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HMRC internal manual

Child Benefit Technical Manual

Exclusions and priorities: More than one person entitled to Child Benefit.

SSC&B Act 1992 section 144(3) and schedule 10, SSC&B (NI) Act 1992 section 140(3) and schedule 10

Where more than one person would be entitled to Child Benefit for any week, only one claimant can be awarded for that week. Where two or more people claim for the same child or qualifying young person and more than one person is entitled, priority of entitlement will be determined in accordance with Schedule 10 ‘Priority between persons entitled to Child Benefit’ in the order as follows.

{#IDAM542G}People already awarded benefit

Where a person claims for a child or qualifying young person and award has already been made to another person for that child or qualifying young person for that week, the person with the existing award has priority up to and including the third week following the week in which the rival claim is made. 

{#IDAU542G}Person having a child living with them

A person who has the child or qualifying young person living with them has priority of entitlement over a person who contributes to the cost of providing for the child at a rate of not less than the weekly rate of Child Benefit payable for that child or qualifying young person. 

{#IDA2542G}Husband and wife

Where a husband and wife are residing together the wife has priority of entitlement. 


Subject to the above, a person who is a parent of the child or qualifying young person has priority over one who is not.

Here, ‘parent’ of the child or qualifying young person means

  • a natural parent;
  • a step-parent;
  • any person in whose favour a residence order, made by a court under the Children Act 1989, is in force.

If the parents of a child or qualifying young person reside together but are not married, the mother has priority.

{#IDAHB52G}Other people

If none of the priority rules above determine entitlement, it should be awarded to the person jointly elected by those eligible. If they fail to agree, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs will decide which of them is entitled. An election shall be made or modified in a prescribed manner, see CBTM08040


At any stage the person with priority of entitlement may give notice that they do not wish to have such priority, see CBTM08050


Mum looks after Sophie three and a half days a week as does dad. He drops Sophie off at her mum’s on Sunday night ready for the school week. On Thursday dad picks Sophie up from school and she remains with him until Sunday night. Both have school uniforms at their houses, both provide a permanent bedroom for Sophie and take her to the doctors or dentist as necessary. Both consider themselves primarily responsible for Sophie and therefore they both make a claim for child benefit.

Where two claims are received for the same child (rival claims) only one award of child benefit can be made and so schedule 10 enables a priority decision to be considered, as described above.

If mum already had a Child Benefit award in payment for Sophie when dad makes a rival claim, mum’s existing award will remain in payment for 3 weeks + the week of the rival claim (provided she continues to satisfy other entitlement conditions and she doesn’t voluntarily relinquish her priority), even though dad may be entitled thereafter by priority.

If only dad claimed he could be awarded Child Benefit even if Sophie only lived with him for one day a week because there is no rival claim from mum.


Sara and Susan were civil partners but have now separated. They have 2 children and Sara is the birth mother. Under a residence order, the children spend 2 days at weekends with Sara and the remaining 5 days with Susan. As a residence order has been made, Susan is also classed as a parent even though she is not the birth mother. Because of this, neither Sara nor Susan have priority under schedule 10 so a decision as to which person has entitlement must be made in the normal manner.