How do i claim for child benefit

how do i claim for child benefit

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If you’re at home looking after children, or you’re a working parent who doesn’t earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions (NICs), there’s a scheme to protect your State Pension. Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) can protect your State Pension entitlement if you get Child Benefit.

How HRP works

HRP isn’t a benefit, it’s a way of safeguarding how much State Pension you’ll get.

Your State Pension is based on the number of ‘qualifying years’ you build up during your working life. A qualifying year is one when you earn enough to pay NICs. So if you’re not working or not earning enough to pay NICs your pension could suffer.

HRP stops you losing out if you’re caring for children. It does this by reducing the number of qualifying years you need to get a State Pension.

Each full tax year when you get Child Benefit for a child under 16 reduces the number of qualifying years you need. But for a full basic State Pension, HRP can’t reduce the number of qualifying years below 20.

Normally you need 39 qualifying years to get a full basic State Pension. But if you spent five years at home caring for your child and you got Child Benefit for five full tax years, you’d only need 34 qualifying years.

From 6 April 2010 HRP will be replaced by weekly credits for parents and carers. Any years of HRP before this date will be turned into qualifying years if you reach State Pension age any time after 5 April 2010.

Credits will automatically count for both basic State Pension and additional State Pension if you get Child Benefit for a child under 12.

Who can qualify for pension protection?

Currently only the person who claims and receives Child Benefit can get HRP.

So if you’re married, in a civil partnership or living with your partner, it’s important to decide together whose pension most needs protecting. The person you decide on is the one who should claim Child Benefit. It’s likely to be the one who stays at home to look after the children.

If you reach State Pension age any time after 6 April 2008, and you find out that you have not been awarded HRP because your partner was getting Child Benefit but you were the one staying at home to care for the children, you can apply to have HRP transferred to you.

You can only do this if your partner does not need HRP because they have been:

  • paying enough NICs each year to protect their pension
  • getting Child Benefit

You will however need to show that during the year or years you want to get HRP you were:

  • living with your partner
  • sharing the responsibility for your child with your partner

If you want to get HRP backdated and you haven’t been getting Child Benefit, you’ll need to make a separate claim on form CF411 Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP).

You can get form CF411 and guidance notes from any of the following:

How you qualify for pension protection

You should get HRP automatically if both of the following apply:

  • you get Child Benefit in your name for a child under 16
  • you’ve given the Child Benefit Office your National Insurance number

Periods of Child Benefit that count for pension protection

You can get HRP for whole tax years when you get Child Benefit for a child under 16. Parts of a tax year and tax years when there was a break in your Child Benefit don’t qualify.

A tax year runs from 6 April to the following 5 April.

If you have more than one child

If you’ve got more than one child under 16, it may be worth both parents claiming Child Benefit for different children. Doing this could protect both of your pensions.

It’s only worth doing this if neither of you is building up qualifying years through work or National Insurance credits.

If you get Child Benefit for a child under six

If you get Child Benefit for a child under six, you can automatically build up your entitlement to an additional State Pension. You get this on top of your basic State Pension.

If you get Child Benefit for a child aged six or over with a long-term illness or disability

If you get Child Benefit for a child aged six or over with a long-term illness or disability, you can also build up your entitlement to an additional State Pension. But you’ll need to make a separate claim on form CF411.

You can get form CF411 and guidance notes from any of the following:

If your circumstances change

If you claim Child Benefit and your circumstances change, it could be better for your partner to start claiming instead. This might be worthwhile if it meant they’d benefit from HRP.

Your partner, or former partner, must meet the qualifying conditions for Child Benefit.

Plan the change carefully. You only get HRP for whole tax years, not parts of a year.

If you and your partner both worked and you got Child Benefit for your child, it might not make any difference who actually claimed Child Benefit. But if your partner stopped working or their earnings went down so they weren’t paying enough National Insurance, it could make sense for them to claim Child Benefit instead.

While you kept working and building up your own pension entitlement, your partner could protect their pension through HRP.

  • Child Benefit – do you qualify?

How to transfer Child Benefit payments

You can let the Child Benefit Officeknow if you want to transfer Child Benefit in a number of ways.

You can tell themonline using the link below. Or you can call the Child Benefit Helpline on0845 302 1444 or textphone0845 302 1474. It’s open between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

If your preferred language is Welsh you can call on0845 302 1489, and if you’re calling from outside the UK+44 161 210 3086.

Your partner will also need to fill in a Child Benefit claim form.

You can tell the Child Benefit Office at any time if you want to transfer your Child Benefit to your partner. But if you want your partner to get pension protection you will need to tell the Child Benefit Office between 7 April and 30 June at the latest.

If you tell them after that date, they will lose out on a year’s worth of pension protection.

Your partner will also need to send the Child Benefit claim form to the Child Benefit Office by 30 June if they want to get a year’s worth of pension protection.

  • Let the Child Benefit Office know online if you want to transfer your Child Benefit to your partner
  • The cost of contacting 08 and 03 telephone numbers

More useful links

  • How to claim Child Benefit
  • Find out more about understanding the basic State Pension (pensions and retirement planning section)
  • Find out more about understanding the additional State Pension (pensions and retirement planning section)

Provided by HM Revenue and Customs

Source: findlaw.co.uk

Category: Credit

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