How to Claim Child Benefit

How to Claim Child Benefit

Read this helpful guide if you have any confusion over claiming Child Benefit. You can call the Child Benefit Office on 0844 248 2560 if you need more support with your Child Benefit claim.

What is Child Benefit?

This benefit is financial support for people who care for one or more children under 16 years old. You should claim Child Benefit as soon as possible when a child is born or begins to live with you. For an only child or the oldest child, the Child Benefit rate is £20.70 per week. After this, the rate for additional children is £13.70 a week per child. If you or your partner has an annual income of over £50,000, you will have to pay a tax charge. You can opt out of getting Child Benefit to avoid this. Even if you decide not to receive payments, you should still submit the claim form. This helps you to get National Insurance credits, which go towards your State Pension. It ensures that your child gets a National Insurance number when they turn 16, so they don’t have to apply for one.

How to Claim Child Benefit for a Newborn

You must register the birth of your child at the hospital before you leave. If this is not possible at the hospital, you can go to your local register office. You cannot claim Child Benefit until the child has a birth certificate or an adoption certificate. To make a claim, print and fill in the form and then send it in the post with the certificate. The address for Child Benefit claims is Child Benefit Office, Washington, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE88 1ZD. Send the claim form even if you don’t have the certificate yet, as you can send it later. If you make a claim for a child you previously received Child Benefit for, you don’t need to provide the certificate again. If you accept responsibility for or adopt an older child, you will still need either their original birth or adoption certificate or a copy.

How many children can you claim Child Benefit for?

There is no limit on the number of children you can claim Child Benefit for. However, only one person can claim Child Benefit for each child. If two people care for the same child, they must decide which one of them makes the claim. HMRC will make the decision for them if they cannot agree. To claim Child Benefit for a child, you must be responsible for them and nobody else can be claiming for them. You might be able to claim if you look after a friend’s or relative’s child. You are responsible if the child either lives with you or you contribute financially towards their care. Contributions such as money, clothes, presents, and food should at least equal the amount of Child Benefit. If your child has a baby of their own, you can claim Child Benefit for both of them.

Child Benefit Claim: How long does it take?

It is advisable to submit your claim for Child Benefit as quickly as possible because it can take a while to process. Child Benefit claims can take up to 12 weeks, or even longer if you are new to the UK. However, you can backdate the claim for up to 3 months. You will then receive Child Benefit to cover this period, as long as you were eligible. The Child Benefit Office will inform you if and when you will start receiving Child Benefit payments. It is usually paid every 4 weeks, either on a Monday or on a Tuesday. The money will only go to one account, but it can be paid into any type of account. The only exclusion in a Nationwide cashbuilder account in a different person’s name. You could get Child Benefit weekly if you are a single parent or receive certain benefits.

When do I stop getting Child Benefit?

You will no longer receive Child Benefit after the 31st August following your child’s 16th birthday. You can continue to get Child Benefit until they are 20 if the child stays in education or training. HMRC will send a letter asking about your child’s circumstances when they turn 16. If you intend to keep receiving Child Benefit, you must inform HMRC about your child’s education status. If your child goes into care for more than 8 weeks, or hospital or residential care for more than 12 weeks, then your Child Benefit payments will stop. There are exceptions if you still spend money on them. Child Benefit payments will also stop if the child leaves school and works for over 24 hours a week, if they begin an apprenticeship in England, or they receive benefits themselves.

Which changes in circumstances will affect Child Benefit?

It is important to notify the Child Benefit Office of any changes in circumstances involving the child you are claiming for. When families split up, each parent will then receive £20.70 a week for the oldest child who lives with them. They cannot claim for both children. When two families join into one, the oldest out of all the children will then qualify for the £20.70 rate. All other children in the new family will get the £13.70 rate. If your child no longer lives with you or you separate from a partner whose income no longer supports the child, you should inform the Child Benefit Office. Report any changes to your bank account, address, or relationship status. Report it if your child lives away for over 8 weeks or goes abroad for more than 12 weeks, or they die or get married.

What Is My Maternity Leave Entitlement?

When you are pregnant and you are about to have your baby you should be eligible for statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay, paid time off for antenatal care as well as possibly some extra help from the government. You can discuss any of these things with the maternity allowance head office on 0843 178 4192.

How Much Maternity Leave Are Mothers Entitled To?

Statutory maternity leave is 52 weeks which consists of the first 26 weeks (ordinary maternity leave) and the last 26 weeks (additional maternity leave) although you do not have to take the full 52 weeks but after the birth of your baby you must take at least 2 weeks off or 4 weeks if you work in a factory.

The earliest start date of your maternity leave is 11 weeks before the due date of your baby. Your maternity leave will automatically start the day after the birth of your baby or if you’re off work due to a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before your babies due date (Sunday to Saturday).

