All grown up – Child Benefit goes digital
New parents can now claim Child Benefit online for the first time since it was launched 47
years ago, helping millions of families with the cost of raising their children, HM Revenue
and Customs (HMRC) has announced.
Since 1977, families claiming Child Benefit had to fill out a paper form, post it, and wait as
long as 16 weeks for their first payment. Now, the quick and easy claims process on
GOV.UK takes about 10 minutes and payments could be made in as little as 3 days.
Child Benefit is worth £24 a week – or £1,248 a year – for the oldest, or only child. The rate
for each additional child is £15.90 a week – or almost £827 a year. Claims can be backdated
for up to 12 weeks and families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible so they don’t
Nigel Huddleston, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“Family time is precious, especially when you have a newborn baby, so it’s great news that
HMRC is enabling parents to save time on claiming their child benefit online so they can
focus on what truly matters.”
Suzanne Newton, HMRC’s Interim Director General for Transformation, said:
“We know how much parents and guardians rely on Child Benefit to help with essential
costs. We’ve made it far easier and quicker for families to claim this crucial help by making it
“Parents and guardians can apply online when it suits them and be paid within days, not
weeks. Go to GOV.UK and search ‘Claim Child Benefit online’ and follow the simple steps to
Natalie Smith, blogger, Frugal Mum, said:
“No more paper forms for new parents – hurray! You can complete your application when it
suits you online at GOV.UK and your Child Benefit can be backdated by up to 3 months – so
don’t put it off.”
Parents or guardians can get Child Benefit if they are responsible for bringing up a child who
is under 16, or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training. There is no limit on
the number of children parents can claim for.
Claiming Child Benefit means that the parent will receive National Insurance credits which
count towards their State Pension. It also means their child will automatically receive a
National Insurance number when they turn 16 years old, which they will need for key
milestones including getting their first job, taking a driving test and applying for university
Tips for applying online
parents can claim Child Benefit from the day after a child’s birth has been registered;
make sure to have the birth certificate to hand when claiming.
create a Government Gateway account when making a claim for Child Benefit, with a
passport and other proofs of ID. This can also be done in advance of a child’s birth to
save time later on. A full list of the documents needed for proof of identity can be
found on GOV.UK.
when creating a new account, HMRC will send you an activation code via email.
Once received, you can then apply for Child Benefit online.
When ready to make the claim, applicants should have the following documents to hand:
the child’s birth certificate
your bank details
your National Insurance number
your partner’s National insurance number (if you have a partner)
Families with adopted children, or whose child’s birth was registered outside the UK, can
claim for Child Benefit online but will need to send additional information through the post to
support their application.
Parents with children over 3 months old who have yet to claim are urged to do so as soon as
possible as they can receive up to 3 months’ backdated Child Benefit. Parents with children
over 6 months’ old may be required to download and print their completed claim form and
send it through the post.
The government is offering help for households. Check GOV.UK to find out more about cost
of living support, including help with childcare costs.
Customers need to be aware of the risk of falling victim to scams and should never share
their HMRC login details with anyone. HMRC scams advice is available on GOV.UK.