How changes can affect your Child Benefit payments

If you're getting Child Benefit your payments could be different, stop or be delayed if there's a change in your - or your child's - circumstances. It's worth knowing how changes in your life could affect your Child Benefit and what changes you must tell the Child Benefit Office about.

On this page:

Changes that may stop entitlement

Changes that affect you

Your Child Benefit will stop if you:

  • leave your family home and stop paying money for your child
  • leave the UK permanently - this means you're likely to be away for more than 52 weeks
  • leave the UK temporarily for more than eight weeks - or more than twelve weeks because you or a member of your family is ill, or died
  • stop making contributions - of at least as much as the current Child Benefit - for a child who doesn't live with you
  • start getting paid by a local authority - or in Northern Ireland a Health and Social Services Board or Trust - for a child you're looking after
  • have your immigration status changed by the Home Office
  • start paying social security contributions to a country outside the UK - or your partner does
  • start getting a social security benefit from a country outside the UK

Changes that affect your child - when your child is 16 or over

Your Child Benefit will stop if your child:

  • leaves education or training that counts for Child Benefit
  • leaves education or training that counts for Child Benefit and starts work for 24 hours a week or more - that they get or expect to be paid for
  • starts education which is provided through work or training provided by a contract of employment
  • starts a training course that's not 'approved'
  • starts an advanced education course leading to a qualification like a degree
  • turns 20 years old - Child Benefit stops completely when your child reaches 20

Find out what training and education counts for Child Benefit

You stop being responsible for your child

Your Child Benefit may also stop if your child:

  • hasn't been living with you for more than 8 weeks
  • leaves the UK permanently or expects to leave for more than 52 weeks
  • leaves the UK temporarily for more than 12 weeks
  • starts getting benefits in their own right - this will stop your Child Benefit


Changes that mean you'll get more Child Benefit

You might get more Child Benefit, for example if you have a new baby or another child comes to live with you.


Changes that may delay your payments

Child Benefit payments go directly into your bank, building society or Post Office® card account. It's important to tell the Child Benefit Office if you change your account, or your payments will go to the wrong place. There'll be a delay until you've told them about your new account.

You also need to tell the Child Benefit Office if you move. If they can't contact you, your payments may stop until they know where you're living.


Changes that can affect how often you're paid

The Child Benefit Office usually pays Child Benefit every four weeks. You can choose to have it paid weekly if:

  • you're bringing up children on your own
  • you or your partner are getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit
  • you're finding it difficult to manage or make ends meet

Changing from weekly to four-weekly payments

You can ask the Child Benefit Office to change your weekly payments to four-weekly payments at any time. If the reason you're getting weekly payments changes you must tell the Child Benefit Office. For example, you or your partner may stop getting Income Support.


If you haven't reported a change - what happens?

You must get in touch with the Child Benefit Office as soon as there's a change in your or your child's life. If you have forgotten to tell them, it's best to do it straightaway. This way you'll get the right amount of Child Benefit and you may not have to pay back any that you're not entitled to.


If you or your partner have an individual income of more than £50,000

You or your partner could be liable to a tax charge called the 'High Income Child Benefit charge'. Changes to the number of children either of you are entitled to receive Child Benefit for could affect your tax.

Instead of paying the tax charge, you or your partner could have decided not to receive Child Benefit payments. But you must still tell the Child Benefit Office about changes in your circumstances.

High Income Child Benefit charge


What will the Child Benefit Office do next?

The Child Benefit Office decides if your Child Benefit is affected by changes in circumstances. If the change means that your Child Benefit will stop, they'll write and tell you. The letter will tell you when your payments will stop. It also lets you know what you can do if you're unhappy with their decision.


If you've been overpaid

The Child Benefit Office will tell you if changes in your circumstances mean that they've paid you too much Child Benefit. For example your child may have left home and they carried on making payments to you because they didn't know.

The Child Benefit Office may backdate the overpayment to when the change happened.

Get more information about Child Benefit overpayments


How to report the changes

You can report changes:

  • online - follow the link below
  • by calling the Child Benefit Helpline
  • by writing to the Child Benefit Office

Report changes online that may affect your Child Benefit

Contact details for Child Benefit


More useful links

Child Benefit - which changes you need to report

Child Benefit when your child is aged 16 or over

If things go wrong with your Child Benefit claim