Parents are being advised to make child benefit claims even if they haven’t been able to register the birth of their offspring because of lockdown.
Special measures have been introduced as a result of the pandemic and parents have been urged to take advantage of the relaxation in the rules.
Between April and July 2019, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) received 49,637 more new applications for the benefit compared to the same period in 2020, reports the LiverpoolEcho.
Claims can only be backdated by up to three months, so it’s important that new parents apply quickly to receive the maximum support available.
Under normal circumstances, parents must register their child’s birth first before claiming.
But with many local register offices operating at reduced capacity and some parents unable to go to attend because of coronavirus restrictions, parents can claim child benefit without having to register the child’s birth.
First time parents will need to fill in Child Benefit claim form CH2 found online and send it to the child benefit office.
If the birth has not been registered because of coronavirus, parents should add a note with the claim to inform the authorities.
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:
Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email email@example.com, in confidence
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill
PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information on its website
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. Has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
If you already claim child benefit, you can complete the form or add your newborn’s details over the telephone on 0300 200 3100, but you will need your 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.
Payment rules have been changed amid the pandemic
“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.”
Child benefit payments increased from April 6 to a weekly rate of £21.05 for the first child and £13.95 for each additional child.
It is paid into a bank account, usually every four 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 receives the help.
Even if they have to pay the tax charge, they could still be better off by claiming child benefit – the tax is one per cent of child benefit for each £100 of income over £50,000.