Child Benefit is usually paid every four weeks and the rates have just gone up. There are two rates in place but there is no limits on how many children can be claimed for.
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For the eldest or only child an allowance of £21.05 per week will be provided.
Claims for additional children will be given a rate of £13.95.
Child Benefit should remain consistent throughout the child’s life up until they reach 16 and it is a benefit that the state actively encourage.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to apply for Child Benefit even if they do not require the income.
This is because claiming Child Benefit will protect a person’s state pension and a NI number will be automatically issued for the child.
Child Benefit will likely be important for many families in the coming weeks as coronavirus continues to impact income and employment.
While Child Benefit should provide steady income it can be affected if the child being claimed for needs to spend a prolonged period in hospital.
This, due to how contagious coronavirus is, is an unfortunate worst case scenario that some families may face.
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The government state that the payments may be affected if the child goes into:
- Care for more than eight weeks
- Hospital or “residential care” for more than 12 weeks
If this occurs, the claimant is required to inform the Child Benefit Office immediately either online, by phone or by post.
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If the child is in care or hospital for longer than these limits, the claimants will usually no longer be entitled to Child Benefit.
This could be a worrying reality for families considering the current circumstances but there are some exceptions to the rule.
Child Benefit may still be paid after these time frames if:
- The child spends at least 24 hours a week at home
- Money is regularly spent on the child while they are in a UK hospital or residential care
- Money is spent on children in hospital abroad and the claimants are in the UK
While these rules could deeply worry families it should be noted that the government has taken several steps to boost the benefit system. Rishi Sunak has made several changes to benefit payments in recent weeks and has stated that he will do “whatever it takes” to keep the economy moving.
Thus far, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has altered how benefit claims are assessed, provided support packages for workers worth billions and has created several “holidays” which protect peoples living situations.
Because of these drastic changes, it may be the case that a certain amount of leniency could be given to claimants. There could also be further supportive packages announced for Child Benefit in the coming weeks.
If any claimant is worried about where they stand they have several options for support. Independent organisations such as the Money Advice Service or Citizens Advice can offer impartial advice on Child Benefit or other types of state support.
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