It’s a boy

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If you have recently started a family (like I have) then it’s good to understand what government support is out there for you. Key are Child Benefit payments and in this blog I’ll quickly cover the main points so you know what it is, who gets it and what to do to claim. I’ll also include some other routes for additional support.

What are Child Benefits?

They are weekly payments of £20.70 for your first child and then £13.70 for any further children for people who are bringing up a child; paid until the age of 16. It becomes relevant if you give birth to baby, a child comes to live with you or if you adopt.

 

Who can claim?

Child benefits are there for anyone. Only one person can receive the Child Benefit for a child and it tends to be the same person if already claiming Child Benefits.

However, if one of the partners earns more that £50,000 per year then they will have to pay extra Income Tax charge on some or all of the Child Benefit. This change in policy came into effect from 7th January 2013 (you can read more on it here).

To be clear, if you AND your partners’ combined income is over £50,000 then this does not apply, Child Benefits remain tax free.

It is always recommended to still complete the claim form even if you decide not to receive a payment. As it will protect the State Pension for the person not working (my previous blog covers this in more detail here). It also means your child will receive a National Insurance number when they turn 16 years old.

 

How to register for it?

It is very easy. First, register your baby’s/babies at the necessary council registrar office, they will provide you with a birth certificate.

Next complete the Child Benefit claim form (found here) and send it to HMRC Child Benefit Office with your original birth certificate (they will return it).

The process can take some time. So it is recommended to initiate the process as soon as the baby has been registered. They will only ‘backdate’ payments for three months.

 

Other benefits / vouchers

Here is a list of other benefits you may or may not be eligible for depending on level of income and other circumstances.

  • Childcare Tax Credits – this boosts your income and offers free classes. It can allow a payment up to £60 per week but you need to check if eligible. Use a calculator to determine level of tax credits you could claim.
  • Family Funduse grants if you’ve got a disabled child (17 or under) who lives at home and receive certain benefits (eg, Income Support or Child Tax Credit). Helps with other things like washing machines, driving lessons and holidays. For more click here.
  • Healthy Start food vouchers – provide weekly vouchers to cover milk, fruit and vegetables, infant formula or vitamins.
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant – offers a one off £500 payment to assist with child costs.
  • Childcare Vouchers – paid by employers, so that you can pay for childcare out of your Pre-tax / National Insurance income. Maximum is £243 per month of vouchers and used with certified schemes like Kiddivouchers. To find out more read the full Childcare Vouchers Guide

Don’t forget – your free prescriptions and NHS dental treatment when pregnant continues for 12 months after the birth.

 

Other tips:

If still struggling with costs then consider generating alternative income from:

  1. Renting out a room, as you can earn up to £7,500 tax free per year.
  2. Don’t buy new. If you can swallow your pride buy second hand, use sites like Mum2Mum
  3. Sell things. Use all the common sites e.g. gumtree, ebay and sell what is not required.

In Conclusion:

You might be surprised what you are entitled to, so spend time understanding what is out there for you. Remember, when you are discharged from hospital you can also ask your home health visitor about government benefits, schemes and also what is on offer locally.

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Nigel Brokenshire

About 

Nigel is the founder of BeeMyMinder. Developed from his own frustrations keeping on top of household/personal finances and dealing with piles of papers and associated documents.