New parents can now claim Child Benefit online for the first time since it was launched 47 years ago, helping millions of families with the cost of raising their children, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced.
Since 1977, families claiming Child Benefit had to fill out a paper form, post it, and wait as long as 16 weeks for their first payment. Now, the quick and easy claims process on GOV.UK takes about 10 minutes and payments could be made in as little as 3 days.
Child Benefit is worth £24 a week – or £1,248 a year – for the oldest, or only child. The rate for each additional child is £15.90 a week – or almost £827 a year. Claims can be backdated for up to 12 weeks and families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible so they don’t miss out.
Commenting on the change, Nigel Huddleston, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Family time is precious, especially when you have a newborn baby, so it’s great news that HMRC is enabling parents to save time on claiming their child benefit online so they can focus on what truly matters.”
Parents or guardians can get Child Benefit if they are responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16, or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training. There is no limit on the number of children parents can claim for.
Claiming Child Benefit means that the parent will receive National Insurance credits which count towards their State Pension. It also means their child will automatically receive a National Insurance number when they turn 16 years old, which they will need for key milestones including getting their first job, taking a driving test and applying for university finance.
Tips for applying online
- parents can claim Child Benefit from the day after a child’s birth has been registered; make sure to have the birth certificate to hand when claiming.
- create a Government Gateway account when making a claim for Child Benefit, with a passport and other proofs of ID. This can also be done in advance of a child’s birth to save time later on. A full list of the documents needed for proof of identity can be found on GOV.UK.
- when creating a new account, HMRC will send you an activation code via email. Once received, you can then apply for Child Benefit online.
When ready to make the claim, applicants should have the following documents to hand:
- the child’s birth certificate
- your bank details
- your National Insurance number
- your partner’s National insurance number (if you have a partner)
Families with adopted children, or whose child’s birth was registered outside the UK, can claim for Child Benefit online but will need to send additional information through the post to support their application.
Parents with children over 3 months old who have yet to claim are urged to do so as soon as possible as they can receive up to 3 months’ backdated Child Benefit. Parents with children over 6 months’ old may be required to download and print their completed claim form and send it through the post.
Customers need to be aware of the risk of falling victim to scams and should never share their HMRC login details with anyone. HMRC scams advice is available on GOV.UK.