80 a month in child benefit for their first child and £54.80 for each extra child.
On average, a typical family with two children can claim £137.60 a month.
The allowance is universal, which means anyone is eligible for it.
When two or more people share caring responsibilities for a child, it can still only be claimed by one person.
What age does child benefit stop?
Child benefit payments stop on 31 August, on or after your child's 16th birthday.
At this age teenagers get their own National Insurance number.
However, you are still entitled to the payment if you care for somebody aged under 20 in approved education or training.
Should I claim child benefit if I earn over £60,000?
You can, but you will have to pay back all of the money as income tax.
The High Income Child Benefit Charge kicks in at £50,000. You pay the excess back by filling in a self-assessment form.
HMRC calculates how much you owe them in over-payments which must either be paid in full or negotiated to be paid in instalments.
A repayment plan must be agreed in writing with HMRC or you risk the case being passed to a debt collecting agency.
Someone earning between that threshold and £60,000 pays some or all of the child benefit they claim.
The charge is one per cent of a family’s Child Benefit for every extra £100 of income over £50,000 each year. So over £60,00 that's 100 per cent.
For example, a parent earning £61,000 and claiming for two children would receive approximately £1,788 and be taxed the same amount.
There are non-financial reasons to claim, such as the automatic NI enrolment and state pension protection.
You could put the child benefit into a high-interest savings account to earn money before having to pay the tax back.
If you earn between £50,000 and £60,000 you still financially profit from claiming.
For example, a parent earning £51,000 and claiming for two children would get
£1,788.80 and have to pay back £178.
A worker on £58,000 with the same number of children would receive the same amount and be charged £1,431.
How do I avoid the child benefit tax charge?
Ask HMRC to stop receiving the money to avoid filling out a self-assessment tax form and paying it back.
Fill out an online form using your Government Gateway user ID and password https://www.access.service.gov.uk/login/signin/creds
Or contact the Child Benefit office by post:
HM Revenue and Customs – Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Phone 0300 200 3100.
If your circumstances change, like a drop in income, you can request the payment restarts.
Is child benefit different from child tax credit?
Yes. Child benefit is a universal payment made to anyone caring for a child.
Child Tax Credit is a form of financial support for those on a low income, but this has now been incorporated into Universal Credit for most people.
Like child benefit, only children under 16 are eligible unless they are under 20 and in approved training or education.
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