Urgent warning for 765,000 parents to apply for cash help as £1billion of support goes unclaimed | The Sun

HUNDREDS of thousands of parents are missing out on over £1billion in free cash support.

Over 765,000 parents are missing out on up to £17,000 in free cash, according to new research by Policy in Practice.

They're losing out because they haven't applied for child benefit payments.

You will usually 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.

There are two child benefit rates, one for the eldest child and another for each further child.

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The current rate for your eldest or only child is £24 a week. This equates to £96 a month or £1,248 a year.

For each of your other children, you'll get £15.90 a week, which is £63.60 a month and £826.80 per year.

Parents get National Insurance (NI) credits automatically if they claim child benefit and their child is under 12.

These credits count towards your State Pension, so you do not have gaps in your NI record if you're not working or don't earn enough to pay NI contributions.

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If you do not need the NI credits, your family may be eligible to get the support instead.

Your husband, wife or partner can apply to transfer the credits.

A different family member who provides care for your child can apply for Specified Adult Childcare credits.

We've explained who's eligible and how to claim child benefit below.

Who is eligible to claim child benefit?

You will usually 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.

To be considered responsible for a child, you will live with them or you're paying at least the same amount as child benefit rates to look after them – for example food, clothes or pocket money.

It's important to note that eligibility changes if a child goes into hospital or care and if your child starts to live with someone else.

If you're not sure about your eligibility you can contact the child benefit office.

You won't be able to get the full amount of child benefit if you earn over £50,000 and you'll get nothing at all if you earn over £60,000.

That's because of something called the High Income Child Benefit Charge – but if it applies then it's still worth claiming.

How do I apply for child benefit?

You can claim child benefit as soon as you’ve registered the birth of your child, or they come to live with you.

Parents need to fill in the child Benefit claim form CH2 on Gov.UK and send it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is written on the form.

It can take up to 16 weeks to process a new Child Benefit claim (or longer if you’re new to the UK). Child Benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months.

Child benefit is usually paid every four weeks on a Monday or Tuesday.

But you can have the money paid weekly if you’re a single parent or getting certain other benefits like Income Support.

You can get the money paid into any account in your name – just apply for child benefit online through Gov.UK.

Only one person can get the benefit for the child or children though so you'll have to decide which parent will get it.

There are other benefits you might get on top of child benefit if you're on a low income, like the child element of Universal Credit.

What is the High Income Child Benefit Charge?

If either parent is earning over £50,000 they have to pay the High Income Child Benefit tax charge.

This means you pay back 1% of your child benefit payments for every £100 of income over this amount.

Once you reach £60,000 of income you have to repay the full amount.

The reduction applies when just one parent or guardian earns more than the threshold, and not on combined household earnings.

Parents have been caught out by the complicated rules and extra charges and have been landed with bills for thousands of pounds.

It's up to parents to notify HMRC if they are liable for the charge and they must file a self-assessment tax return to pay it.

Parents who do know about the charge could also end up missing out on cash.

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They can decide to opt out of getting the benefit altogether to avoid having to pay the money back. But they will miss out on the NI credits gained.

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