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More than one claim for Child Benefit for the same child

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If you and another person both claim Child Benefit for the same child, only one of you can get it. You should try to choose between you who should be the one to get the benefit.

Try to decide who gets Child Benefit

If you’re responsible for a child you can claim Child Benefit. But there may be someone else who pays towards the cost of looking after the child and they also want to claim.

For example, if your child:

  • lives with a relative but you pay for their upkeep
  • lives with you but your partner who doesn’t live with you pays towards looking after them
  • spends part of the week with you and part with someone else

If both you and another person want to claim Child Benefit it’s best if you sort out between you who should claim.

Normally the Child Benefit Office pay Child Benefit to the person the child lives with. A child normally lives with you even if they’re away for a short while – so long as that’s not more than 56 days in any 16 week period.

  • Child Benefit if your child lives with someone else

If you or your partner isn’t working or works part-time

You – or your partner – may not work enough hours to pay full National Insurance contributions (NICs).

So it could be better if that person claims Child Benefit because this can help protect their entitlement to the State Pension.

  • How claiming Child Benefit can protect your State Pension

You’re already getting Child Benefit and someone else claims for the same child

You might already be getting Child Benefit and someone else decides to claim too. For example:

  • your child lives with a relative and that relative decides to claim
  • your child lives with you and another person starts to pay towards the upkeep of the child

In some cases you won’t know about this other claim until the Child Benefit Officewrite to you to say that they have received it.

The Child Benefit Office won’t be able to tell you who has made the claim. But if you know that someone else has applied for Child Benefit you should try, if you can, to decide between yourselves who should get the payment.

If you decide that you don’t want to carry on with your claim, let the Child Benefit Office know as soon as possible.

If you can’t decide who gets the payment and both of you still want to claim, the Child Benefit Officewill decide who to pay.

If they decide that someone else will get the Child Benefit, your payments will stop.

If you can’t decide who should get Child Benefit

If you can’t decide who should get Child Benefit and you and the other person both make a claim, the Child Benefit

Officewill have to decide who to pay it to.

They choose certain people ahead of others.

This is the order they’ll use:

  • the person your child lives with
  • the wife, when the husband and wife live together
  • a parent ahead of a non-parent
  • a mother, when parents who aren’t married live together

The decision on who’ll get Child Benefit won’t necessarily be the same for tax credits – if you’re getting them.

If you are unhappy with the Child Benefit Office decision

If you’re not happy with the Child Benefit Officedecision about who should get the payment, you can ask for an explanation of how they reached the decision.

  • Problems with your Child Benefit – where to start

Changing your mind about who gets Child Benefit

If you want someone else to claim Child Benefit instead of you, for example to help protect their pension, you’ll need to tell the Child Benefit Officethat:

  • you want to stop getting Child Benefit
  • you want someone else to get it instead, that person will need to make a new claim to Child Benefit

You can tell the Child Benefit Officeat any time that you want to stop getting Child Benefit.

But you will need to tell thembetween 7 April and 30 June at the latest, if you want someone else to get pension protection.

If you tell the Child Benefit Officeafter that date they will lose out on a year’s worth of pension protection.

If you change your mind again later you can make another claim for Child Benefit.

  • How claiming Child Benefit can protect your State Pension

If your circumstances have changed

You must tell the Child Benefit Officestraight away if your circumstances change, for example if your child goes to live with someone else.

  • Child Benefit – which changes you need to report

Contacting the Child Benefit Office

If you need to get in touch with the Child Benefit Office you can send in a query online using the link below, or you can call the Child Benefit Helpline on0845 302 1444 or textphone0845 302 1474.

The Helpline is open between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

If your preferred language is Welsh you can call on0845 302 1489 and if you’re calling from outside the UK+44 161 210 3086.

  • Send the Child Benefit Office an enquiry online
  • The cost of contacting 08 and 03 telephone numbers

More useful links

  • Child Benefit – do you qualify?
  • How to claim Child Benefit
  • You have children – can you get tax credits for them?

Provided by HM Revenue and Customs

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