Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.

You normally qualify for Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training) and you live in the UK.

You’ll usually be responsible for a child if you live with them or you’re paying at least the same amount as Child Benefit (or the equivalent in kind) towards looking after them, for example on food, clothes or pocket money.

Eligibility rules are different if your child:

Child Benefit continues for 20 weeks if 16 or 17 year olds leave education or training and register with the armed services or a government-sponsored careers service.

Fostering a child

You’ll get Child Benefit if you foster a child, as long as the local council is not paying anything towards their accommodation or maintenance.

Adopting a child

You can apply for Child Benefit as soon as any child you’re adopting comes to live with you - you do not have to wait until the adoption process is complete.

You might be able to get Child Benefit for a period before the adoption - contact the Child Benefit Office to find out.

Looking after someone else’s child

You may be able to get Child Benefit if you’ve got an informal arrangement to look after a friend or relative’s child.

You might not qualify if your local council is paying towards the child’s accommodation or maintenance - contact the Child Benefit Office to find out.

Two people cannot get Child Benefit for the same child. If you and someone else are responsible for the same child, agree between yourselves who will get Child Benefit. If you cannot agree, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will decide who will get it.

You may also be entitled to Guardian’s Allowance if you’re responsible for a child who has lost one or both of their parents.

Living abroad

You may be able to get Child Benefit if you go to live in certain countries or if you’re a Crown servant.

If you’ve moved to the UK

You may be able to get Child Benefit if you have moved to the UK and you have a ‘right to reside’.

If your child starts work or gets benefits in their own right

You’ll stop getting Child Benefit if your child:

  • starts paid work for 24 hours or more a week and is no longer in approved education or training
  • starts an apprenticeship in England
  • starts getting certain benefits in their own right, such as Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or tax credits

Contact the Child Benefit Office if you’re not sure about your eligibility.