To be entitled to statutory maternity leave you but be an employee (not a worker) and you must give your employer appropriate notice.

Am I Entitled To Tax Credits On Maternity Leave?

When on maternity leave you may be eligible for child tax credits as well as some other benefits to help you provide for your new baby. You can check which benefits you could be eligible for you can contact the maternity allowance head office on 0843 178 4192. If you receive working tax credits you will continue to receive working tax credits for 39 weeks after you start your maternity leave.

Bank Holiday Entitlement On Maternity Leave

If your work contract allows for paid public holidays (such as Christmas and bank holidays) these should continue during your paternity leave as a part of your holiday entitlement.

Rules for Claiming Carer’s Allowance

rules for claiming carer's allowance

This guide will help you to understand the rules for claiming Carer’s Allowance. If you still have questions after reading, then please contact the Carer’s Allowance helpline on 0843 178 4186.

What is Carer’s Allowance?

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who care for someone with a disability in the person’s own home. The standard rate is £62.70 per week, regardless of if you care for more than one person. The person you care for does not have to be a relative, and you don’t have to live with them. You must care for at least one person for at least 35 hours every week. The person you care for must be receiving one of the following benefits, at these rates:

  • the daily living component of PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
  • the middle or highest care rate of DLA (Disability Living Allowance)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • the normal maximum rate or above of Constant Attendance Allowance with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • the basic full day rate of Constant Attendance Allowance with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance?

If you are a carer and meet the criteria above, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. However, your eligibility also depends on further factors. First of all, you must be 16 years old or over and living in England, Scotland, or Wales. You must have been in one of these countries for at least 2 out of the last 3 years. The only exceptions are refugees, or members of the armed forces living abroad. You cannot be in full-time education, and if you are studying it must be for less than 21 hours a week. Your earnings and any other benefits you receive will also affect your eligibility. If somebody else cares for the same person as well, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance.

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance if I work?

You can claim Carer’s Allowance whether or not you are in paid work. However, you cannot earn more than £116 per week. This total is after deductions for income tax, National Insurance, and half of any pension contributions. If your earnings in one week go over £116, you will not receive your payment for that week. Carer’s Allowance is taxable, which means it counts as income if you are applying for Tax Credits. If you already get Child Tax Credits or Working Tax Credits, you must report your Carer’s Allowance claim. You can do this by calling 0843 178 3408. Your savings don’t affect your claim, and you don’t have to be paying National Insurance contributions to be eligible.

What other benefits can I claim with Carer’s Allowance?

For every week that you get Carer’s Allowance, you will automatically receive National Insurance credits. These will count towards your State Pension. If Carer’s Allowance is the only benefit you are claiming, there are a few others you can also apply for. These include Council Tax reductions, Income Support for low incomes, and Pension Credit if you are above working age. If you cannot work yourself due to a medical condition or disability, you might be able to claim income-based Employment and Support Allowance. You can still receive Personal Independence Payments or Attendance Allowance. Besides these, there are rules limiting the other benefits you can claim.

Certain benefits cannot overlap, so you can only claim one of them. These include Incapacity Benefit, State Pension, Maternity Allowance, Widows’ Benefits, Bereavement Support Payments, and contribution-based ESA or Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you get £62.70 or more per week from these, then you cannot get Carer’s Allowance as well. If you are eligible for a different benefit, you may receive this instead. You will get a top-up to bring it up to £62.70 a week if it is less than this amount. You might be able to claim a Carer Premium of £34.95 per week on top of any of these benefits. Use a benefits calculator to check what you are entitled to before you make any claims.

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance for myself?

Carer’s Allowance is for carers who look after people other than themselves. For this reason, you cannot claim Carer’s Allowance for caring for yourself. If you need financial support for your care due to chronic illness or disability, you can apply for other benefits. Disability Living Allowance is now only available for children under 16. Adults from 16 to 64 years old can apply for PIP instead. You could receive between £22 and £141.10 per week, depending on how your condition affects you. Those over 65 can apply for Attendance Allowance. You could get from £55.65 to £83.10 a week to cover your personal support costs if you need to pay somebody to help look after you.

If you are of working age, you could apply for employment support such as ESA. This provides financial support if you are too ill to work, or personal support to help you work. If you already receive Income Support or income-based JSA, you may be eligible for a Disability Premium. There are also Severe Disability Premiums and the Enhanced Disability Premium. These all depend on your circumstances. Contact your Jobcentre Plus to find out if you are eligible for any Premiums. If you do have a carer who puts in a claim for Carer’s Allowance, this will affect your own benefits. You might no longer receive Severe Disability Premiums and any reductions to your Council Tax.

How do I claim Carer’s Allowance?

