Child Benefit When Your Child Turns 16: A Guide

Any child benefit you receive stops on the 31st August on or after your child’s 16th birthday. It continues if they stay in what is classed as ‘approved’ education or training. However, it can be difficult to know which types of education are classed as approved.

Approved education

To be classed as approved, education must be full-time (more than 12 hours a week). It can include:

  • A Levels or similar, such as a Pre-U.
  • Scottish Highers.
  • NVQ’s and similar vocational qualifications up to Level 3.
  • Home education (but only if this began before the age of 16) shutterstock_213333985
  • Traineeships in England.

It is important to note that courses will not be classed as approved if they are paid for by an employer or are seen to be advanced, such as a university degree or BTEC National certificate. Your child must also be accepted onto the course before the age of 19 to qualify.

Approved training

Approved training needs to be unpaid. It can include:

  • Foundation apprenticeships or traineeships in Wales.
  • Employability fund programmes in Scotland.
  • Training for Success, United Youth Pilot or Collaboration & Innovation Programme throughout Northern Ireland.

You must tell the Child Benefit office whether your child is planning to start/leave approved education or training.

What happens when approved education/training ends

When your child leaves approved education or training, payments will cease at the end of February, May, August or November, whichever comes first. You could get an extension if your child leaves education/training and signs up for the local careers service. If they choose to join the Armed Forces, you could also get an extension for this. To qualify for an extension:

  • Your child must be either 16 or 17.
  • Work less than 24 hours a week.
  • Not be in receipt of certain benefits such as income support.

You must have also been in receipt of child benefit three months prior to them leaving.