Child Benefit payments usually stop when your child reaches 16, unless they are a “qualifying young person” in education or training that counts for Child Benefit.
The GOV.UK page on child benefit 16-19 says child benefit “continues if they stay in approved education or training but you must tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)”…and “can include…home education – if started before your child turned 16 or after 16 if they have special needs”
The most comprehensive reference is HMRC’s Child Benefit Technical Manual.
At some point in the school year the child turns 16, parents should receive a letter asking whether the child will be continuing their full time education post-16. (This letter doesn’t always arrive; see below re online form) If you fill in the paper form to say your child will be home educated, you will then be sent a follow-up form through the post asking for more details.
Alternatively you can notify HMRC online about your child continuing in full-time education rather than by post. The online form has a home education option. The online form may be sufficient and you might not need to fill out the follow-up form.
The online form asks
Home education details
Date home education started
Did the child or young person previously attend school or college
Date home education will end
Number of hours supervised education per week
Subjects or courses the child or young person is studying
Will there be a final exam
Does this child do any other study as part of their course each week
The paper follow up form asks:
On what date did they last go to a school or college? DD MM YYYY
When did they first start to be educated somewhere other than at a school or college? DD MM YYYY
When do you expect their education somewhere other than at a school or college to end? DD MM YYYY
What subjects are they studying?
Are they studying for any qualifications?
If Yes, please tell us what they are
When will they take their final exam? DD MM YYYY
Do they get supervised study, tuition or instruction?
This can be provided by a teacher, a tutor or another person
If Yes, what subjects do they get supervised study, tuition or instruction for?
Where does the supervised study, tuition or instruction take place?
How many hours of supervised study, tuition or instruction do they get each week?
Tell us about any other study they do as part of their course each week
This can be work set by a tutor, coursework, exercises, practical work, projects or examinations.
How many hours of other study do they do each week?
Do they have a statement of special educational needs? If Yes, send us a copy of it.
Has the local authority approved the education?
If Yes, send us a copy of the local authority approval.
Do they get Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or tax credits in their own right?
If Yes, which benefit do they get?
If Yes, which benefit do they get?
The SEN question is ONLY relevant if the home education has begun AFTER the age of 16 as otherwise you would meet the conditions of pre-16 home education. “Statement of special educational needs” covers EHCPs and ILPs. You only need to check this box if you intend to rely on the provisions of the special needs Plan for education otherwise than at school in your post-16 Child Benefit claim.
There is no new requirement for LA approval where the pre-16 home education condition has been met. “Local authority approval” ONLY arises in cases where home education has begun AFTER the age of 16 and where you are relying on LA-approved education otherwise than at school via eg an EHCP in your post-16 Child Benefit claim.
It is not necessary for the young person to be studying for exams or to be on a course. HMRC has said “Working towards qualifications is the same as studying towards qualifications from a Child Benefit entitlement perspective. Studying in this instance means a child/young person in a learning environment other than at school/college where they are progressing in an educational sense even though that learning environment may be structured differently than at a school/college.”
Education is compulsory until 30th June after the young person’s 16th birthday. For example if the young person turns 16 on September 5th, child benefit will continue to be paid automatically until the following 31st August.
Under certain conditions, 16+ Child Benefit can be paid while a young person is ill and unable to participate in education, this is called INTERRUPTION.
Child Benefit continues to be payable even if the young person works up to 23 hours a week as long as it is not more than 24 hours of paid work a week. (NB there may be other means tested benefits claimed at the same time that are affected by a LOWER weekly paid hours limit, ie it may not be 24 hours across the board)