The coronavirus pandemic has seen a whole host of changes taking effect in recent months, with the world adapting in efforts to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. Following the UK lockdown being announced on March 23, a change to Child Benefit was made.
On April 7, 2020, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced parents of new-borns would still be able to claim Child Benefit, despite the outbreak of the virus.
Usually, parents would need to have to register their child’s birth first in order to claim the payment.
“You can claim Child Benefit as soon as you’ve registered the birth of your child, or they come to live with you,” Gov.uk states.
At the time, General Register Offices were operating with reduced capacity and with government guidance to social distance and stay at home, new parents were advised not to visit them.
Instead, they were told that they could claim Child Benefit without having to register their little one’s birth first, in order to ensure they do not miss out.
First-time parents were informed that they would need to fill in the Child Benefit claim form CH2 which can be found online.
They would then need to send it to the Child Benefit Office.
Should they not have registered the birth because of COVID-19, parents were told they should add a note with their claim in order to inform the office.
Meanwhile, those already claiming Child Benefit are able to complete the form and add the new-born’s details over the telephone.
This can be done by calling 0300 200 3100, HMRC said.
Those in this situation need either their National Insurance number or Child Benefit number.
Should a person have missed out on claiming straight away, it’s important to be aware that claims can be backdated by up to three months.
Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child.
In cases where there are couples with one partner not working or paying National Insurance contributions (NICs), then making the claim in their name would help to protect their state pension.
It’s important to be aware that it can take up to 12 weeks to process a new Child Benefit claim.
If a person is new to the UK, it may take longer than this.
Angela MacDonald, Director General for Customer Services at HMRC, said: “It’s really important that new parents remember to register for Child Benefit, even during these unprecedented times.
“The increase in Child Benefit is a boost for family budgets but there’s more to claiming than the payments.
“We’re encouraging people to claim so they don’t miss out on National Insurance credits that help protect their state pension. It also helps children to get their National Insurance number automatically at 16.”
How much is Child Benefit?
There are two Child Benefit rates, and the one which applies for a child depends on one factor.
This is whether or not they are the eldest or only child, or not.
If the allowance is for an eldest or only child, the weekly rate is currently £21.05.
Meanwhile, for any additional children, it stands at £13.95 per child, per week.