Check if you can get child tax credits
Universal Credit has replaced tax credits for most people.
If you already get Working Tax Credits, you can still add Child Tax Credits to your claim.
If you made a claim for Child Tax Credits in the last tax year, you might be able to make a new claim. You should talk to an adviser to find out if you can.
If you got a severe disability premium (SDP)
You can’t make a new claim for tax credits but you can claim Universal Credit instead. You can claim Universal Credit even if you were getting, or recently stopped getting, a benefit with a severe disability premium (SDP).
You might get an extra amount in your Universal Credit - this is called the ‘transitional element’.
You’ll get the extra amount if you were getting a benefit with an SDP, as long as you weren’t just getting it with Housing Benefit.
Before 27 January 2021, you couldn’t claim Universal Credit if you were getting, or recently stopped getting, a benefit with an SDP.
If you applied for Universal Credit before 27 January 2021, talk to an adviser to check what you’re entitled to.
If you’ve reached your State Pension age, you can’t make a new claim for Child Tax Credits. You should check if you can get Pension Credit. If you get Pension Credit, you’ll receive extra payment for each child you’re responsible for.
You can check your State Pension age on GOV.UK.
You can usually get Child Tax Credits for each child or young person you’re responsible for until the 31 August after they turn 16.
The amount of money you get depends on:
- how many children you have
- when they were born
- whether you already get child tax credits
The child you’re responsible for will need to be either under 16 or between 16 and 20 and in full-time approved education or training.
A 16-year old who’s not in approved education or training is considered a young person until the 31 August after they turn 16 unless:
they work 24 or more hours a week
they’re entitled to Universal Credit, income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance
You can get an extra amount of tax credits for your child if they are disabled - it doesn't matter when they were born.
If your child is 16 or older
You can claim for a child until they turn 20 if they stay in approved education, training and aren’t:
- getting benefits themselves, for example Universal Credit
- married, in a civil partnership or living with their partner
- working in a paid job for 24 or more hours a week and have left education
If your child leaves education before they’re 18 and registers with a careers service or joins the Armed Forces, you can get tax credits for 20 weeks if they’re:
- 16 or 17 years old
- working less than 24 hours a week
- not getting benefits themselves, for example Income Support
Tell HMRC if you’re getting tax credits and any of these things change - you might be paid too much if you don’t.
If you get other benefits
Tax credits can have a knock-on effect on other benefits you claim. This means claiming tax credits could leave you worse off.
If you're 18 or over, you can use the Turn2us benefits calculator to check if it’s worth claiming tax credits. You’ll need to enter details of the other benefits you claim.
If you’d rather speak to someone in person, contact your nearest Citizens Advice. An adviser can help you work out if claiming tax credits would leave you better off.
If you get help with childcare costs
You can't get tax-free childcare at the same time as child tax credits.
If you use the childcare voucher scheme, you can get child tax credits to cover childcare costs your vouchers don't cover.
You can check what help you can get with childcare costs on GOV.UK.
If you’re from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein
To apply for Child Tax Credits you need to show:
- you have settled status or a right to claim benefits in the UK - this is called a ‘right to reside’
- you’ve lived in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for the last 3 months - this is called the ‘3-month living in test’
Your right to reside depends on things like your work, family and personal situation. You can check if you have a right to reside
You might not need to prove you've been living here for the last 3 months. For example, if you have a right to reside because you’re working or self-employed.
To stay in the UK after 30 June 2021 you need to apply for ‘settled status’ or ‘pre-settled status’. It’s best to apply as soon as you can.
Your Universal Credit will stop if you don’t have settled status or pre-settled status by 30 June 2021.
You can apply for:
settled status if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years or more
pre-settled status if you’ve lived in the UK for less than 5 years – and were living here by 31 December 2020
Your family members might also be able to apply – even if they arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020.
Check how to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Work out how many children you can claim tax credits for
If your children were all born before 6 April 2017, you can claim child tax credits for each child.
If your first or second child was born on or after 6 April 2017, you can claim child tax credits for them.
If your third child or any later child was born on or after 6 April 2017, you can't usually get child tax credits for them. You should still let HMRC know about them. If they're disabled, you might still get a payment if one of these applies:
- they get Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- they get Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- they're certified blind
There are some exceptions - you might still get a payment for 3 or more children if:
you have a multiple birth - if you have other children born before 6 April 2017 you won't get a payment for the first child in a multiple birth
you’ve adopted a child from the UK (unless you were the child's step-parent immediately before adopting them)
you’re caring for someone else's child in a formal care arrangement
you’re caring for someone else’s child in an informal arrangement where otherwise they’d be in care
you have a child from a pregnancy that was from rape or a controlling relationship - find out how to report this and get help if you need it
you’re responsible for a child under 16 who has their own child and they both live with you
Philip has 3 children who were all born before 6 April 2017. He gets child tax credits for all of them. He'll keep getting the same amount because they were all born before 6 April 2017.
Yasmin has 2 children who were both born before 6 April 2017 and she gets child tax credits for both of them. She's expecting another baby, due after 6 April 2017. She won't get child tax credits for her baby because it's her third child.
Jane gets tax credits for 1 child who was born before 6 April 2017. She’s expecting twins due after 6 April 2017. She’ll get child tax credits for both of them when they’re born.
Who counts as responsible for a child or young person
You’re responsible for a child if they either:
- live with you all the time
- usually live with you and you’re their main carer
If you share responsibility for a child, for example if you and your partner are separated, only one of you can claim child tax credits. This should be the person who is mainly responsible for the child.
If one parent spends more on childcare, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re mainly responsible. The person who looks after the child most of the time should claim.Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you can’t decide who should claim tax credits - an adviser can help you decide.
If you're a foster carer
You can’t claim child tax credits for a foster child if you get a fostering allowance, or the child’s maintenance or accommodation is paid for by someone other than yourself.
If you aren’t sure, call the tax credits helpline to check.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax credits helpline
Telephone: 0345 300 3900
Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0345 300 3900
You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.
If you're calling outside of the UK: +44 2890 538 192
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Telephone (Welsh language): 0300 200 1900
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm
Your call is likely to be free of charge if you have a phone deal that includes free calls to landlines - find out more about calling 0345 numbers.
Checking you’re below the income limit
You don’t need to be working to claim child tax credits, but if you are you need to earn less than a certain amount.
The amount you can earn depends on your circumstances. HMRC looks at things like:
- the number of hours you work
- how many children you have
if you’re a single parent
If you're 18 or over, you can use the Turn2us benefits calculator to check if you can get child tax credits.
If you’re part of a couple
If you’re in a couple, you’ll need to make a joint claim with your partner. You’re counted as a couple if you’re married or in a civil partnership, or if you live together.
If you’re temporarily separated, but still legally married, you’ll need to make a joint claim. HMRC treats you as a couple unless you’re either:
- legally separated under a court order
- permanently separated - ie you don’t plan to get back together
Check if you can get other benefits
If you can get child tax credits you might also be able to get other benefits. If you're 18 or over, you can use the Turn2Us benefits calculator to check which benefits you can get.