The rules on tax credits and child benefits for 16-19-year-olds

Lisa Barwell,  chief officer of South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau. Photo: SG040614-121TW
Lisa Barwell, chief officer of South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau. Photo: SG040614-121TW
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Lisa Barwell, chief officer for South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau explains the rules.

In order to be included in a claim for Child Tax Credit (CTC) or Child Benefit (CB), a young person aged 16-19 must either be in full-time non-advanced education or approved training.

In England, the government has increased the age to which all young people must continue in education or training, known as the ‘participation age’. A young person in England must now continue in education or training until the end of the school year in which they reach 17.

This doesn’t mean young people must stay in school. They can choose to study or train in any of the following ways: by studying full-time in a school, college or with a training provider (many young people also take a part time job alongside); by working or volunteering full-time, combined with part-time education or training; by taking up an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Not all the options available to the young person will mean they continue to be a qualifying young person for CTC and CB. For example, where a young person is in full-time employment or in an apprenticeship, even if they are in education or training as part of that employment, they will not be a qualifying young person.

Therefore, it continues to be important to tell HMRC, before September 1 after your child turns 16, if they are continuing in full-time non-advanced education or approved training or if they are no longer in education or training.

It’s also important to tell them straightaway if a child over 16 and under 20 enters or leaves full-time non-advanced education or approved training.

The child element in CTC for a young person aged 16-19 will automatically stop each year, unless you tell them the young person is continuing in full-time non-advanced education or approved training. Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk, www.hmrc.gov.uk or www.education.gov.uk