Who Gets Child Benefit?

What follows is a direct email received form a dad last night. It is an issue that arrives on the desk of OnlyDads every week. It seems to me that there is a real burden of proof placed on Dads to show that his children really do live with him.
What I do know, is that when a dad suddenly finds that he has his child(ren) move in with him, something dramatic will have happened! The last thing on a dads mind at times like this will be to ensure all relevant authorities are informed in the correct manner! Rather he will be probably be coping with difficult and complex emotions, urgent changes to bedroom allocation etc, and the day to day practicalities of getting his child into school every day.
I’m not sure what advice we can offer this Dad – any thoughts will be most welcome…
Hi can anyone help me please. I am a single dad and my child is 14.She came to live with me on the 11th of April. From that date I rang child benefit and told them she was living with me. I also rang child credits,and also my housing as i could get help with my rent. The child benefit has written to me saying that my ex-wife said she was living with her up to the 16 July. I’ve written back a few times sending info to them but they still need more info to make a decision. I have been into her school and they said they would write me a letter but the letter they have sent me is saying I informed them on the 7th of June. They are now asking for a letter of social services or GP which none of these i have had to contact. Could anyone please help me as I don’t know how I can show any other way she was living with me from that date. As all this is going on I cannot claim anything else until I get the child benefit. Many thanks. C

About onlydads

Single Dad living near Totnes in Devon. I founded www.onlydads.org in 2007 and live with my daughters Priya, 14 and Anya 11. I write about single parenting, work, overcoming trials and tribulations and sometimes not overcoming trials and tribulations.
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10 Responses to Who Gets Child Benefit?

  1. Ruth Rushton says:

    Well, normally I would say, fight for the actual date on principle. However, I know what it’s like trying to sort it all out, it would be best to go with the date the school can give evidence for and then get on with life, I’m sure the Dad has more importnat things to do with his time than to try and get blood out of a stone. Good Luck x

    • onlydads says:

      sometimes (and I have heard this from other dads) it can be like getting blood out of a stone. But as suggested by singlemammas below – going to have a word with the MP may just unlock a difficult situation.

      Bob x

  2. HMRC deals with Child Benefit claims, and they’re not known for their flexibility. If there is a dispute over who the benefit should be paid to, they tend to apply what’s known as the 56 day rule, which means that a child has to be living away from the parent currently receiving the benefit for 8 weeks in a row in a period of 16 weeks before the benefit is transferred.

    To complicate matters, if the absent parent can prove, with receipts etc., that the child is living with them for at least 1 night per week and they are spending the weekly CB to support the child, HMRC tend to insist on equivalent evidence from the resident parent.

    If you can wade through the legal references in http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forum-archive/indexb485.html, you might get a better idea of the complexity.

    The Family Rights Group has some basic advice – http://www.frg.org.uk/wfm_chapter8.html and http://www.frg.org.uk/pdfs/8.%20What%20happens%20to%20your%20benefits.pdf, plus http://www.frg.org.uk/pdfs/18.%20DIY%20RO.pdf

    It would be worth talking to your GP, explaining the situation and getting them to write a letter on your behalf. Depending on your GP, you may need to pay for the letter.

    If the worst comes to the worst, get your MP involved – the HMRC have the ability to make ex-gratia payments if they can be shown to have erred.

  3. It is difficult in retrospect to see what else is possible – anyone with knowledge of the child’s move could provide a letter of support but I imagine the benfits agency will want someone professional – school, GP, dentist, housing, CSA…..

    For other fathers in the same situation I would recommend changing the child’s registered address with the GP, dentist, school, and any other relevant agencies, asap after the move – primarily for the benefit of the child because it is essential the professionals know who to contact in emergencies, but this will also provide proof of the change of address.

    I would also recommend that any father in this situation ensures he has Parental Responsibility for the child. If he is unsure he should take legal advice.

    Hope that helps!

    Emily Boardman
    Head of Family Department
    Turpin & Miller LLP

    Chair of Oxfordshire Resolution

    Oxford Reading
    1 Agnes Court, Oxford Road Davidson House, Forbury Square,
    Oxford OX4 2EW Reading RG1 3EU

    DX 154780, OXFORD 11
    Tel: 01865 406033 (direct) Tel: 0118 900 1970
    Fax: 01865 749099 Fax: 0118 900 1971


  4. Gfatimah says:

    Consider the following. Your ex partner has involved herself in aspersions and discrepancies which are clearly in your favour. She claims that your daughter moved out on the 16th of July. Your GP can confirm that they have records of an application to register since the 07th of June. In a court of law, your GP would be favoured as a more reliable witness. Secondly, there is an appeal process in which you have the opportunity to forward evidence in the form of supporting letter’s from your daughter, neighbour, local newsagents, friends, etc proving the date your daughter moved in. Furthermore, if your change in circumstances are taken into account by the CB office, then this will prove detrimental to your ex partner as she will be recorded as making a fraudelent claim. If she has rec’d any payments since April, then this may result in her attendance in a court of law. If all else fails, you can approach your local MP who will contact the CB office on your behalf with your supporting letters.

    Good Luck

  5. Pingback: Things to consider when a child changes home….. | OnlyDads

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  7. Chris says:

    Firstly I would look at the fact your daughter is 14 and capable if speaking to them to answer specific questions regarding where she lives if they would accept this.
    Alternatively pictures provide the best proof and a call to the fraud squad who will probably come out to you and the mother over several occasions.
    Bare in mind your daughter can live with you for up to 8 weeks while mom receives CB…but…CSA will look at this and will most likely add it into her payments (this will be useful with backdating)

    First step is to get her registered at a ‘family doctors’ with you as point if contact and legal guardian.

    If need be get social services out to confirm she is living with you, ask them to check the condition of your home and that it is suitable for her to live in or if changes are needed that you have not thought of (being a new full time dad)
    Be aware! This could have a adverse affect if your home really is unsuitable (I am presuming she has a bedroom, is warm, safe, fed, clothed etc…)

    Unfortunately the law on being a single parent does not favour the father in any way shape or form…

    Pester the CSA, HMRC, the council etc…
    Make a log of every phone call and EVENTUALLY they will get bored or if you have the time and money go to court fore sole custody. A letter from a judge won’t be rejected.
    Good luck mate!

  8. stuart says:

    i recently was awarded child benefit for my daughter, previously only receiving child benefit for my son. i was a lengthy process and complex, but Im living proof that fathers can and do provide the ‘main responsibility’ of their children, even when having a full time job.

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