When your child reaches 16 you can still get Child Benefit for them. But they'll need to be staying in full-time 'non-advanced' education (usually at school or college), or starting an 'approved' training course. Find out what this means and what types of courses count.
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Education counts for Child Benefit if it's full-time, 'non-advanced' education. Your child needs to have started, enrolled or been accepted onto a course that counts before their 19th birthday.
'Full-time' means that, on average, more than 12 hours a week in term time is spent on:
It doesn't include breaks for meals and homework.
'Non-advanced' education includes the following:
This isn't a complete list. If you're not sure whether your child's education counts, you can contact the Child Benefit Office for further advice.
You can't get Child Benefit if your child is doing an 'advanced' education course. Examples of advanced education courses include:
This isn't a complete list. If you're not sure whether your child is doing an advanced education course you can contact the Child Benefit Office for further advice.
You can't usually get Child Benefit if your child is taking a correspondence course. This is because they're unlikely to do more than 12 hours a week of supervised study.
There are two types of sandwich course:
You may be able to get Child Benefit if your child is on a college-based course but it would need to be full-time and non-advanced. You won't qualify if your child is on a work-based course.
You can usually only get Child Benefit for the first 12 weeks that your child is away. But you'll keep getting it after this if the only reason they are abroad is because they are either:
You can get Child Benefit if your child is over 16 and is doing a course of 'approved' training. Your child needs to have started, enrolled or been accepted onto an unwaged approved course before their 19th birthday.
Approved courses are as follows:
A course provided by an employer as part of a job contract doesn't count as approved.
You can often get Child Benefit extended for up to 20 weeks if both of the following apply:
They'll need to have registered with a 'qualifying body’ such as a careers service, Connexions or local authority support service.
You must tell the Child Benefit Office if there is a break to your child's education or training. They need to know so that they can work out whether you can still get Child Benefit. They can usually carry on paying Child Benefit for up to six months if there is a good reason for the break, for example:
You can't normally get Child Benefit if your child has taken a voluntary break in education or training that counts for Child Benefit. For example, if they travel overseas for personal reasons.
Your child might not go back into education or training that counts for Child Benefit. If they don't you may have to pay back some of the Child Benefit you got during the break. The amount will depend on when your child decided not to go back.
The Child Benefit Office may be able to pay Child Benefit for longer
than six months. This could be if your child is in hospital, residential
care or getting medical treatment abroad, and you still spend money
Your child might go back to education or start a training course after a break - for example after a period of unemployment. As long as the education or training counts for Child Benefit, you'll usually be able to get Child Benefit for them.
You'll need to make another claim if your Child Benefit had previously stopped because you no longer qualified for it.
Your child needs to have started, enrolled or been accepted onto a course that counts for Child Benefit before their 19th birthday for you to qualify.
You must tell the Child Benefit Office about any changes to your child's education or training as soon as possible. If you don't, your Child Benefit payments may stop or you may be paid too much. You must tell the Child Benefit Office if your child:
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 keep the Child Benefit Office up to date if any of the changes explained in the section just above happen.
You can contact the Child Benefit Office in a number of ways. You can tell them about any changes or ask for advice: