Social Justice

Child benefit: Why your payment has been reduced ahead of the Queen's Jubilee

Parents and guardians have seen their child benefit come through early, and at a much lower amount than usual. Here’s why it's nothing to worry about.

Anyone who cares for a child full time in the UK is entitled to claim child benefit unless another guardian already receives it. Image: Unsplash / Alexander Dummer

Parents and guardians of children across the UK have seen their child benefit payment arrive in their account early this month, and at a lower amount. 

Most were expecting the payment to arrive on Monday May 30, but received it three days early on Friday 27 instead. As the cost of living crisis leaves families counting every pound, this has caused major concern for many. 

Here’s what you need to know about child benefit, and why you shouldn’t worry about the lower than usual payment. 

Why has my child benefit been reduced?

HMRC has announced on its website that people who had expected to receive their child benefit payment on Monday May 30, will receive at least part of the amount early. Most people have received one week’s worth of payment early, but will receive the other three weeks’ worth on Monday.

An HMRC spokesperson said the changes are “nothing to worry about” and are an administrative adjustment to make sure people get the correct payments over the upcoming bank holiday weekend for the Queen’s Jubilee.

“In short, it’s just processes and working them around the bank holidays, and nothing for customers to worry about,” they said. “We usually process payments for customers on Thursday and Fridays for the following Monday and Tuesday. Of course this isn’t possible because of the bank holidays falling on these two dates next week.

“Instead, we processed payments due Monday and Tuesday May 30 and 31 earlier this week, so that we can process payments due on Monday June 6 early next week, as opposed to the usual Thursday/Friday. This will ensure customers receive payments due on Monday and Tuesday June 6 and 7 on time.”

What is child benefit?

Child benefit is an allowance paid to the parent or guardian of children living in the UK to go towards looking after them. Everyone, no matter their income, is entitled to receive child benefit, though if you or your partner earn over £50,000 you can choose to stop receiving it, then change your mind at any time. 

Child benefit is usually paid every four weeks, at a rate of £21.80 a week for your first child, and £14.45 for your second. Payments usually come through on a Monday or Tuesday. 

There is no limit to how many children a person can claim child benefit for, but the child must live in the UK and only one parent or guardian can receive the payment. 

How can I claim child benefit?

As soon as you have registered the birth of your child, you can claim child benefit. If adopting a child, you can apply for payments as soon as they come to live with you, you don’t have to wait until the adoption process is complete.

To make the claim, fill in the Child Benefit claim form CH2 and send it by post to the Child Benefit Office.

The government website says that it can take up to 16 weeks for claims to be processed, but that payments will be updated for up to three months.

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