Child Benefit is changing: What does that mean for your family in 2024?

by Rebecca Lancaster |
Updated on

Did you know that Child Benefit rules have changed again, and that you might now be eligible to claim? Since April 2024, the threshold for claiming has risen, meaning over half a million more families could now be entitled to Child Benefit. Not only that but Child Benefit is going up, so there's all the more reason to check if you can claim.

After a radical shake up in 2013, what was once a universal benefit for parents was changed. Families with one parent earning over £50,000 could still receive child benefit but would have to pay a High Income Child Benefit Charge, which meant that those earning over £60,000 would essentially cancel out all of their Child Benefit.

At the time, this change wasn’t well-received, with many pointing out that a family with two parents both earning just under the threshold would still be eligible, while a family with just one high earner would not.

It seems the government has now taken this into account and has changed the rules again. We’ve waded through the small print for a quick glance guide to what you need to know about the new Child Benefit in 2024. Here’s our cheat sheet on the new Child Benefit changes and how it will affect your family.

What is Child Benefit?

Child Benefit is a payment that you can claim aimed at helping parents cope with the cost of bringing up children. You normally qualify for Child Benefit if you have or are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if in certain types of education or training) and you live in the UK. It is usually paid every four weeks but can be paid weekly in some situations. There are separate rates payable for each child.

Couple looking at paperwork

How is Child Benefit changing from April 2024?

Prior to 2013, Child Benefit was paid to all families with children, regardless of household income, but changes to the HMRC rules on Child Benefit came into force in 2013, reducing the entitlement of over a million families. With the recent rise in inflation, even more families have lost their entitlement to Child Benefit.

Now the government has made another change, though this one is a little more positive. While it’s still the income of each partner in the household that counts, rather than your combined salaries, they’ve raised the threshold to £60,000. This means that, as long as no one in the household earns over £60,000, you’ll be entitled to the full child benefit.

The government has also created a tapered High Income Child Benefit Charge for those earning between £60,000-£80,000 so if you or your partner earn in this bracket, it may still be worth claiming. If one of you earns over £80,000 you’re likely to lose the full amount in tax charges.

Is Child Benefit going up?

Good news! In addition to raising this threshold, Child Benefit is going up from £24 to £25.60 a week for the eldest or only child, and from £15.90 to £16.95 a week for every additional child. For a family with two children, this is £2,212 a year, so certainly worth claiming if you’re eligible.

The government is also talking about moving to a Child Benefit scheme that takes the whole household income into account, rather than the income of the highest earner, but that change may not be implemented until 2026.

How do you claim Child Benefit?

Even if you or your partner earn over £80,000, it’s still worth completing a Child Benefit form. You don’t have to claim the payments but if one of you is not working and not paying National Insurance, filling in this form can mean you get National Insurance credits to protect your State Pension.

In Summary:

  •  The threshold at which you’ll start paying the High Income Child Benefit Charge has gone up to £60,000

  •  This threshold applies to the highest earner, so if one parent in the household earns over £60,000, they’ll need to do a self-assessment tax return

  •  The High Income Child Benefit Charge is now tapered, so unless you earn over £80,000, it may still be worth claiming Child Benefit.

  •  If you or your partner earn over £80,000, the amount you receive is likely to be cancelled out by the High Income Child Benefit Charge.

  •  In this case it may still be worth registering but not claiming Child Benefit as this qualifies you for National Insurance credits to protect your entitlement to State Pension and other benefits.

  • Child Benefit payments have gone up and from April 2024 you can now claim £25.60 a week for the eldest or only child, and from £16.95 a week for every additional child.

If you're claiming Child Benefit but struggling to make ends meet, there's more support out there, from Food Banks to Baby Banks and Tax-free Childcare.

Rebecca Lancaster is a Digital Writer for Mother&Baby, drawing on ten years of parenting her two children to help others navigating their own parenting journey. As a freelance writer, she spent ten years working with leading lifestyle brands, from travel companies to food and drink start-ups, and writing everything from hotel reviews to guides to the best British cheeses. She’s particularly interested in travel and introducing her children to the excitement of visiting new places, trying different foods (less successful) and experiencing different cultures.

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