Child Benefit if your child is 16 or over

Your Child Benefit can carry on after your child reaches 16. They must be staying in full-time, 'non-advanced' education (usually at school or college), or starting an 'approved' training course. Find out what this means, when your payments will stop, and when you can get a Child Benefit extension if your child is under 18.

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What happens before your child turns 16

The Child Benefit Office will write to you during your child's last school year, to ask you what your child's plans are. They'll contact you between January and June. You don't need to reply to the letter until you know whether your child is staying on in education or training.

You can give the Child Benefit Office the information they ask for in one of the following ways:

  • fill in the form they send you and return it to them
  • fill in an online form by following the link below
  • call the Child Benefit Helpline

From September 2013, children in England must stay in education or training until the end of the school year they turn 17. But the Child Benefit Office won't know if your child's staying on unless you tell them. You still need to get in touch to let them know.

Tell the Child Benefit Office online that your child's staying in education or training

Contact details for Child Benefit

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Child stays in education or training

You can carry on getting Child Benefit for your child up until their 20th birthday, if they're in education or training that counts for Child Benefit. Education or training counts for Child Benefit as long as it's either of the following:

  • full-time, 'non-advanced' education (for example 'A' levels)
  • 'approved' training

Your child needs to have started, enrolled or been accepted for one of these types of courses before the age of 19.

You can't get Child Benefit if your child is doing:

  • higher education, such as a course at university level
  • education provided by an employer
  • education provided through any office they hold - for example if your child has an official role such as scout leader or councillor, and the education is provided as part of that role
  • training that is part of a job contract

Find out what types of education or training count for Child Benefit

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Child leaves education or training - and is under 18

If your child is under 18 and doesn’t intend to stay on in education or training that counts for Child Benefit, your payments will normally carry on for a while.

Find out what types of education or training count for Child Benefit

Your child leaves education or training in the year they turn 16

Your child might not be staying in education or training that counts for Child Benefit after age 16. If so, your Child Benefit payments will usually stop for them on 31 August after their 16th birthday. If your child turns 16 on 31 August, your payments will stop then.

Your child leaves education or training after 31 August following their 16th birthday

Your child might carry on in education or training, but leave at a later date - for example at age 18 or 19. Your payments will normally carry on from the time they leave until the week that includes the earliest of these dates:

  • the last day of February
  • 31 May
  • 31 August
  • 30 November

But if one of the following happens, your payments will stop straightaway:

  • your child starts paid work for 24 hours a week or more
  • your child starts getting certain benefits, such as Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance, or tax credits in their own right

You will need to report any of these changes to the Child Benefit Office.

It's worth knowing that your Child Benefit can often be extended for up to a further 20 weeks. For this to happen your child must:

  • be 16 or 17 years old
  • have left education or training that counts for Child Benefit
  • have registered for work, education or training with a 'qualifying body'

The extension starts on the date your child left education or training that counted for Child Benefit. There are other conditions that you have to meet to get the extension - follow the link below to find out more.

Find out about Child Benefit for under 18s who leave education or training

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Child leaves education or training - and is 18 or over

Your payments will normally carry on from the date your child leaves education or training that counts for Child Benefit, until the week that includes the earliest of these dates:

  • the last day of February
  • 31 May
  • 31 August
  • 30 November

But if one of the following happens, your payments will stop straightaway:

  • your child starts paid work for 24 hours a week or more
  • your child gets certain benefits, such as Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance, or tax credits in their own right
  • your child reaches the age of 20

You will need to report any of these changes to the Child Benefit Office.

Find out what types of education or training count for Child Benefit

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Child goes back to school or college to take exams

You can normally still get Child Benefit after your child leaves school or college if they were entered for exams before they left. The exams must be for the course they were doing before they left - and the course must have counted for Child Benefit.

Once your child has finished their last exam, your Child Benefit will normally carry on from the date of the last exam until the week that includes the earliest of:

  • last day of February
  • 31 May
  • 31 August
  • 30 November

Your Child Benefit will stop straightaway if any of the following happen after your child has left school or college:

  • your child starts paid work for 24 hours a week or more
  • your child gets certain benefits, such as Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance, or tax credits in their own right
  • your child reaches the age of 20

You will need to report any of these changes to the Child Benefit Office.

Find out what types of education or training count for Child Benefit

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Child changes their mind about staying in education or training

Your child may have wanted to continue with education or training that counts for Child Benefit but then changed their mind. For example, their exam results may mean they can't do the course they wanted.

You must tell the Child Benefit Office if your child has changed their mind. They'll treat the date your child changed their mind as the date they stopped the education or training they were going to do. The Child Benefit Office will usually carry on paying Child Benefit up to the earliest of the dates shown in the section just above.

If your child is under 18, you may also be able to get your Child Benefit extended for up to 20 weeks.

Child Benefit for under 18s who leave education or training

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Child starts work

You must tell the Child Benefit Office if your child starts paid work for 24 hours a week or more after the age of 16. Your payments will normally stop from the Monday after your child starts work.

But if your child also stays in education or training that counts for Child Benefit, your payments may continue. It doesn't matter how many hours they work. Your child will need to have started, enrolled or been accepted for a course that counts for Child Benefit before the age of 19.

Find out what types of education or training count for Child Benefit

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Child starts getting benefits in their own right

You can't get Child Benefit for your child if they get:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • tax credits
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

You must tell the Child Benefit Office if your child gets any of these benefits. This is different to the benefits you get. Your Child Benefit will stop according to the day of the week your child started to get their benefits. For example, if your child's benefits started:

  • on a Monday, your payments will stop from that same Monday
  • on any other day of the week, your payments will stop on the following Monday

Benefits your child might be getting that won't affect your Child Benefit are:

  • Carer's Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Training or Educational Maintenance Allowance

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Child gets married or lives with a partner

You must tell the Child Benefit Office if your child gets married or starts to live with a partner. You can usually carry on getting Child Benefit if both your child and their partner are in education or training that counts for Child Benefit.

Find out more about Child Benefit and further education or training

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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. You must still tell the Child Benefit Office if your child's staying on in education or training that counts for Child Benefit after age 16. You must also keep them up to date if any of the changes mentioned above happen.

High Income Child Benefit charge

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Reporting changes to the Child Benefit Office

You can tell the Child Benefit Office about any changes or ask for advice:

  • online, by using the link below that applies to you
  • by calling the Child Benefit Helpline

You can also write to:

Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
NE88 1AA

Report changes online that may affect your Child Benefit

Contact details for the Child Benefit Helpline

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More useful links

Child Benefit - which changes you need to report

Your child reaches 16 - can you still get Child Tax Credit?

School leaving age information on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

New law on education and training for 16 and 17-year-olds - Department for Education website (Opens new window)

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