Children's handbook Scotland
Chapter 1: Benefits and tax credits
3. Carer’s allowance
Carer's allowance supplem...
Child benefit is paid to people who are responsible for a child or children. Child benefit is paid for each child for whom you are responsible, with a higher amount paid for the eldest child. You do not have to be the child’s parent to get child benefit for her/him. Child benefit is not means tested and so is not affected by any income or savings you have. In certain situations, child benefit is not payable for a child, even though you are caring for her/him. See the chapter relevant to your circumstances for more details. You do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get child benefit.
If you or your partner has an annual income of over £50,000, any child benefit you or your partner receive may be withdrawn through additional income tax. This is called the high income child benefit charge. You can elect not to be paid child benefit if this applies to you.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for the administration of child benefit.
You qualify for child benefit if:
the child counts as a 'child' or 'qualifying young person' (see below). Note: in the rest of this chapter the term 'child’ is used for both a child and qualifying young person; and
you are responsible for the child (see ); and
you have priority over other claimants (see ); and
you and the child satisfy certain presence and residence conditions; and
you are not a 'person subject to immigration control'.
For details about the residence and presence conditions, and who is subject to immigration control, see CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.
There is no lower age limit, so if you have a baby and are under 16 you can claim child benefit.
Anyone aged under 16 counts as a 'child' for child benefit purposes.
A 'qualifying young person' is someone who: has left relevant education or training and is aged 16, up to and including 31 August after her/his 16th birthday; or is aged 16 or 17; and has left relevant education or training; and registered for work, education or training with Skills Development Scotland within three months of leaving; and is not in full-time work (24 hours or more a week); and is within her/his 'extension period' (see ); or is aged 16 or over but under 20 and in relevant education (see below) or on an approved training course (see ). A 19-year-old is only included if s/he started, enrolled on or was accepted on the course or training before her/his 19th birthday; or is aged 16 or over but under 20, is not in full-time work (24 hours or more a week) and has left relevant education or approved training but has not passed her/his 'terminal date' (see ).
If your child counts as a qualifying young person under more than one heading, s/he will be a qualifying young person until the last date that applies.
'Relevant education' means a full-time (more than 12 hours a week during term time) non-advanced course. This includes:
school qualifications such as National Qualifications from Access level to Advanced Higher level;
SVQ levels 1 to 3;
'Approved training' means Employability Fund activity. This must not be provided under a contract of employment.
The 'extension period' runs for 20 weeks starting from the Monday after the child leaves education or training. You must apply in writing for child benefit to be paid during the extension period within three months of the child leaving school.
Your child’s 'terminal date' is the first of the following dates that falls after the day her/his relevant education or approved training ends: the last day of February; or 31 May; or 31 August; or 30 November.
You are responsible for a child in any week in which: you have the child living with you. 'Living with you' means the child lives in the same house or residence and has a settled course of daily living with you; or you are contributing to the cost of supporting the child. To satisfy this condition, you must be contributing at least the amount of child benefit.
There are special rules about when child benefit can be paid if a child is absent from home. Whether or not child benefit continues to be paid depends on the circumstances. See the relevant chapter of this Handbook for more information on what happens to child benefit when a child is away from home. There are also special rules that mean some people cannot get child benefit for a child, even though the child is living with them. See the relevant chapter of this Handbook for how you may be affected.
You cannot get child benefit for a child who claims certain benefits in her/his own right or, in most cases, who is married or cohabiting with a partner, or in prison or other custody. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for more information.
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