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HMRC makes child benefit digital for new parents

A change to the child benefit claims process means it can now be done entirely online through the government’s website, GOV.UK, potentially cutting the time it takes to receive the first payment to as little as three days.

Initially launched in May 2023, the online service was only available to a small number of parents with newborn children. HMRC has now extended the service, so the vast majority of parents are now able to claim child benefit online.

Parents looking to register are encouraged to go to the gov.uk site, search ‘Claim child benefit online’, and follow the steps to apply.

HMRC has also put together several tips for parents applying for child benefit online:

  • parents can claim child benefit from the day after a child’s birth has been registered; make sure to have the birth certificate to hand when claiming.
  • create a Government Gateway account when making a claim for child benefit, with a passport and other proofs of ID. This can also be done in advance of a child’s birth to save time later on.
  • when creating a new account, HMRC will send an activation code via email. Once received, this can then be used to apply for child benefit online.

Child benefit can be backdated by up to three months, and HMRC urged parents with children over three months old who have yet to claim to do so as soon as possible. Parents with children over six months old may be required to download and print their completed claim form and send it through the post.

Families with adopted children, or whose child’s birth was registered outside the UK, can claim child benefit online but will need to send additional information through the post to support their application.

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