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Tax credits and Universal Credit if you have more than two children

Two child limit in Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

If you are already getting tax credits or Universal Credit for more than two children before 6 April 2017

If you already have three or more children born before 6 April 2017 but you are not on tax credits or Universal Credit

If you are expecting a baby due on or after 6 April 2017 and you are already responsible for two or more children

If you have a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017 but an older child no longer qualifies for benefit

Exceptions

What can you claim if you can’t get a child element?

 

 

Two child limit in Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

If you are responsible for a child born on or after 6 April 2017, and you get Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for two or more other children, you may not get any extra for that child. This only affects the child element of Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit. It doesn’t affect Child Benefit, or extra amounts for disabled children or childcare.

These rules mean that you won’t get a child element of Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, unless the child is covered by one of the exceptions.

If you already have three or more children born before 6 April 2017 but you are not on tax credits or Universal Credit

If you already have three or more children all born before 6 April 2017, then you’ll get help for all your children. Your new claim will be for Universal Credit and not Tax Credits (unless you are in receipt of Severe Disability Premium payments). It’s only if you have another child born after 6 April 2017 that you won’t get extra money for them.

If you are expecting a baby due on or after 6 April 2017 and you are already responsible for two or more children

You will not get extra help for a child born on or after 6 April 2017. However, you can still get help if the baby is entitled to Disability Living Allowance, or if you need to claim help with childcare costs. You’ll also be able to claim Child Benefit.

If you have a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017 but an older child no longer qualifies for benefit

If you have a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017 but you can’t claim benefit for an older child any longer, so you’re only getting a child element for one other child, then you can get a child element for the third/subsequent child. This might apply if one of your older children leaves home, or is over 16 and no longer in full-time non-advanced education.

What are the exceptions?

The exceptions cover:

  • multiple births. If you already have one child or no children, you will get a child element for all the children in a multiple birth which happens on or after 6 April 2017; if you have two or more children already, you will not get a child element for the first child of the multiple birth, but you will for the others.
  • adoptions You can get a child element for third and subsequent children adopted under UK law, as long as you are not their step-parent beforehand, or were ever their legal parent other than by adoption.
  • young parents You can get a child element for a child born to a child or young person for whom you are responsible, even if you already have more than one child.
  • kinship care You can get a child element for third and subsequent children for whom you get Guardian’s Allowance, or who are living with you under a court order, or because they would otherwise be likely to be looked after by a local authority. You must not be their parent or step-parent.
  • non-consensual conception You can get a child element for a third or subsequent child if the child was conceived in circumstances to which you did not agree by choice, or weren’t able to agree to. You must not be living at the same address as the other parent. Circumstances where you weren’t able to agree could include a relationship which involved controlling behaviour which caused you serious harm or distress, or put you in fear of violence. HMRC or the DWP will make a decision about this based on evidence from an approved person or where there has been a criminal conviction or a criminal injuries award.

What can you claim if you can’t get a child element?

You can still claim Child Benefit for a third child. If the child gets Disability Living Allowance (which is usually not possible for a very young baby), then you’ll be able to get extra amounts of Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit to reflect the DLA award. If you pay for registered childcare, all the childcare costs you have for children under 15, or under 16 if they are disabled, can be included in your Working Tax Credit award, although the amount of help you can get is capped.