School's out - make sure you don't lose your tax credits

Date: 8 August 2017

School's out - make sure you don't lose your tax credits

On the last Friday in June, your child can leave school if they turn 16 before the end of the summer holidays. However, they must do one of the following until they are 18:


• stay in full-time education, for example at a college
• start an apprenticeship or traineeship
• spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training


For parents, this change can be a worrying time, as your child’s choices may affect your entitlement to benefits and tax credits.

 

Child Tax Credit usually stops on 31 August after your child turns 16, but continues for
16-19 year olds if they stay in approved education/training. You must tell the 

Child Benefit Office and the Tax Credit Office, otherwise you could lose out on tax credit payments.

 

Some apprenticeships fall outside the definition of approved education/training and certain benefits may stop. Use the Entitledto calculator to check what benefits you may be able to claim.

 

How will this affect my housing benefit and council tax reduction?

 

If you receive housing benefit and council tax reduction these aren’t affected as long as you’re still getting child benefit for your child.

 

My child is going to university

 

When your child is studying in higher education they are no longer classed as your dependant. This means you won’t be entitled to child benefit or tax credits for them.

Usually child benefit and child tax credit continue until the end of August if your child is starting a higher education course in the September term.

 

What should I do?

 

You will need to inform both the Child Benefit Office and the Tax Credit Office

that your child is going to university. Both benefits should stop at the end of August if your child is going to university in the September term. You could be overpaid child benefit and tax credits if you don’t report your child’s change in circumstances, and HMRC will reclaim the overpayment back from you.

 

If you receive Working Tax Credits, they may be affected depending on whether you have any other dependent children. You can check what benefits you’ll be entitled to once your child goes to university on the Entitledto calculator.

 

How will this affect my housing benefit and council tax reduction?

 

If you’re receiving housing benefit and/or a council tax reduction, you must let your
local council know if your child is going to university. Your child is no longer considered to be your dependant so the amount of housing benefit and/or council tax reduction you receive may go down, depending on your income and circumstances.

 

If you receive Working Tax Credits they may be affected, depending on whether you are single, part of a couple and if you have any other dependent children.

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