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Not all parents realise that they might actually be entitled to claim Child Benefit. Essentially, it’s money paid directly to you by the government to help with the costs of raising a child. It currently provides parents with up to £20.70 a week for your first child and then £13.70 for each additional child. It’s not means tested and providing you and your partner are not earning £50,000 or over, it will not be taxed. You can claim for any child that’s under the age of 16 or in full time education and aged between 16 and 20.
What costs can Child Benefit help with?
Raising children, as you probably already know, can be an expensive thing. Of course, it’s truly worth it, but any additional financial help can go along way.
Although it may not sound like much, Child Benefit can help to cover costs for anything from food shopping to the cost of school uniform. These are sometimes seen as hidden costs when it comes to having a child, they’re generally costs you can easily forget about.
How do you apply for Child Benefit?
It’s a fairly simple process that you should begin as soon as your child comes to live with you. It can sometimes take up to 12 weeks for your claim to be fully processed so the faster you move, the faster you’re likely to have the money coming into your account.
Your claim can be backdated up to 3 months if you haven’t had an opportunity to apply, but the faster you claim the better.
Who do I contact?
If you need to get in touch with them, you can contact the Child Benefit customer services team. They can give you updates on the progress of your application, and if needed, you can make complaints directly to them.
If you have any changes in circumstances then you’ll need to contact them as soon as you possibly can. This can include reasons such as your child starting full time employment (or works for more than 24 hours) or if your child starts to live away from your family home.
You may of course have other general enquiries, these include things like:
- A change of name for your child
- They’ve moved abroad
- They go missing
- Gets married
- Goes to prison for over 8 weeks
Their customer services team will be happy to guide you through any enquiries you have, and provide help and support for you. So if you’re not already claiming Child Benefit, what’s stopping you? It provides great support for you and your family, and takes some financial weight off your shoulders.