Single Parent FAQs: When does Child Benefit stop?


Our advice and information team who work on our Lone Parent Helpline, webchat and Ask a Question feature, receive questions from single parents around Scotland every day.

Our new feature – Single Parent FAQs – on our newsletter and blog spotlights Frequently Asked Questions on a different topic each month.

This month, our advice team have been receiving a lot of calls from single parents regarding Child Benefit.

Take a look at the FAQ's

When will I stop getting Child Benefit?

Child Benefit stops when you are no longer considered responsible for your child. That can be:

  • On 31 May, 31 August or 30 November after your child’s 16th birthday if they leave school,
  • when they are 16 or over and start work of 24 hours per week or more,
  • start to get Universal Credit or
  • when they start higher education.

However, you can continue getting Child Benefit until your child’s 20th birthday if they stay in full-time further education.

You need to tell HMRC that your child is staying on at school after they are 16 otherwise your Child Benefit will automatically stop.

If your child is 16 or over, also tell HMRC when your child leaves full-time further education, starts paid work of 24 hours p/w or more, gets Universal Credit or starts higher education.

My 17 year old daughter is going to college to do a full-time NC course. Will my Child Benefit stop?

No. Highers, NC and SVQs are further education so you can keep Child Benefit while your daughter is at college.

My son is doing an apprenticeship at college. Can I still get Child benefit for him? He is 18.

That depends on the kind of apprenticeship. If he has a ‘contract of employment’ you are no longer entitled to Child Benefit. If it is a training course without a contract of employment you can continue to get Child Benefit as long as the course is full-time.

Your son may get money from the college during the course but this could be a bursary for books and equipment rather than payment for work so does not necessarily mean he is employed. The college will be able to tell you what kind of course it is if your son’s not sure.

My 17 year old daughter has left school but needs to go back next month to sit exams. When do I tell HMRC that she’s left?

Your daughter still counts as being in education till after the exams so no need to tell HMRC until then.

My son is still in high school but has started a part-time job. Will my Child Benefit stop?

That depends on your son’s age and how many hours he works.

If your son is 16 or over you will keep Child Benefit as long as he works under 24 hours per week.

If your son is under 16 you will keep Child Benefit no matter how many hours he works.

Will Child Benefit stop when my daughter starts Uni?

Probably. It depends on the course.

If your daughter is doing an HNC, HND or degree you will need to tell HMRC and your Child Benefit will stop.

I know my Child Benefit will stop when my 16 year old daughter leaves school but what if she wants to go back?

HMRC can keep paying Child Benefit during a break in education if they were satisfied there is a good reason for it and the child is planning to return to education. This does not appear to be the case for your daughter so Child Benefit will stop but you can ask for it to start again if she decides to return to full-time further education before her 19th birthday.

I get Child Benefit for my son but my ex says he wants half. Can that happen?

No. You cannot half Child Benefit for one child. If you had 2 children you could each take Child Benefit for one child but that could affect any other benefits you get.

If you cannot agree who should get Child Benefit HMRC will decide based on where your son lives most of the time and who takes most of the responsibility for his care. If this is shared equally HMRC can decide to give Child Benefit to the parent who would benefit most.

Will I get less Universal Credit when I stop getting Child Benefit for my son?

When Child Benefit stops you will also lose the child element of Universal Credit for your son so will get less Universal Credit.

Someone getting tax credits will also get less. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction can also be affected but it depends on the age of the child and if they work or are a student.

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