What is Child Tax Credit?
Child Tax Credit is a means tested benefit for people who are responsible for children and is paid regardless of whether they are working.
Read more information about Child Tax Credit here
What changes are being made to Child Tax Credit?
Removal of the Family Premium - From April 2017 Child Tax Credit claims won't include a Family Element unless the claim covers a child born before 6 April 2017.
Two child limit - Currently Child Tax Credit includes a Child Element award for each child you are responsible for. From April 2017 Child Elements will only be applied for the first two children. This change only applies if you have a child on or after 6 April 2017. So if you already get Child Tax Credit for more than two children you will continue to qualify for the same number of Child Elements. Any children who qualify for the disabled Child Rate or Severely Disabled Child Rate are excluded from this charge. There are some exceptions to this new rule, such as adoption, multiple births, non-consensual conception and kinship care situations.
'Freezing' of Family and Child Element Amounts - The Family Element and Child Element Standard Rate amounts have been frozen from April 2016 to April 2020. The Disabled Child Rate and the Severely Disabled Child Rate will continue to increase by the Consumer Price Index. Note that if one child is born before April 2017 then the Family Element will still be paid.
Change in Income Rise Disregards - From April 2016, any increase in your income of more than £2,500, compared to the previous year's income, must be reported within 30 days. Previously the limit, known as the Income Rise Disregard, was £5,000.
Some top tips from our Welfare Benefit Specialist Louise:
"If you are not sure about your eligibility for Child Tax Credits then you can always check the Tax Credits Calculator, even with the recent cuts, tax credits are still worth a significant amount.
It's important to keep the Tax Credit helpline (0345 300 3900) up to date with any changes in circumstances; if you don't you may have to repay any overpayments in the future. Changes in your circumstances can affect how much benefit you receive; for example if you income falls then you may get more tax credit.
You must renew your tax credits each year if you want to carry on receiving them. If you are working and on a low income you might be eligible for Working Tax Credit to top up your earnings.
If you have children and you work, you might be eligible for the Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit, which can help you with childcare costs. If you apply for Child Tax Credit you will automatically be told if you apply for Working Tax Credit."