Martin Lewis says parents could be missing out on ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ – are you?

Martin Lewis gives advice on using tax-free childcare system

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It has been estimated that thousands of working parents may be missing out on thousands of pounds to help towards childcare costs. On ITV’s This Morning, the money saving expert answered a viewer’s call who was unsure about the Child Benefit system.

He said: “The act of claiming Child Benefit, even if you claim nothing because you’re over the limit, is what triggers you getting National Insurance credits while you are looking after your child.

“Those National Insurance credits go towards your state pension entitlement so if you were to miss three or four years of those, in the long run that can cost you tens of thousands of pounds in your retirement.

“So everybody, even if you’re not eligible, and you’re over the limit of getting Child Benefit should claim Child Benefit even if you claim nothing for Child Benefit.”

Child Benefit is the Government’s way of acknowledging the costs involved in raising a child.


It’s paid monthly to anyone responsible for children under the age of 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved full-time education or unpaid training).

People are eligible for the Child Benefit, and can get the full sum if they earn £50,000 a year or less.

They can claim the full entitlement of Child Benefit if the child they are applying for lives with them or if they’re paying at least the same weekly amount as the benefit towards looking after them.

For example, people might pay for clothes, food, pocket money or birthday and Christmas gifts.

If two people are responsible for the same child, only one will get the payment.

Parents can decide between themselves who receives it – otherwise, HMRC will decide and give the Child Benefit to the parent the child lives with the most.

By claiming Child Benefit, people can also earn National Insurance credits, which count towards your state pension.

Everyone needs 35 years’ worth of National Insurance credits to receive the full state pension, so this is especially important if someone is a non-earner or earns less than £118 a week.

This is the amount you need to get National Insurance credits.

If people are not working or they are earning under £118 a week, claiming Child Benefit essentially lets you earn National Insurance credits they wouldn’t otherwise have earned.

HMRC estimates 200,000 parents are losing out on credits in this way because their partner with a higher income, not them, is registered for Child Benefit.

There are two weekly Child Benefit rates:
• For a first-born or only child: £21.15
• For additional children: £14.00 per child

This applies even for a multiple birth, so if people have twins born within minutes of each other, they will still get different amounts for them.

If people have a bigger family, the individual amount they get for their second and subsequent children will be lower, but the total will be higher.

People usually get paid once a month, and the whole amount must go into the same account. It can’t be split between parents.

If people claim for one child until they’re 16, this rate amounts to more than £17,000 over their childhood.

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