Child Tax Credit

Who can claim Child Tax Credit?

Child Tax Credit (CTC) is available to people:

  • Responsible for a child under 16.
  • Responsible for a young person under 20 in certain types of education or training.

You don’t have to be the legal or biological parent to get CTC. There are special rules if you are claiming for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017.

You can get Child Tax Credit for a young person to aged 16 to 19 if:

  • The young person is in full-time non-advanced education (this includes education up to and including A levels, NVQ/SVQs at Level 3, Highers and equivalent.
  • Or the young person is doing approved training (for example, foundation learning).

You cannot get Child Tax Credit if the young person is receiving education or training as part of their employment. If the young person is 19, you can only get Child Tax Credit for them if they started the education or training, or were enrolled or accepted to start it, before they reached their 19th birthday.

Your Child Tax Credit will also depend on your income.

How to claim Child Tax Credit

You should claim Child Tax Credit within one month of having a baby or becoming responsible for a child. You can ring the Tax Credit helpline to make a claim (0345 300 3900). Have a look at the GOV.UK pages on tax credits to find out more. In some parts of the country, you may have to claim Universal Credit instead. You will be told what to do if this applies to you.

If you are already getting tax credits or Universal Credit (for example, Working Tax Credit, CTC for an older child, or Universal Credit for yourself), you don’t have to make a new claim, but you still have to report that you are responsible for a(nother) child, or you may lose money.

How much is Child Tax Credit?

Child Tax Credit depends on how many children you have. You can get more Child Tax Credit if you are claiming for children on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You can find out more about those benefits here. Your Child Tax Credit will also depend on your income.

If you have a third or subsequent child  born on or after 6 April 2017, you won’t get any extra Child Tax Credit for that child (with very limited exceptions).  You will still be able to claim any disability element for a third or subsequent child, and there is no change to the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.

To understand how your tax credits are worked out, look at How tax credits are worked out?

Child Tax Credit elements

The elements of Child Tax Credit are changing depending on whether you have a chlid born before 6 April 2017.

The family element of Child Tax Credit (CTC) is included in the tax credit calculation if you meet the conditions for CTC and you have a child born before 6 April 2017. The family element is the last part of your tax credits to be reduced by your income. The standard family element is equivalent to about £10.50 a week. The family element will continue if you get CTC for children born before 6 April 2017. If you only claim CTC for a child born on or after 6 April 2017, you won’t get the family element.

Your tax credit award notice may state the family element for a year as, for example, £547.50, if you are entitled to CTC for the whole of the tax year. If you had your first child, and/or applied for tax credits, part way though the tax year, your award notice may show the family element as less than this, because you only get it for part of the tax year.

If you are awarded CTC which includes a child element or a disabled child element, this means that you can get other help, such as the Sure Start Maternity Grant. The disabled child element has two rates (sometimes called the disabled child element and the severely disabled child element) which depend on the level of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment your child receives. To access the grant, you need to look at how much CTC you get for the relevant period (for example, the three months after you had your baby) once it has been reduced by your income. If you’re not sure, get advice.

If you have been overpaid tax credits and are paying HMRC back, entitlement to the grant depends on what your CTC would be if you were not paying them back. This should be clear on your award notice, but get advice if you are not sure.

Claiming the Sure Start Maternity Grant based on CTC 

CTC which includes a child element or a disabled child element is one of the qualifying benefits you need to get the Sure Start Maternity Grant from 6 April 2017. Before 6 April 2017, to get the grant, you need to be entitled to more than £547.50 in CTC (or a pro rata amount if you are not claiming CTC for the whole of the tax year).

If you are about to have your first child, the complication is that you will be claiming CTC for the first time after the birth (or adoption), so you will not yet know how much you will get.

It is advisable to claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant anyway as you will lose it completely it you don’t claim within the three month time limit. You can then reclaim it when your tax credit award comes through.

If your income is lower in this tax year than it was in the previous tax year, your initial award of tax credits may not include a qualifying award of CTC (for example, you may get a ‘nil’ award because of your income in the previous tax year). However, you might be eligible once your award is based on the current tax year. You can either ask for your tax credits to be revised based on the current tax year (which is risky, as you may be overpaid if you give an income figure which turns out to be too low), or you can wait until the end of the current tax year.

You can claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant again, once you have an award of tax credits which shows you had a qualifying award of CTC which covered the first three months of your baby’s life. But you must have made a first claim for the grant within those three months.

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