If you decide to make a claim for Carer’s Allowance, you can apply for it online at any time. If your entitlement predates your claim, you can ask to backdate payments for up to three months. You can do this when you apply, and you don’t need to provide a reason for claiming late. If you have a partner, they might have to attend an interview with a personal adviser regarding your Carer’s Allowance claim. Before you apply, make sure you have all of this information you will need ready:

  • your National Insurance number (and your partner’s, if you have one)
  • your bank details (unless you receive your State Pension)
  • the details of your employment and your most recent payslip if you are working
  • your P45 if you recently left work
  • the details of your course if you are studying
  • the details of the person you care for (their name, date of birth, address, and National Insurance number or Disability Living Allowance reference)

Once you start receiving Carer’s Allowance, payments will go directly into your bank, building society, or Post Office account. If you do not have one of these accounts, the DWP will issue a Simple Payment card you can use to collect the benefit at a PayPoint outlet. You can choose to receive payments weekly in advance or every four weeks in arrears. You may also qualify for a Christmas Bonus of £10 every year. This will be paid automatically, so you don’t have to claim it.

Changes to Carer’s Allowance

You will need to report any changes in your circumstances, including getting a job, temporarily stopping care, or quitting being a carer. Call 0843 178 4191 to report any changes which may affect your entitlement. You can still get Carer’s Allowance for up to 12 weeks if either you or the person you are caring for goes into hospital. If either of you goes on holiday, you can still receive it for up to 4 weeks. If the person you care for is in the hospital for over 28 days, their qualifying benefit usually stops. This means that your Carer’s Allowance will also stop. You can continue to receive Carer’s Allowance payments for 8 weeks if the person you are caring for passes away.

Can I Buy My Council House?

You can buy your council house with the Right To Buy scheme, with discounted rates. To find out if you, your home or your landlord are eligible for the scheme by using the online checker. If you have some questions about the Right To Buy scheme you can call their helpline on 0844 826 8381You can also inquire about your eligibility, your reapplication, you want to know about the joint application or you have some other questions. You can apply to buy your council home if:

  • it’s your only or main home
  • it’s self-contained
  • you’re a secure tenant
  • you’ve had a public landlord (such as a council, housing association or NHS trust) for 3 years (it doesn’t have to be 3 years in a row)

Can I Buy My Council House While On Benefits?

If you receive housing benefits, they do not cover the costs of a mortgage. If you are receiving other benefits and you still have a steady income you will need to contact professionals regarding being able to afford your mortgage with your current income. You are still eligable for the Right To Buy scheme if you are receiving alternative benefits but being a homeowner could possibly affect your benefits, make sure you can afford your home before you commit to it.

Can Someone Else Buy My Council House For Me?

In the Right To Buy scheme, there are no laws surrounding how the house is financed meaning that if you would like to buy somebodies council house for them or somebody else would like to buy your council house for you they can do so by providing you with the funds for the purchase of the home. To be the legal owner of the property your name must be included in the names of eligible tenants and applicant. It is recommended to seek out legal and financial help when making Right To Buy applications.

Can I Buy My Parents Council Home?

As stated above you can fund the purchase of your family members council home. If you want to join in with the Right To Buy scheme to be eligible to join in you will need to be on the tenancy agreement, if you’re not you will have had to live in the property for the past 12 months. Again, you are recommended to get some financial help as well as legal help when thinking about applying for the Right To Buy scheme.

You can make a joint application with:

  • somebody who shares your tenancy
  • up to 3 family member who’ve lived at the property with you for the past 12 months (even if they don’t share your tenancy)

Applying For The Right To Buy Scheme

To apply to buy your home you will need to follow these steps:

  1. you are required to fill in the Right To Buy application form otherwise known as RTB1 notice.
  2. Send the application form to your landlord.
  3. Your landlord is required to approve or deny the application within 4 weeks of receiving the application from you or 8 weeks if they have not been you landlord for 3 or more years. If you landlord denies the request they are required to say why.
  4. If your application is approved by your landlord they must send you an offer within 8 weeks of approval if you are buying a freehold property or if you’re buying a leasehold property they must send you an offer 12 weeks after approval.

If you have any questions regarding the application process or any other topic mentioned in this article you can call the Right To Buy scheme helpline on 0844 826 8381. 

How to Claim Housing Benefit

How to Claim Housing Benefit Guide

What Is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit helps people on a low income to pay their rent. It can pay for some or the whole of your rent. Your income and circumstances will affect the amount of Housing Benefit you can receive. You can’t use Housing Benefit to pay for heating, water, energy, or food; the payment is for your rent only. Read this guide to find out how to claim Housing Benefit. Call the helpline on 0843 178 4235 if you still need help to claim Housing Benefit after reading all the information.

Can I Get Housing Benefit?

