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Entries in child benefit (1)

Thursday
May092013

Child Benefit disputes between parents

 A recent Westminster parliamentary answer revealed that 86,283 competing applications for Child Benefit for the same child were made in 2012/13.

Treasury minister Sajid David stated that: "The law provides for child benefit to be paid to only one person. Where more than one person is responsible for a child and each satisfies the entitlement conditions, they should decide between themselves which of them shall be entitled and make an election to that effect. If they are unable to decide, it falls to a decision-maker, acting on behalf of the Commissioners for HMRC, to make a discretionary decision."

"There are no hard and fast rules governing these decisions, as every case is different and many factors that have a bearing on the care arrangements need to be considered. In general, the claimant who bears the greater responsibility will be awarded the child benefit. The overriding position is to ensure that the child is the ultimate beneficiary."

Receipt of child benefit confirms entitlement to other benefits and tax credits, so it can be difficult for parents who share the care of their children equally after separation to maintain equal status.  One answer is to share the child benefit books between parents, but that only works when there are an equal number of children.