Martin Lewis’ MSE warns parents risk losing Child Benefit as deadline approaches

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Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis' MSE has issued a warning to parents whos children have turned 16 (Image: ITV)

Marin Lewis' Money Saving Expert (MSE) website has issued a warning to everyone who claims Child Benefit as thousands risk losing the extra cash.

In the recent MSE email, parents of children who are aged 16 and in full-time education could risk losing their benefits if they fail to contact HMRC before the end of this month. If you claim Child Benefit, then your payments will automatically stop on August 31 the year your child turns 16.

However, if your child is going to remain in full time education, full time training or they are joining the armed forces or a Government-sponsored careers programme, then you can continue claiming the money until they turn 20. But you will need to take steps to notify HMRC about this before the deadline - if not your payment will be stopped.

The MSE website says that HMRC will usually send you a letter when your child turns 16 asking what their plan is. You can then either reply to the letter in the post or let HMRC know using your Government Gateway account on GOV.UK.

Approved education in the eyes of HMRC for Child Benefit includes:

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  • A level or similar, for example, Pre-U, International Baccalaureate
  • T levels
  • Scottish Highers
  • NVQs and other vocational qualifications up to level 3
  • Home education - if it started before your child turned 16 or after 16 if they have special needs
  • Traineeships in England

According to the rules, the education must be "full time" which means it has to be an average of 12 hours a week of supervised study or course-related work experience. However, "advanced" courses are not approved, for example, a university degree or BTEC Higher National Certificate. In addition, education is not approved if the course is being paid for by an employer.

The Government website says that if you miss this deadline, then you may still be able to claim Child Benefit, but your payments might be late.

If your child is taking a break from education or training, for example, if they change college, you might be able to continue claiming Child Benefit during the break, but once again you will need to inform HMRC. If your child leaves education or their approved education comes to an end your benefit payments will automatically top after a certain date.

These will either be the end of February, May, August or November - whichever date is soonest.

Ruby Flanagan

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