What happens to Child Benefit when my child is 16+?

Last updated: 12/04/2023

You can get Child Benefit from HMRC for each child you are responsible for.  The child does not have to be yours but you need to be caring for them. Only one person can get Child Benefit for the same child.

Report changes to your Child Benefit

Helpline: 0300 200 3100 Mon – Fri, 8am – 6pm
Textphone: 0300 200 3103

Report changes online

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How much is Child Benefit?

There are 2 rates of Child Benefit. You will get the higher rate for your first or only child. You will receive the lower amount for each of your other children.

When Child Benefit stops for your eldest child, the higher rate of Child Benefit will be paid for the child next in line.

Child Benefit rates:

First child: £24.00

Second and subsequent children: £15.90


When does Child Benefit stop?

Child Benefit stops automatically on 31 August after your child’s 16th birthday. If your child stays in ‘approved’ education Child Benefit can continue to be paid.

You need to tell HMRC that you child is not leaving approved education at 16 or your Child Benefit will stop.

If your child continues in approved education when they are 16 or older, Child Benefit will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (which ever is first) when they:-

  • leave approved education or
  • start to get Universal Credit or
  • start paid work of 24 or more hours per week or
  • start a course of Higher Education or
  • reach the age of 20

Let HMRC know when one of these happen.


When can Child Benefit continue for children 16 and over?

Child Benefit can continue for a child under 20 years old if they stay in ‘approved’ further education or training or you have applied for the Child Benefit Extension Period.

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 if a course is full-time or not.

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.

These are SCQF level 6 and below including:-

  • Standard Grades
  • National 5
  • Highers
  • Advanced National Certificates
  • SVQs up to level 3
  • Ordinary National Diplomas
  • Advanced Highers
  • Modern Apprenticeships that do not form part of a contract of employment

The school or college can tell you if a course is non-advanced if you are not sure.

You cannot get Child Benefit if your child studies 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.

The Child Benefit Extension Period

Child Benefit will stop when your child leaves approved education.

If your child is 16 or 17 you can keep Child Benefit for up to 20 weeks longer.  This is called the Child Benefit Extension Period.

To get the Child Benefit Extension Period your child must not be working more than 23 hours a week. You must apply within three months of them leaving education or training. Your child also needs to register for employment or training with a careers service or join the armed forces.

To find your local careers service office, call the Skills Development Scotland Helpline: 0800 917 8000.

Child Benefit stops when the extension period ends or when your child turns 18 , whichever comes first.

How to apply for the Child Benefit Extension Period

Once your child has registered with the careers service you can apply for the Child Benefit Extension Period in one of 3 ways:-

By post to:-

HM Revenue and Customs – Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE88 1AA
United Kingdom

By calling the Child Benefit Helpline on 0300 200 3100 Mon – Fri, 8am – 6pm or apply online

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

If your child is 16 or over, a temporary break from education can be ignored for up to 6 months. You would continue to receive Child Benefit during this period if HMRC considers the reasons for the break are reasonable and that your child will return to education. Child Benefit can be paid for breaks longer than 6 months if the break is due to physical or mental ill health.

Child Benefit will stop for breaks over 6 months, unless it’s for health reasons, but you can ask for it to be paid again if your child returns to education or training before their 19th birthday.