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Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit for children resident in other EEA countries

Published Friday, July 18, 2014

Domestic legislation provides that both Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit cannot normally be paid in respect of children resident abroad. However, under provisions in EU law on social security coordination within the European Economic Area (EEA), Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit may be payable to EEA migrants in the United Kingdom in respect of their dependent children resident in another Member State.

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Domestic legislation provides that both Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit cannot normally be paid in respect of children resident abroad. However, under provisions in EU law on social security coordination within the European Economic Area (EEA), Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit may be payable to EEA migrants in the United Kingdom in respect of their dependent children resident in another Member State. The provisions relating to payment of “family benefits” for children resident in another Member State are in EC Regulation 883/2004, but they have a much longer pedigree. The rules apply to all EEA countries, not just the United Kingdom.

To process claims for Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit for children resident in other countries, HM Revenue and Customs requires documentary evidence of each child for whom the claim is being made, such as an original birth of adoption certificate. In addition, HMRC carries out further checks with the “competent authority” in the Member State to verify the information provided by the claimant, and to see if corresponding benefits are already being paid for the child, before any payments are made. Where family benefits are already being paid, “overlapping benefits” provisions apply to ensure that the family is not paid twice (the total amount they receive will not exceed the amount payable by the state with the higher entitlement).

At 31 December 2013, 20,400 awards of UK Child Benefit – covering 34,268 children – were in respect of children living in other EEA states. This equates to around 0.3% of all Child Benefit awards. Fewer claims for Child Tax Credit are in respect of children resident in other EEA countries. At the end of December 2012, there were 4,011 Child Tax Credit awards under EC Regulation 883/2004, in respect of 6,838 children.

Commons Briefing papers SN06561

Author: Steven Kennedy

Topics: EU enlargement, Family benefits, Immigration, Working age benefits

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