Deadline approaches to make sure tax credits payments for your 16-19 year old don’t stop

4 mins read

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Tags: tax credits, education, universal credit

If you have a 16-19 year old who’ll be staying in school or college after the summer holidays, remember to let the Tax Credit Office know by 31 August or you could lose out on tax credit payments.

Keep the Tax Credit Office informed or your payments will stop

Our benefits expert Derek Sinclair said:

“The Tax Credit Office always assume that a 16-year-old is a school leaver during the summer. As a result, they automatically stop any tax credit payments for a young person from 1 September.

“In order for your these payments to continue, you must contact the Tax Credit Office. You must 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, even though 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 used by tax credits is different from that used by the Department for Education.”

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 if you have a government gateway account.

Similar rule applies to 18 and 19-year-olds

Derek continues:

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

What if I miss the deadline?

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

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. If you don’t tell them until after 31 September, you will end up losing out.

Missing the deadline may be a particular problem if your 16-19 year old is the only child you get tax credits for. If that applies, your tax credits could stop altogether. If that happens, and you try and reclaim, HMRC may argue that you have to claim Universal Credit instead. Seek further advice if you find yourself in this position.

When can tax credit payments continue?

You can continue to get child tax credit payments for your 16-19 year old if they attend a course of non-advanced education that averages more than 12 hours supervised study a week. Payments can also continue if they are attending certain types of approved training. In England, payments can continue for a 16-19 year old if they are on a study programme.

If your child is temporarily out of education due to ill-health, but intends to return to full time non-advanced education in the future, contact our helpline for further advice.

I get Universal Credit child payments for my 16-19 year old rather than tax credits. What should I do?

We recommend that you leave a note in your online journal, making clear that your son or daughter will be staying on in full-time non-advanced education.

It is important to note that if your child is 19, Universal Credit payments you get for them as a child will stop at the end of August. This is the case even if you let the DWP know that they are staying on in non-advanced education. Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit payments for a 19-year-old in non-advanced education can continue until the day before they turn 20. But under Universal Credit rules, payments for a 19-year-old dependent cannot continue beyond the August after their 19th birthday.

If you get Universal Credit child payments for a 19-year-old staying in full time non-advanced education, contact our helpline. We’ll discuss the possibility of making a claim for Universal Credit for them as a young disabled adult to replace the child payments that will be stopping in your Universal Credit claim.