Child benefit: how to claim support payment, form, contact number, how much 2021 rates are, and when it’s paid

Child benefits are usually paid every four weeks on either a Monday or a Tuesday but can also be claimed weekly by single parents

Child benefit rates have increased slightly over the past 12 months, with the change coming into effect from April 2021. (Pic: Getty)
Child benefit rates have increased slightly over the past 12 months, with the change coming into effect from April 2021. (Pic: Getty)

Child benefit payment rates changed from April 2021.

The financial support for families with children under the age of 16, or 20 if the child has stayed in approved education or training, has gone up marginally from 2020 rates.

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Yet national charity Turn2us estimates that more than half a million families across the UK are missing out on child benefit payments because they are unaware of the help on offer.

Here's how parents or guardians can claim government child benefit support, who is eligible to claim and how much it is in 2021, following a marginal increase in Rishi Sunak's budget.

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How can I claim child benefit?

The first point to mention is that child benefit support needs to be claimed - it is not paid automatically from the government.

In order to claim child benefit support, parents or guardians must go through the government's website where they can download a form and post it off to the child benefit office.

The person responsible for the child needs to fill out the form accurately and send it back to the government along with the child's original birth or adoption certificate.

Each application can be backdated up to three months and it can take between six and 12 weeks to process, or even longer if the applicant is new to the UK.

The good news is that once your claim has been processed it is easier to add a child to an existing claim by calling the child benefit helpline on 0300 200 3100.

How much is child benefit in the UK?

Child benefit rates have increased slightly over the past 12 months, with the change coming into effect from April 2021.

There are currently two levels of child benefit rates; one for the eldest or only child, and a separate rate for any additional children.

The weekly rate of child benefit support for the eldest or only child is £21.15p (up from £21.05p pre-April 2021) and £14 per week for any additional child (up from £13.95p).

There are some variations if families split up or come together.

For example, if there are two children and one stays with each parent or guardian then both adults will receive £21.15p for each child. Only one parent or guardian can claim for one child.

Can I get child benefit support if I earn over £50k?

In short, yes, though you might need to pay tax on the child benefit you receive.

If you or your partner's income is more than £50,000 a year then this is known as the 'high income child benefit tax charge'.

The tax takes into account the amount earned by the highest salary, for which the individual will need to fill out an annual self-assessment tax return.

For salaries between £50,000 and £60,000 a year, one percent of the family's child benefit claim will need to be paid back for every £100 of income earned.

For incomes over £60,000, the tax means all of the child benefit payment will need to be paid back, though it is still recommended to fill out the forms to receive National Insurance credits.

Can you get child benefit for three children?

Yes. There is no limit on the number of children you can claim for once.