Changes to benefits for children, families and young people

Changes to benefits for children, families and young people

Benefit cap

The government limits the total household benefits that working age families can receive. This is called the benefit cap. It only applies to certain benefits and some people are exempt.

See the document about the cap on our webpage Changes to benefits for people of working age

Child Benefit

  • From January 2013

Child Benefit is withdrawn gradually for families where at least one person earns over £50,000 per year. It will cease to be paid if they earn over £60,000.

  • From April 2011

Child Benefit is frozen for three years.

More information on Child Benefit

Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

In addition to the following changes, Child Tax Credit is being replaced in stages by Universal Credit. For more details see Universal Credit.

  • From 1 February 2019

Families with three or more children will not get an amount for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, unless an exemption applies. Before, then, they were directed to 'legacy benefits'. For more details see  Universal Credit.

  • From 28 November 2018

Non-parental carers and adopters were added to the list of those who are fully exempt from the ‘two child limit’.

  • From April 2017

Tax Credits was restricted to help for two children - unless they were born before 6 April 2017, part of multiple birth, disabled, due to rape, kinship carers and so on.  This help is worth about £50 a week per child.

The 'family' element in Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit (worth over £500 a year) was also withdrawn.

Increased work related 'conditionality' for parents, including lone parents, claiming Universal Credit whose youngest child turns three years old must be fully available for work and work activity. Those whose youngest child turns two years old should take part in work preparation as well as work focused interviews. However, reasonable adjustments can be discussed with the Jobcentre Plus work coach.

See our April 2017 benefit bulletin for more details on these and other April 2017 changes.

  • From 15 March 2017, 8 February 2017, and 25 May 2016

Those living in the areas covered by the three Jobcentre Plus offices in Newcastle who want to make a new claim for Tax Credits have to claim Universal Credit instead. Existing claimants in that area will also have to claim Universal Credit if they have a certain change in circumstance. 

NB Newcastle West Jobcentre closed 31 August 2018

  • From 7 November 2016 and later

The benefit cap amount is lowered so that more families will see their total benefits capped. See changes to benefits for people of working age for more details on the benefit cap.

  • From May 2016

Removal of the additional 'family premium' in Housing Benefit for those who have a first child or have children and reclaim Housing Benefit.

  • From April 2016

Disregarded income increases is reduced to £2,500.

More help with childcare costs under Universal Credit.

  • From April 2013

Disregarded income increase is reduced to £5,000.

  • From April 2012

The amount of Tax Credits is withdrawn quicker for those previously protected and the protection of the family element is removed. The £4 extra Child Tax Credit does not go ahead. Backdating of claims reduced from 3 to 1 month. Falls in income of up to £2,500 will be ignored.

  • From April 2011

Eligibility for Child Tax Credits is reduced from an income of £50,000 to an income of £40,000. The baby element in Child Tax Credit, paid for a child under one, is withdrawn (worth up to £545 a year).

More information on Universal Credit

More information on Child Tax Credit

Child Trust Fund

  • From April 2011

Discontinued for babies born after 11 January 2011.

Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

  • From 2010

Abolished in England and replaced by smaller local bursaries.

Health in pregnancy grant

  • From April 2011

This grant was discontinued for babies born after 11 January 2011.

Income Support for lone parents

In addition to the following changes, Income Support is being replaced in stages by Universal Credit. For more details see our webpage on Universal Credit.

  • From May 2012

When your youngest child turns five you may not be able to claim Income Support. Unless you have another reason for claiming Income Support; (like being a carer) you will instead have to claim Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit if it applies where you live.

See More information on Income Support for lone parents.

Parental bereavement leave and pay

  • From April 2020

Employees who suffer the death of a child aged under 18 years old, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, will be entitled to two weeks’ of leave, and pay if they meet certain rules.

Shared Parental Leave and Pay

  • From April 2015

Allows couples to share maternity and adoption leave and pay for new babies or adopted children that are due on or after 5 April 2015.
More details on shared Parental Pay and leave.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

  • From 18 October 2018

The time limit for claiming this grant is extended from three to six months.

  • From April 2011

Only those who have no other children aged under 16 in the household will be able to claim this grant.
More information on the Sure Start Maternity Grant

Further help

What can I do if I'm affected by these changes?

For a comprehensive list of benefit changes see our 'timeline of benefit changes' on our changes to the benefits system page

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