How to claim Child Benefit
You can claim Child Benefit at any time, but it's best to do it as soon as your child is born or comes to live with you.
If you've just had a baby you need to register the birth before you claim.
Your Child Benefit will be backdated to when the child was born - up to a maximum of 3 months - so you won't miss out on payments.
Coronavirus - if you haven’t been able to register your child’s birth
Add a note to your claim form explaining you haven’t been able to register the birth because of coronavirus.
Get your personal information ready
You'll need the following personal details and documents:
- your and your partner's National Insurance (NI) number - if you don't have one you can apply for an NI number on GOV.UK
- your average annual income before tax
- your bank, building society or Post Office account details
- your child's birth certificate or adoption certificate - if you've lost their certificate, you can order a copy for £9.25 on GOV.UK
- your other children's Child Benefit numbers if you're claiming for an additional child - these will be on your benefit letters from HMRC
- your child's passport - if your child was born outside the UK
Claiming Child Benefit
You'll need to download the claim form, fill it in and post it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with your documents.
You can make a claim for someone else in some circumstances - for example if they're severely disabled.
When you send your claim form, certificates or passport, ask the post office for proof of postage - you might need to prove when you sent them.
HMRC - Child Benefit Office
Newcastle upon Tyne
HMRC might contact you if they need more information about your claim. For example, if you don't live with the child they might ask you for evidence that you pay to support them.
It could be 3 months until you get your first payment.
If you were eligible for Child Benefit before HMRC got your claim form, your claim will be automatically backdated - up to a maximum of 3 months. This means you'll get an extra 1, 2 or 3 months' of Child Benefit included in your first payment.
Child Benefit will be paid into your bank account every 4 weeks.
You can ask to be paid weekly on the claim form if you're a single parent or if you or your partner get either:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
If you don't have a bank account
To get paid, you'll need to open a bank, building society or post office account.
If you've tried to open an account but your application was refused, you should get help from your nearest Citizens Advice.
What happens next
You can keep getting Child Benefit until the 31 August after your child becomes 16 - or until they're 20 if they stay in education or training.
When your child turns 16, HMRC will send you a letter asking whether your child will stay in education or training. You must reply to this letter to keep getting Child Benefit.
If your family circumstances change, you should report it to HMRC - for example, if your child moves out or you separate from your partner.
If you or your partner earn over £50,000 a year you might have to pay more tax. This would only start from the April after you claim. You can find out more about the tax charge and how you pay it on GOV.UK.
If your claim is refused and you disagree with HMRC's decision, you can ask them to think again - this is called 'mandatory reconsideration'.
Extra help with the costs of looking after children
You might also be able to get:
- help with school meals, transport and uniform costs
- vouchers to buy basic foods through the Healthy Start Scheme - if you’re pregnant or have a child under 4
- a one-off payment to help with the costs of a child, known as the Sure Start Maternity Grant - if you’re pregnant or have had a baby in the last 6 months or adopted a child who is 12 months old or less on the day you claim
- tax-free childcare
You can also check what you can get using the childcare calculator on GOV.UK.
If you’re struggling with day-to-day living costs, find out what help you can get from your local council or the government.