I’ll be honest – up until a month ago I knew absolutely nothing about Child Benefit. I thought I did, but the information I had was incorrect. That is why it has taken me until Piglet was 14 months old to put in a claim.
We will get up to 3 months back dated, but we have still missed out on 11 months of money that would have helped us as a family. No, it is not the greatest amount of money in the world, but it is better that nothing. And, as I’ve recently discovered, it’s not just all about getting some money!
Child benefit is primarily a support for families with children. It is NOT child tax credit, and provided you have a child that predominately lives with you then you are eligible to apply. This is where I tripped up and naively thought they were the same thing.
I do think this is information that should be given to new parents. As they are adapting to the financial change that a baby creates, this sort of assistance can make all of the difference. The information is all available online, but unless you know to go and look for it then no one will.
I’ve now done my research, put in my claim, and gathered the top 5 things I think everyone should be told about Child Benefit once they have a baby:
1. You get the full allowance is no one in the household earns over £50k in one year
Your combined salary doesn’t come into it. Across the UK the majority of households won’t have a person earing over 50K in them, and so the majority of households will be eligible for the full child benefit amount.
2. Earning between £50K – £60K? Be prepared to pay some back
If you are lucky enough to a single salary of between £50K – £60K, then be prepared to pay some back at the end of the tax year. If you fall into this bracket then one suggestion would be to store the child benefit in a separate savings account so that you have the funds available at the end of the year to repay the part that you need. The exact repayment amount is dependant on the total income amount.
3. If you earn over £60K you will have to repay the full amount
Obviously it seems a bit silly to claim if you know you’ll have to find the funds to return it to HMRC every year. You can change your mind at any time and start claiming too. However, you should still fill in the form and simply tick the box to say you don’t want to claim because……
4. You get National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension
I can’t believe I didn’t know this! Even if you don’t intend to claim any money – make sure you fill in the form regardless. The amount of state pension you receive is dictated by your national insurance credits, and so you really don’t want to let them slide by! As a stay at home mum, I need to get all the national insurance credits I can!
5. Only one person can claim Child Benefit
If you are separated from your child’s mother/father then only one of you can claim the Child Benefit. It is best to work it out amongst yourselves as to who should receive it before submitting the claim.
Better late than never – if you haven’t applied for Child Benefit then you can do so here. You can get up to 3 months back dated too.
For more information take a look at the HMRC website.
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