There is no fixed payment for Housing Benefit, so the amount you are eligible for depends on your circumstances. Your entitlement could cover all or only part of your total rent costs. To claim Housing Benefit, you must be paying rent, be on a low income or on benefits, and have savings below £16,000. You can apply for Housing Benefit whether you are in any employment or not.

Only one person in a couple can claim Housing Benefit, while if you are single (and under 35) you can only claim for a bedsit or one room if you share accommodation. You cannot get Housing Benefit if you have savings over £16,000, live in a relative’s home, or you are a full-time student, asylum-seeker, or homeowner. There may be exceptions for people with children or a disability.

How Do I Claim Housing Benefit?

Apply for Housing Benefit through your local council, or contact your local Jobcentre Plus to apply when you apply for other benefits. The Jobcentre will forward your Housing Benefit claim to your council. You can apply for this benefit at the same time as Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, or Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you receive Universal Credit, you won’t be eligible for Housing Benefit unless you live in supported housing. You can claim Housing Benefit along with Pension Credit, and the Pension Service will forward the claim to your council. You can apply up to thirteen weeks before moving, or ask your council to backdate your claim for one month.

What Evidence Do I Need for Housing Benefit?

When you make a Housing Benefit claim, you have to provide specific information and evidence to support it. Before you apply for Housing Benefit, make sure you have all of this ready. It will make the application process much easier for you, and you could get the money faster.

First of all, check your tenancy type. Then make sure you know how much rent you pay and what it includes. For example, your rent could include charges for water, gas, electricity, insurance, or building maintenance. You also need to know the details of your landlord or letting agent.

Beyond this, you will have to provide supporting documentation. You will need the following:

  • your last five weekly payslips, or last two monthly payslips
  • bank statements or building society statements for the last two months
  • proof of any other income (investments and shares, ISAs, premium bonds)
  • proof of income for any non-dependant adults living with you (such as relatives or friends)
  • any two acceptable forms of proof of ID and address (such as a UK driving licence photocard, passport, birth or marriage certificate, permanent residence card, certificate of registration or naturalisation, or a recent utility bill, benefits letter, bank statement, or letter from HMRC)

If you are renting privately, you will need to supply some additional documents. These are your tenancy agreement or rent book, a tenancy confirmation letter from the landlord, and proof of any rent you are already paying. This could be a rent receipt or a bank statement.

Claim Housing Benefit for Council Rent

This information only applies if you are renting council housing or social housing. The amount of Housing Benefit you will get depends on your “eligible” rent, whether you have spare rooms, and your household income. Having a lot of savings could affect your entitlement. It also depends on other circumstances, such as the age of residents or if anyone in the house has a disability.

The “eligible” rent is the reasonable amount for a property in your local area. The household income will include any benefits, pensions, and savings. You may get a reduction in Housing Benefit if you have any spare bedrooms. If you only have one spare room, the deduction would be 14% of the “eligible” rent. It would be 25% of the “eligible” rent for two or more spare rooms.

You can only have a spare room without a Housing Benefit reduction for up to 52 weeks if you are a foster carer. Adult couples, at least two children under 16 of the same sex, and at least two children under 10 of any sex should share a room. A child under 16 can have their own room if there is no other child for them to share with. Single adults and overnight carers can have their own room. Couples can have separate rooms in the case of medical conditions or disabilities.

If a student or member of the armed forces is away, their room does not count as a spare if they intend to return. Contact the Housing Benefit helpline on 0843 178 4235 if the number of people living in the house or the rent changes. This is important because it will affect your entitlement. Your council will pay your Housing Benefit directly into your rent account, not your bank account.

Claim Housing Benefit for Private Rent

Tenants who rent privately get Housing Benefit according to the Local Housing Allowance. The amount depends on location, household size, income, and other circumstances. You can use this form to calculate your bedroom eligibility and Local Housing Allowance rate before you apply. There is a maximum weekly amount which depends on the number of bedrooms in the house.

For one bedroom (or if you live in shared accommodation), you could get up to £260.64 a week. With two bedrooms, it increases so you could get up to £302.33 per week. For 3 bedrooms the entitlement goes up to £354.46 a week, and then up to £417.02 for 4 bedrooms. Depending on your location and income, your Housing Benefit could be anywhere from 0 up to these amounts.

You should contact your local council if you privately rent a different type of home. This includes houseboats, caravans, hostels, boarding homes (where rent is inclusive of meals), and properties protected by the Rent Act. Ignore these limits if you have been claiming Housing Benefit since earlier than 7th April 2008. They only apply if you change address or have a break in the claim.

The council will pay your Housing Benefit directly into your bank account or building society account. You are then responsible for paying your rent to your private landlord. Call 0843 178 4235 for help if there is a problem with your Housing Benefit payment. You should also call to report any changes in circumstances which could affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get.