Warning as benefit could be stopped in days for thousands of parents unless they act NOW | The Sun

THOUSANDS of parents need to act now or face losing key benefit payments in days.

Most parents in the UK can claim child benefit which can top up their incomes by £1,000s every year.

Child benefit is currently worth £24 a week for the eldest child or only child, adding up to £1,248 a year.

For each subsequent child, parents get £15.90 a week – or £826.80 a year.

But the payments automatically stop on August 31 or after your child's 16th birthday if they leave education or training.

Households are usually sent a letter in their child's last year at school asking you to confirm their plans.


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With August 31 less than a week away, thousands of families could see their child benefit payments stop.

But you can continue getting the free cash if you tell the Child Benefit Office that your child is remaining in education or training.

Some families can also apply for a child benefit extension when their children's education or training comes to an end.

Education must be full-time (more than an average of 12 hours a week of supervised study or course-related work experience) and can include:

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  • A levels or similar, for example Pre-U, International Baccalaureate
  • T levels
  • Scottish Highers
  • NVQs and other vocational qualifications up to level 3
  • Home education – if it started before your child turned 16 or after 16 if they have special needs
  • Traineeships in England

Approved training should be unpaid and can include:

  • In Wales: Foundation Apprenticeships, Traineeships or the Jobs Growth Wales+ scheme
  • In Scotland: the No One Left Behind programme
  • In Northern Ireland: PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1, Training for Success or Skills for Life and Work

Some families can also apply for a child benefit extension when their children's education or training comes to an end.

You could get child benefit for 20 weeks if your child leaves approved education or training and either:

  • Registers with their local careers service, Connexions (or a similar organisation in Northern Ireland, the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein)
  • Signs up to join the armed forces

Households can apply for the extension at Gov.uk or by calling HMRC on 0300 200 3100 – we explain more below.

How do I renew child benefit?

You can either update your child benefit records via Gov.uk. or return the 297b form that should have been sent to you by HMRC.

Legal guardians or parents who are adopting a child can also apply for the support as soon as the child comes to live with them.

To use the online service, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password.

If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you use the service.

Once you have notified HMRC you won’t need to continue to update it – unless your child’s situation changes.

Instead you will receive the payment until the end date of their course, or they reach the age of 20.

If your child enters work then you will stop receiving the benefit.

What is child benefit and who is eligible?

Child benefit is paid to parents to help with the costs of childcare.

Payments are usually made to you from the government every four weeks.

By claiming child benefit you also get National Insurance credits that count towards your state pension.

There are two different rates for child benefit.

Currently, parents can claim £24 per week for their first or only child – £96 a month and £1,248 a year.

For any additional children they can claim an extra £15.90 a week per child – £63.60 a month and £826.80 a year.

You normally qualify for child benefit if you live in the UK and are responsible for a child under 16.

But you can also claim the support for a child under 20 if they are in approved education or training.

When two or more people share the responsibility of caring for a child, it can only be claimed by one person.

You'll be responsible for a child if you live with them or you are paying at least the same amount as child benefit towards looking after them.

This might mean you are paying the equivalent amount of child benefit on food, clothes or pocket money.

You should bear in mind, eligibility changes if a child goes into hospital or care and if your child starts to live with someone else.

Usually, you get child benefit for eight weeks after your child goes to live with a friend or relative – as long as they don't make a claim.

But it can continue for longer if you make contributions to your child's upkeep.

Foster parents can also claim child benefit, as long as the council is not paying anything towards their accommodation or maintenance.

Legal guardians or parents adopting a child can also apply for the benefit, but the child has to be living with them.

You will only be able to claim for a short period of time if you leave the UK, for example if you go on holiday or for medical treatment.

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For anyone not sure about eligibility, you can contact the Child Benefit Office.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.

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