THOUSANDS of parents need to act now or face losing £1,000s in benefit payments.
Most parents in the UK can claim child benefit which can top up their incomes by £1,000s every year.
Thousands of families could lose their entitlement to child benefit if they don’t actCredit: Getty
Child benefit is currently worth £24 a week for the eldest child or only child, adding up to £1,248 a year.
For each subsequent child, parents get £15.90 a week – or £826.80 a year.
But the payments automatically stop on August 31 on or after your child’s 16th birthday if they leave education or training.
And if your child is aged 16-20 and is due to end education or training after August 31, their payments could stop at any of the other three key dates:
November 30, 2023
February 209, 2024
May 31, 2024
But with August 31, less than two weeks away, thousands of families could see their child benefit payments stop, according to HMRC.
But you can continue getting the free cash if you tell the Child Benefit Office that your child is remaining in education or training.
Households are usually sent a letter in their child’s last year at school asking you to confirm their plans.
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Education must be full-time (more than an average of 12 hours a week of supervised study or course-related work experience) and can include:
A levels or similar, for example Pre-U, International Baccalaureate
NVQs and other vocational qualifications up to level 3
Home education – if it started before your child turned 16 or after 16 if they have special needs
Traineeships in England
Approved training should be unpaid and can include:
In Wales: Foundation Apprenticeships, Traineeships or the Jobs Growth Wales+ scheme
In Scotland: the No One Left Behind programme
In Northern Ireland: PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1, Training for Success or Skills for Life and Work
Some families can also apply for a child benefit extension when their children’s education or training comes to an end.
You could get child benefit for 20 weeks if your child leaves approved education or training and either:
Registers with their local careers service, Connexions (or a similar organisation in Northern Ireland, the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein)
Signs up to join the armed forces
Households can apply for the extension at Gov.UK or by calling HMRC on 0300 200 3100.
Who is eligible to claim child benefit?
You will normally qualify for child benefit if you live in the UK and you’re responsible for a child under 16.
The support can also be claimed for a child under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.
But when two or more people share caring responsibilities for a child, it can only be claimed by one person.
To be considered responsible for a child, you will live with them or pay at least the same amount as child benefit rates to look after them – for example, for food, cl …