Child Benefit if your child lives with someone else

If your child goes to live with someone else, you may be able to keep getting Child Benefit for up to eight weeks. You might be able to get it for longer if you keep contributing towards your child's upkeep.

On this page:

The first eight weeks after a child leaves home

If your child leaves home to live with someone like a friend or relative, you may still get Child Benefit for the first eight weeks. It may be less than this if the person your child's gone to live with also makes a claim for your child.

Find out what happens if there is more than one claim for Child Benefit for the same child

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After eight weeks

You may keep getting Child Benefit for more than eight weeks if:

  • you're contributing towards your child's upkeep (see the section just below for more information about what types of contribution count)
  • you're contributing at least as much as the Child Benefit you get for your child
  • the person who your child's living with hasn't claimed

All of these must apply.

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Types of contribution that count

The amount you're contributing needn't be money. It can include:

  • clothes
  • birthday and Christmas presents
  • food
  • pocket money

You might also contribute by providing somewhere for your child to live. For example, you could:

  • transfer the house to your partner - the transfer could count as a weekly amount of maintenance but only if you agree this with the Child Benefit Office
  • contribute a regular amount to cover your share of the interest on the house where your child lives

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Amount and frequency of payments or contributions

The amount you contribute must be worth at least as much as the Child Benefit you get for your child.

Frequency - how often must you contribute?

You can make your contributions weekly, monthly or in a lump sum to cover a set period. If you miss one or two payments over a long period, the Child Benefit Office may treat this as if you've contributed for the whole period.

More than one child

You can make contributions to cover more than one of your children. The Child Benefit Office will treat them as being split equally between your children unless you ask them to consider something else.

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If two or more people make contributions for the same child

If you contribute towards your child's upkeep with someone else, like your partner, the Child Benefit Office will count the contributions together. They do this to work out if you can keep getting Child Benefit. The total contributions have to be worth at least as much as the Child Benefit you get.

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child, so it's best to decide between yourselves who that person is.

Find out what happens if there is more than one claim for Child Benefit for the same child

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Payments under a court order or agreement

You might make maintenance payments covering the cost of your child's upkeep, under a court order, deed or binding agreement.

These are treated as a contribution towards your child - as long as the order or agreement actually covers your child's upkeep. If it doesn't, your payments are treated as income of the person looking after your child, instead of a contribution.

The Child Benefit Office may treat you as paying towards your child even if they don't live with the person you're paying maintenance to. However, you must still be contributing to your child's upkeep. Either of the following must apply:

  • you arrange for the payments to go to the person - or home - looking after your child
  • you directly pay the person who is looking after your child

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Contacting the Child Benefit Office to tell them you've stopped contributing

You must let the Child Benefit Office know if you stop making contributions towards your child's upkeep. You can do this online by using the link below, or you can call the Child Benefit Helpline.

The Child Benefit Office will check whether you should keep getting Child Benefit.

Tell the Child Benefit Office online you have stopped contributing to your child's upkeep

Contact details for the Child Benefit Helpline

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

You or your partner have an 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 you stop making contributions to your child's upkeep.

The person your child lives with has an income of more than £50,000

If you get Child Benefit for a child who lives with someone else, that person may be liable to the High Income Child Benefit charge. But this is only if all of the following apply:

  • you give the other person contributions towards the child's upkeep
  • what you contribute is worth at least as much as the Child Benefit you get for the child
  • both you and your partner have an individual income below £50,000
  • the other person has an individual income of more than £50,000

High Income Child Benefit charge

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More useful links

Find out what the current rates of Child Benefit are

You have children - can you claim tax credits for them?

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