Child Benefit for under 18s who leave education or training

Your Child Benefit can often be extended for up to 20 weeks if your child is 16 or 17 and has left education or training. They need to have registered for work, education or training with a 'qualifying body'. To get the extension you'll need to apply for it.

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Who qualifies for the extension?

If your child is aged 16 or 17, and has left education or training that counted for Child Benefit, you may be able to get these extra weeks. To qualify, your child needs to be registered with any of the following - known as 'qualifying bodies':

  • in England - the local careers service, Connexions or local authority support service
  • in Scotland or Wales - the local careers service
  • in Northern Ireland – the careers service of the Department for Employment and Learning, or an Education and Library Board
  • the Ministry of Defence, for example if your child is waiting to join HM Forces
  • a similar organisation to others in this list in any European Economic Area Country

You need to have been entitled to Child Benefit for your child immediately before the start of the extension period.

You won’t qualify for the extension if 20 weeks have already passed since your child left education or training that counted for Child Benefit.

Find out what education and training counts for Child Benefit

Countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)

EEA countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

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How to apply for an extension

You can apply for an extension in one of the following ways:

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

You need to apply within three months of the date your child finishes education or training that counted for Child Benefit.

Apply online for an extension of Child Benefit

Contact details for the Child Benefit Helpline and Office

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How long does the extension last?

The extension normally lasts up to 20 weeks and starts on the first Monday after your child stops education or training that counted for Child Benefit.

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Reasons why an extension might end early

The extension will end if your child does any of the following:

  • turns 18
  • starts paid work for 24 or more hours a week
  • gets Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or tax credits in their own right
  • stops being registered for work, education or training with a qualifying body

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

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If your child stops working or getting benefits

The Child Benefit Office may have already stopped your Child Benefit because your child:

  • started working full time
  • was getting benefits in their own right

Your child may then have changed their mind and decided they want to stop working or come off benefits. If this happened before the end of the 20 week extension period let the Child Benefit Office know. This is because you may be able to reclaim Child Benefit for them up to the end of the extension period. But you must have applied for the extension within three months of your child leaving education or training that counted for Child Benefit.

You can contact the Child Benefit office online by following the link below. Alternatively, you can call the Child Benefit Helpline.

Tell the Child Benefit Office online that you want to reclaim Child Benefit

Contact details for the Child Benefit Helpline

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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. If either of you get an extension of your Child Benefit, the charge will be payable for the extra weeks.

Instead of paying the tax charge, you or your partner could have decided not to receive Child Benefit payments. You can still apply for an extension of your Child Benefit entitlement - even if you've chosen not to get the payments.

High Income Child Benefit charge

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Keeping the Child Benefit Office up to date

You must report any changes to your child's circumstances as soon as possible. If you don't, your Child Benefit payments may stop or you may be overpaid. You can report changes in any of the following ways:

  • online - follow the link 'Report Child Benefit changes online'
  • by calling the Child Benefit Helpline
  • by writing to the Child Benefit Office

If your child is 19 and goes back into education or training that counts for Child Benefit, you can make another claim for Child Benefit. Your child needs to have started, enrolled or been accepted for education or training that counts for Child Benefit before their 19th birthday.

Report Child Benefit changes online

Contact details for Child Benefit

Child Benefit - which changes you need to report

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More useful links

Find out more about Child Benefit if your child is 16 or over

How to claim Child Benefit

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

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