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Child Benefit

As of January 2013, Child Benefit is withdrawn from households through an “income tax charge” where someone in the household has an income of over £50,000 a year. The charge will be applied gradually for households with an income of between £50,000 and £60,000 so that only households where someone has an income of over £60,000 a year will cease to gain from Child Benefit at all. For more information on this see the GOV.UK pages here.

The amount payable in Child Benefit is £20.70 for the first child and £13.70 for each subsequent child. These rates are fixed until April 2017 when they may change.

Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit (CTC) is the main form of financial support from the Government if you’re bringing up children while you are a student. You don’t have to be working to claim CTC, and if you have a child with a disability, you may receive more CTC.

CTC is means-tested so how much you receive will depend on you and your partner’s income, if you have one, in the tax year. Most student income, including the student loan, is disregarded except for some grants and allowances for dependents. This is different from means-tested welfare benefits. You can find out about Child Tax Credit here.

Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit (WTC) is paid to people in work if they are on low wages. WTC is means-tested so how much you receive will depend on you and your partner’s income, if you have one, in the tax year. Most student income, including the student loan, is disregarded, except for some grants and allowances for dependents.

Students and partners of students can claim but either you, or your partner, must meet certain conditions:

  • If you are a single parent, work at least 16 hours per week, and have a dependant child
  • To qualify as you are a couple, in most cases, your joint working hours will need to be at least 24 hours per week, i.e. if you both work, your joint weekly hours must be at least 24 hours with one of you working at least 16 hours per week. If only one of you works, that person must be working at least 24 hours per week
  • One partner works 16 hours and the other is entitled to Carer’s Allowance
  • Couples where one partner is working at least 16 hours a week and the other partner is either incapacitated, in hospital or in prison
  • Have a disability and meet certain conditions and work 16 hours or more per week
  • Be aged over 25 and working at least 30 hours per week or 16 hours a week if you are entitled to the ‘disability element’ of WTC

From the time that you claim WTC, the paid work you do must be expected to continue for at least four weeks. As a medical student you’ll probably not be able to work as much as 16 hours a week, and certainly not 30 hours a week, during term time. However if you do fall into one of the categories of people who can claim, and you work the required number of hours for at least four weeks, you may be able to at least claim during the summer vacation.

Getting WTC may entitle you to other help. This may vary depending where you live in the UK. See the GOV.UK page on how tax credits and other benefits interact.

Childcare element of WTC

WTC can help meet up to 70% of registered or approved childcare costs up to a certain amount if you have dependent children.

This means that the maximum help you can get for your childcare is:

  • £122.50 per week (70% of £175) for one child
  • £210 per week (70% of £300) for two or more children.

However, you won’t necessarily get the full £122.50 or £210 a week – the actual amount you get will depend on your income. The lower your income, the more tax credits you can get.

To be eligible to apply for the childcare element you must be either:

  • A lone parent working at least 16 hours a week.
  • Couples where both partners work at least 16 hours each a week. Unfortunately being a full time medical student does not count as being in full-time work.
  • Couples where one partner is working at least 16 hours a week and the other partner is either incapacitated, in hospital or in prison.

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you have the choice of whether to take the Childcare Grant/Childcare Allowance through your student funding package, or the WTC Childcare Element, but you can’t claim both.

For Student Finance England you can get up to 85% of your childcare costs. The maximum you can get is:

  • up to £159.59 a week for one child
  • up to £273.60 a week for two or more children

The amount you’ll get depends on:

  • your household income
  • the cost of your childcare
  • the number of children who are dependent on you

Childcare Grant is explained on the GOV.UK site here.

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