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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Child Benefit and Tax Credits: Rival Claims

A rival claim occurs where more than one person claims for the same child and they all have entitlement. In these circumstances, priority of entitlement will be decided in the following order (1-6) but at any stage, the person with priority may give notice that they do not wish to have such priority;

  • People already awarded benefit

Where a person claims for a child or qualifying young person and an 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 providing they continue to meet all other entitlement conditions

  • 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 not less than the weekly rate of the Child Benefit payable for that child or qualifying young person

  • Husband and wife

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

  • Parent

A parent of a child or qualifying young person has priority of entitlement over someone who is not

  • Parents

Where the parents are residing together but are not married, the mother has priority of entitlement

  • If none of the above conditions apply, Child Benefit may be awarded to the person jointly elected to have priority by those eligible. If no agreement can be reached, HMRC will decide who has priority of entitlement based on the fact of the individual case

See CBTM08030 for further information

Main differences to Child Tax Credit

Where a child or qualifying young person is living with more than one family, they may jointly elect which person receives CTC. For CTC purposes there is no priority of entitlement, if an agreement cannot be reached HMRC will decide who is mainly responsible based on the information available. See TCTM02204