Child Benefit can still be claimed for children over 16 – but only for these reasons

Child Benefit can be claimed by Britons who are responsible for raising a child, but HMRC has outlined the circumstances when the benefit can be received. Child Benefit is paid monthly, and there is no limit on how many children can be claimed for. Under the government outline, child benefit is split into two tiers, depending on a child’s place in the family.


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An eldest or only child will receive a weekly rate of £21.05 in the benefit.

Any additional children are entitled to £13.95 per child.

The government website states: “You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16, or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.”

It is therefore important for claimants to understand what counts as education or training, or else risk losing their benefit entirely.

Thankfully, the government has provided a helpful outline to offer parents and guardians further clarity. 

Approved education is deemed as full-time education of more than an average of 12 hours a week in supervised study or work experience related to their course.

This can include:

  • A Levels (or similar, for example Pre-U, or International Baccalaureate)
  • Scottish Highers
  • NVQs and other vocational qualifications up to level 3
  • home education if started before a child turned 16
  • traineeships in England.

However, ‘advanced’ course are not approved, for example a university degree or BTEC Higher National Certificate.

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In addition, education is not approved if the course is being paid for by an employer. 

In order to be eligible to receive Child Benefit under training, this training must be unpaid.

The government website states this can include:

  • Foundation Apprenticeships or Traineeships in Wales
  • Employability Fund programmes in Scotland
  • United Youth Pilot (if started before June 1, 2017), PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1 or Training for Success in Northern Ireland.

It is worth noting courses that are part of a job contract are not approved.


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It is important to let the Child Benefit Office know if a child is undergoing any changes in their education or training. 

For those staying in approved education or training, the Child Benefit office can be informed through the online (CH297) service. 

Parents or guardians will need a Government Gateway user ID and password to use the service which can be created when logging on.

There is a separate, similarly online, service (CH459) to inform the benefit office a child has left approved education or training.

Child Benefit usually stops on August 31, on or after a child’s 16th birthday if departing from education or training.

Parents or guardians can expect to receive a letter from HMRC asking them about plans in the child’s final year of school. 

Child Benefit is currently available to those who earn less than £60,000.

Earning over £50,000 means some of the benefit will have to be paid back in tax, but earning over £60,000 means the whole benefit will be eliminated through tax. 

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