What happens to child benefit when my child is 16+?

Last updated: 17/02/2021

You get child benefit if you are responsible for a child.  There are no limits to the number of children you can claim for but only one person can get child benefit for the same child.

Report changes to your Child Benefit

Helpline: 0300 200 3100
Textphone: 0300 200 3103


Child benefit rates:

First child: £21.05

Second and subsequent children: £13.95


When does child benefit stop?

Child benefit stops automatically on 31 August after your child’s 16th birthday. You are no longer entitled to child benefit if your child starts higher education or start working 24 or more hours per week.

However, child benefit can continue for a child under 20 years old if they stay in ‘approved’ further education or training.

What is approved education or training?

Education or training is approved if it is ‘full-time’ and ‘non-advanced’ and was started before the age of 19.

What is ‘full time’ education or training?

Full-time courses of education involve more than 12 hours per week of teaching or supervised study/exams. The school or college can tell you the course hours.

What is ‘non-advanced’ education or training?

Non-advanced education and training courses are generally further education that your child studies in school or at college. This includes: SCQF level 6 and below including Standard Grades, National 5, Highers, Advanced National Certificates, SVQs (up to level 3), Ordinary National Diplomas, Advanced Highers and ‘approved training’, such as Modern Apprenticeships, that do not form part of a contract of employment. The school or college can tell you if the course is non-advanced.

You cannot get child benefit if your child studies advanced higher education. This includes degrees, SVQ level 4 and above, HNCs and HNDs.

If your child stays in approved education or training, you must inform the Child Benefit Helpline, so that child benefit and other benefits continue.

Keeping child benefit for 16-17-year olds after approved training and education ends

After a 16 or 17 year old leaves full-time non-advanced education, you can keep child benefit for up to 20 weeks if they have registered for employment or training with a careers service or have joined the armed forces. This is called the child benefit extension period. To find your local careers service office, call the Skills Development Scotland Helpline: 0800 917 8000.

To get the child benefit extension the 16 or 17 year old must not be working more than 23 hours a week and you must apply in writing within three months of them leaving education or training.

Child benefit stops when the extension period ends or when your child turns 18 , whichever is earlier.

Contact the Child Benefit Helpline to report that you have the child benefit extension and when it ends.

Keeping child benefit during a break in your child's approved education or training

A temporary break from education can be ignored for up to 6 months so you would continue to receive child benefit during this period. Child benefit will stop for breaks over 6 months but it may become payable again if your child returns to education or training before their 19th birthday.