Parents in the North West are being urged to claim Child Benefit, even if they have not yet been able to register the birth of their new-borns, to ensure they don’t miss out.
Between April and July 2019, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) received 49,637 more new Child Benefit claims compared to the same period in 2020.
Claims can only be backdated by up to three months, so it’s important that new parents claim as soon as they can to receive the maximum support available.
Usually, to claim Child Benefit parents must register their child’s birth first. However, with many local register offices operating at reduced capacity and some parents unable to go to their local register office because of COVID-19, HMRC announced in April that parents can claim Child Benefit without having to register their child’s birth first during the pandemic.
First time parents will need to fill in Child Benefit claim form CH2 found online and send it to the Child Benefit Office. If they haven’t registered the birth because of COVID–19, they should add a note with their claim to let us know.
If they already claim Child Benefit, they can complete the form or add their new-born’s details over the telephone on 0300 200 3100. They will need their National Insurance number or Child Benefit number.
Angela MacDonald, Director General for Customer Services, HMRC said:
“It’s really important that parents remember to claim Child Benefit, not just for the payments which we hope will provide vital support at this time, but also so they don’t miss out on National Insurance credits that help protect their State Pension.
“In addition, it helps children to get their National Insurance number automatically at 16.
“We are doing all we can to make this as simple and stress free as possible for parents.”
Having become first-time parents in May, Erin and Chris Nelson from Manchester said:
“As first-time parents during a pandemic, claiming Child Benefit was one of many jobs on our to do list, but it was one of the easiest to get done.
“The midwife told us we could claim without registering the birth, so we filled in the form a few days after we got home. The money went straight into the account at the end of the month. It was a really easy process given all the stress right now. We’ve now registered Iona’s birth after booking an appointment online.
“Our advice to new parents would be don’t think it’s too hard because you’ll miss out on the money you’re entitled to.”
Child Benefit payments increased from 6 April to a weekly rate of £21.05 for the first child and £13.95 for each additional child. Child Benefit is paid into your bank account, usually every 4 weeks.
Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child. For couples with one partner not working or paying National Insurance contributions, making the claim in their name will help protect their State Pension.
HMRC is reminding people of the importance of claiming Child Benefit, even if they choose to opt out of receiving monetary benefits.
A tax charge known as the High Income Child Benefit Charge applies to anyone with an income over £50,000 who gets Child Benefit or whose partner gets it. Even if they have to pay the tax charge, they could still be better off by claiming Child Benefit – the tax is 1% of Child Benefit for each £100 of income over £50,000.
You can use the Child Benefit tax calculator to work out how much you may have to pay, or you can opt out of receiving Child Benefit payments altogether when you complete the form, so you won’t have to pay the charge but will still protect your State Pension.