Child Benefit if your child is in care

If your child is taken into care or is looked after by a local authority or another public body, your Child Benefit payment may not stop immediately.

On this page:

What you need to do if your child goes into care

You must tell the Child Benefit Office as soon as your child goes into care. They will then check if you can continue to be paid. You can tell them online by using the link below, or you can call the Child Benefit Helpline.

Tell the Child Benefit Office online if your child has gone into care

Contact details for the Child Benefit Helpline

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First eight weeks in care

You can usually carry on getting Child Benefit for the first eight weeks after your child is taken into care.

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If your child is in care after eight weeks

Unless your child is in care because of an illness or disability, Child Benefit payments usually stop after eight weeks.

However, you can make another claim for Child Benefit after eight weeks if any of the following apply:

  • your child spends seven or more consecutive days at home and then returns to care, in which case you can claim Child Benefit for the weeks they are at home
  • your child spends at least two nights in a row every week at home, in which case you are entitled to Child Benefit as long as that continues

How to claim Child Benefit

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Your child is in care because of illness or disability

Your child may be in residential accommodation, or at a residential school, because of an illness or disability. 'Residential' means accommodation or schooling provided by a local authority or another public body. If this is the only reason they are away from home, you will still get Child Benefit if you regularly spend money on them. This would include money for clothes, books, toys and so on, or travelling costs involved in visiting them. If your child is away for more than 12 weeks (84 days), and you stop regularly spending money on them, you must tell the Child Benefit Office.

Child Benefit for children in hospital or residential care

Contact details for the Child Benefit Office

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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. But you must still tell the Child Benefit Office straight away if your child is taken into care.

High Income Child Benefit charge

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More useful links

If your child lives with someone else - information about Child Benefit

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