What can I claim when I have a child?
You do not have to be the legal parent of a child to get Child Benefit. You can get it if a child normally lives with you.
In addition, Guardian’s Allowance is paid to the guardians of children who cannot be looked after by their parents because:
- Both the child’s parents have died.
- One of the child’s parents has died and the whereabouts of the other is unknown and was unknown at the time of the death.
- One of the child’s parents has died and the other is serving a jail term for at least 2 years or is detained in a hospital by order of the court.
If you are entitled to Guardian’s Allowance you will usually be entitled to Child Benefit for the child as well.
Most people in the UK, unless very limited circumstances apply, will no longer be able to make a new claim for Child Tax Credit because it has been replaced with Universal Credit (see below). You can find out more about it and how to claim, on GOV.UK.
Child Tax Credit depends on your income and the income of a partner you’re living with, so not everyone is entitled to this help.
Some people who have come to the UK from another country may also not be able to claim.
If you have a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, you will usually not be able to claim extra Child Tax Credit for them.
Working Tax Credit can help you with the costs of childcare if you work. You will also not be able to make a new claim for Working Tax Credit unless very limited circumstances apply (such as bein in receipt of Severe Disability Premium) and will need to apply for Universal Credit instead (see below).
If you have recently had your first baby or adopted a child and don’t have other children under 16, you may be able to claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant, but this will depend on your other benefits or tax credits.
If you already have an existing claim for Housing Benefit you may be entitled to help with the rent, and/or, if you are in England, Wales or Scotland, help with the Council Tax via council tax reduction. You are more likely to qualify for this help once you have a child. See Universal Credit below. Housing Benefit may be reduced if the total amount of your benefits is higher than the benefit cap. However, the cap shouldn’t be applied if you are exempt, for example, if you get Working Tax Credit, or you, your partner or a child are on disability benefits.
In the UK you now have to claim Universal Credit (unless very limited circumstances apply – i.e. you are in receipt of Severe Disability Premium) instead of tax credits and Housing Benefit. You will be told by HMRC or the local authority if this applies to you. Universal Credit can also be reduced because of the benefit cap, and you will not usually get extra Universal Credit for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017.