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What is Child Tax Credit?

Everything you need to know, from eligibility to amounts claimable

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Thursday 01 September 2022 09:27 BST
Ofgem boss says government must act now to stop price cap increasing more

Millions of UK households are set to struggle with sky-high bills this winter after electricity and gas regulator Ofgem hiked the energy price cap by more than 80 per cent from £1,971 to £3,549, a change coming into effect from 1 October.

The move, announced on 26 August, arrives amid an already-devastating cost of living crisis, which consumer champion Martin Lewis has warned will result in lives lost without state intervention.

While the government has announced some measures to help alleviate the enormous pressure on households such as a £400 energy rebate, a £650 Cost of Living Payment and some additional help for pensioners and those on disability benefits, many are still very concerned about how they will pay their bills, particularly parents and carers.

One existing means of support is the Child Tax Credit. Here is a brief guide as to what that is and who can claim it.

First introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour government in April 2003, Child Tax Credit helps people with the costs of raising a child.

However, the government is currently trying to phase out most tax credits, replacing them with Universal Credit. Therefore, you can only currently claim Child Tax Credit for young people in your care if you are already on the scheme or if you are receiving Working Tax Credit.

If you find you cannot currently apply for it, you can seek out Universal Credit instead.

The amount of Child Tax Credit you can are entitled to receive depends on how many children you have in your care and whether you are making a new claim.

If you are on Universal Credit, you cannot claim other tax credits.

Only one household can claim Child Tax Credit for each child. That means that if you share responsibility for a child between two households, for instance after a divorce, only one household can claim the support.

According to Citizens Advice, you do not need to be in work to receive Child Tax Credit but, if you are, then you need to earn less than a certain amount to qualify.

HM Revenue and Customs will determine how much you can claim by taking into consideration the number of hours you work, how many children you have and whether or not you are a single parent.

How much Child Tax Credit can I claim for?

If your claim started before 6 April 2017:

You get the basic amount of Child Tax Credit (known as the “family element”) and a portion known as the “child element” for every children born before the above date.

If you have another child on or after 6 April 2017, you will usually only receive the child element for them if they are the second child you are claiming for.

However, you might also be entitled to the child element for further children if certain exceptions apply.

If your claim started on or after 6 April 2017:

You get the child element for up to two children, although, again, you might get the child element for more children if exceptions apply.

You only get the family element if at least one of your children was born before 6 April 2017.

If all your children were born before 6 April 2017:

You get the child element for all of your children. For each child, the rate is up to £2,935 for the tax year 2022/23.

You will also receive the basic amount, which is currently £545 per annum.

For each disabled child, the rate is now up to £3,545 and, for each severely disabled child, it is up to £1,430, which is on top of the basic amount and the disabled child amount.

According to Turn2Us, Child Tax Credit does not include any help with the costs of childcare.

If you are already receiving tax credits and you are working on a low income, you may be entitled to Working Tax Credit and this benefit can include help with childcare costs.

You can find out whether you can make a claim for Child Tax Credit by using the Turn2Us Benefits Calculator or by seeking advice.

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