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Schools out - act now to make sure your tax credits don’t stop for your 16-19 year old

Monday 21st August 2017

If you have a 16-19 year old who'll be staying in non-advanced education after the summer holidays, remember to let the Tax Credit Office know or you could lose out on tax credit payments

Keep the Tax Credits Office informed or payments will stop

Our welfare rights expert Derek Sinclair said: 

"The Tax Credit Office always assumes that a 16 year old is leaving approved education or training during the summer. As a result, they automatically stop any tax credit payments for a young person from 1 September.

"In order for your payments to continue, you must contact the Tax Credit Office to confirm details of the course your 16 year old will be doing after the summer.  

"You still need to do this even if you live in England - despite the fact that 16 year olds in England are required to remain in education or training until they are 18. This is because the definition of approved education that is used by tax credits is different from that used by the Department for Education."

Similar rule applies to 17, 18 and 19 year olds

"As well as 16 year olds, a similar rule applies to 17, 18 and 19 year olds. This means you also need to let the Tax Credit Office know if you have a 17, 18 or 19 year old who is staying in full-time non-advanced education or approved training after the summer. If you don't, payments for them are likely to stop."

To make sure that your tax credit payments aren't reduced, call the Tax Credit Office on 0345 300 3900. You should also contact the Child Benefit office to let them know separately on 0300 200 3100.

Alternatively you can let them both know online by creating a Personal Tax Account on the HMRC website. This allows you to update both your child tax credit and child benefit information at the same time.

So long as you contact the Tax Credit Office by 31 August either by phone or online, your payments should not be affected.

If you miss that deadline, phone the Tax Credit Office as soon as you can to make sure that payments for your 16-19 year old are re-instated as quickly as possible. The maximum these payments can be backdated is one month, so if you don't tell them until after 31 September you will end up losing out.

When can tax credit payments continue?

You can continue to get child tax credit payments for your child if they attend a course of non-advanced education that averages more than 12 hours supervised study a week or if they are on a study programme (England only). Payments can also continue if they are attending certain types of approved training.

If your child is being home educated, or if they are temporarily out of education due to ill-health, contact our free helpline for further advice.

Claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit rather than tax credits?

Even if your child remains in education, you won't be able to continue getting tax credits for them if they are claiming certain benefits in their own right, such as employment and support allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.

Some families might be better off claiming ESA for a disabled 16-19 year old rather than tax credits and child benefit for them. This will depend on your own family circumstances, so you will need to get individual advice. Call our freephone helpline to talk to one of our advisers about this or to get advice about the barriers to claiming universal credit if you are in full-time education.

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