Has my child benefit payment been reduced? Why HMRC payments have changed and dates explained

As the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country, child benefit claimants have been left confused by their most recent payments

Across the UK, many families receive much needed and important benefit payments, especially as the cost of living crisis continues to pose a threat.

With the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on the horizon, bank holidays have caused confusion amongst those claiming child benefit payments, with money entering into accounts with no warning from the HMRC.

This is everything you need to know.

Why have child benefit payments been changed?

Many of those in receipt of child benefit payments have been left confused after receiving their payment earlier than scheduled with no warning from the HMRC - this is all down to the upcoming bank holidays for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next week.

Child benefits are generally paid in either weekly or monthly batches and those due to be paid on Monday have found the money in their account on Friday.

The payment has been changed due to the upcoming bank holidays (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

An HMRC spokesperson explained: “In short, it’s just processes and working them around the bank holidays, and nothing for customers to worry about.

“We usually process payments for customers on Thursday and Fridays for the following Monday and Tuesday. Of course this isn’t possible because of the bank holidays falling on these two dates next week.

“Instead, we processed payments due Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 May earlier this week, so that we can process payments due on Monday 6 June early next week (as opposed to the usual Thursday/Friday).

“This will ensure customers receive payments due on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 June on time.”

Have the payments been reduced?

Amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, every piece of income, no matter how small, is proving vital to many, so any reduction in payments such as child benefits could spell disaster for families.

The HMRC reassured claimants that the temporary change in payments would not be leaving anyone out of pocket.

British Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves number 11, Downing Street on May 26, 2022 in London, England (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

They said: “In terms of the split payments, there were some things that we needed to iron out to ensure customers receive their payments on time because of the double bank holiday, which is why they have been processed in this way.

“This however does not leave customers out of pocket as they will still receive the full amount on or before it is usually due.”

Who is eligible for child benefit payments?

You can claim child benefits if you’re responsible for raising a child who is either under 16 or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.

Only one person can get child benefits for a child.

Child benefits are paid every four weeks, and there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

By claiming child benefit:

  • You can get National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension
  • Your children will automatically get a National Insurance number when they’re 16 years old
The Government department of “HM Revenue and Customs” in Westminster (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

There are two child benefit rates:

  • For the eldest or an only child, the rate is £21.80 (weekly)
  • For any additional children, the rate is £14.45 per child (weekly)

To make a claim for the first time, you’ll need to fill in a child benefit claim form CH2, which you can find on the Government website, and send it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is on the form.

How do I find my child benefit number?

Your child benefit number starts with CHB and is made up of eight numbers and two letters. It used to be found on your child benefit award notice and on paperwork from the child benefit office - however, child benefit award notices have replaced child benefit numbers as the main way to prove your eligibility.

You will not have a child benefit number if you first claimed after 23 February 2021.

You should check with whoever is asking what proof they need and how up to date it has to be.

Alternatively, you may be able to use the following if you need more than your child benefit award notice:

  • Your latest Tax Credits award notice
  • A bank statement show child benefit going into your account 

There may be circumstances where the person or organisation requesting evidence of your child benefit will not accept an award notice or bank statement - if you need other written proof, you should contact the child benefit office.

You can do this online by filling out a form, over the phone by calling 0300 200 3100, or via post by writing to HM Revenue and Customs - Child Benefit Office, PO Box 1, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE88 1AA, United Kingdom.