24 August 2018

Claiming for a young person aged 16 or over?

Claimants must remember to tell HMRC if a young person included in their child tax credit or child benefit claim is staying on in full-time non-advanced education or approved training once they turn 16, otherwise payments for them will stop at the end of August.

Child benefit and child tax credit can continue to be paid for young people up until their 20th birthday if they are in full-time non-advanced education or undertaking approved training and started the course before their 19th birthday. However, HMRC’s systems are designed to automatically stop payments on 31 August following a child’s 16th birthday, and (for tax credits) again following their 18th and 19th birthdays. So its important to tell HMRC if they’re still in full-time non-advanced education or in approved training.

If a young person plans to continue to advanced level education e.g. by going to university, HMRC guidance says that payments can be paid to 31 August (ie the last day of the academic year) unless the young person changes their plans and decides before that date to not continue to advanced level.

Technically the legislation says claimants must tell child benefit and tax credits separately.  However, quite often HMRC can pass a notification between both offices so claimants only need to tell them once, but if they offer to do this, we recommend claimants make a note of the call and check that their awards are correct. Similarly, anyone who notifies HMRC using the on-line service should take care to make it clear that both records should be updated with the information.

If the young person subsequently changes their mind and leaves college or training, claimants must tell HMRC so that payment for them can stop, otherwise they will be overpaid.

You can read more about child tax credits in our entitlement section.

Claimants can notify HMRC either on-line, by telephone or by post. Contact information for HMRC for tax credits and child benefit is available on the GOV.UK website.