Child Tax Credit is a benefit aimed at supporting families with children by HMRC. Through this blogpost we will analyse how long parents can continue claiming this state benefit after their child completes their A-Levels. For a detailed overview of the topic, we will also discuss how the increasing age of children especially beyond 16 years impacts their parents’ claim to CTC, the classification of training and apprenticeships vis a vis a full time education after their child completes 16 years of age as well as a quick review of means tested benefits that impact their claim.

When Does Child Tax Credit Stop After A-Levels?

If you are claiming Child Tax Credit beyond your child’s 16th birthday, you will only be able to do so until they complete their non-advanced higher education including A Levels or turn 20; whichever happens earlier. If your child is in full time training or under an approved apprenticeship program, you may still claim CTC until the end of their apprenticeship or when they turn 20 years of age; whichever happens earlier.

To be able to claim Child Tax Credit, it is essential for the child to be considered a ‘qualifying young person’; someone who is under the age of 16 years and does not need to be in full time education or training. To be able to continue being considered a qualifying young person beyond their 16th birthday, the child must either be in a non advanced education course or full time training/apprenticeship.

Full-time non-advanced education includes the following educational courses in the UK:

  • GCSEs, A levels, iGCSEs, Pre-U and International Baccalaureate
  • NVQ level 1, 2 or 3
  • BTEC National Diploma, National Certificate and 1st Diploma
  • SVQ level 1, 2 or 3
  • Traineeships (in England only)
  • Scottish Group Awards
  • National 4 and 5 (in Scotland only)

To be considered in approved training, your daughter should not have an employment contract for her apprenticeship. Approved training should be unpaid and can include:

  • Foundation Apprenticeships or Traineeships in Wales
  • Employability Fund programmes in Scotland
  • PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1, Training for Success, or Skills for Life and Work in Northern Ireland

Will My 16 Year Old Working Affect My Benefits?

Yes, if your 16-year-old starts working it will affect your benefits. Whether your 16-year old starts working part-time or gets enrolled in an apprenticeship program, if they leave education at the age of 16 years and start working or training for work, you will no longer be able to claim benefits intended for them.

As a general rule, if a 16-year-old is not in full-time education or apprenticeship, their parents will lose claim of the following benefits: 

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Additional amounts received with Universal Credit, Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Additional amounts that are received due to the assessment of Housing Benefit and Council Tax support.

In such a case, parents are advised to inform the Tax Credit and Child Benefit office. Unless the claimant has a long term health condition or a disability; once the youngest child turns 16 and starts working, they may no longer be able to claim Working Tax Credit. 

In the case of Housing Benefits claims, the additional income from your child’s earnings is likely to reduce the amount that you receive each month.

In the case of Child Tax Credit, you may still be able to claim benefits if your child is considered to be a Qualifying Person by the DWP. Since their decision varies across individuals, it depends on your circumstances whether or not you will continue receiving Child Tax Credit once your 16-year-old starts working.

However, if you were receiving Personal Independence payments on behalf of your child, they may be able to claim them on their own through the DWP once they turn 16.

Can My 16-Year-Old Claim Benefits On Their Own?

In certain cases, once individuals are over 16 years old, they can start claiming their Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments directly; while other benefits will still be claimed by their parents.

If someone is 16 or 17 years of age, expecting a child or already has one (or more), they may additionally be able to claim Income Support.

To qualify for Universal Credit, claimants must be able to fulfill the below eligibility criteria:

  • aged between 18 (in some cases it may be 16 or 17) and state pension age
  • unemployed or on low income
  • between the claimant and their partner, total savings are less than £6,000
  • experiencing high costs for child care
  • suffering from a disability or health condition
  • caring for someone else

The amount of Universal Credit that an individual receives depends on their personal circumstances and income (if any). For instance, someone who is single and younger than 25 years of age will be eligible for Universal Credit amounting to around £257 per month. Meanwhile, this amount will rise to around £509 for someone who is living with a partner and either one of them or both of them are above the age of 25.

Is An Apprenticeship Full Time Education?

Yes, an apprenticeship counts as full-time education if you are able to work for at least 30 hours per week under the apprenticeship national minimum wage. If working hours are to be reduced due to the nature of execution of work and the individual’s circumstances, it can only be reduced to 16 hours to be counted as an apprenticeship. 

In this case, the duration of the apprenticeship period must be extended. This means that a two-year apprenticeship that requires you to work for 16 hours per week, may need to be extended to a three-year duration to make up for missing essential hours.

According to UK law, you must be in full-time education until the age of 18 years. However, the government requires you to either work as an apprentice or spend at least 20 hours per week for volunteer work alongside training or studying.

If you are 16 years or older, living in England and not enrolled in full education, you can be an apprentice.

Can Apprentices Claim Working Tax Credits?

According to the HM Revenue and Customs, apprentices can claim working tax credits under the following conditions:

  • the apprentice can provide proof of employment such as a contract of employment 
  • the apprentice is part of an apprenticeship scheme where the payments they receive are classed as earnings and not reimbursement of expenses (earnings are subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions while reimbursement of expenses is not)

However, if an apprentice’s earnings are classified as non-taxable training allowance or a tax-exempt discretionary allowance, their apprenticeship working hours will not be counted as remunerative work and they will not be able to claim tax credits.

In general, to be able to qualify for working tax credits, an individual should be able to fulfill the below criteria:

  • if they are 25 years of age, they should be in remunerative work for a minimum of 30 hours each week
  • if they are 16 years old, they should be working a minimum of 16 hours per week 
  • if they are 60 years old, they should be and working a minimum of 16 hours per wee
  • anyone with a physical or mental disability due to which they are unable to get a job

Do I Still Get Child Benefit If My Daughter Is On An Apprenticeship?

Yes, you can get Child Benefit if your daughter is on an apprenticeship only if she is eligible to be considered as a “qualifying person”. This means that she must be able to fulfill the below criteria for you to continue receiving Child Benefit:

  • Aged between 16 and 19 years and either in full-time non-advanced education or approved training.
  • Aged either 16 or 17 years and registered for further education, work or training with a local authority support service, careers service, Connexions or similar organisation. She should not be in full-time non-advanced education or approved training.

However, under the following circumstances, you will not be able to claim Child Benefit for you daughter while she is on an apprenticeship:

  • Aged between 16 and 19 years and in advanced education
  • Aged 19 and undertaking full-time non-advanced education or approved training
  • Aged 20 years 
  • Claiming state benefits including Income Support, income-based Jobseekers
  • Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, tax credits or Universal Credit on their own

What Are The Benefits For 17-Year-Olds Living At Home In The UK?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if you are a 17-year-old living at home, with your parents in the UK. However, the fact that you live with your parents may reduce the monetary amount of your benefits claim. Additionally, if you are in full-time education, apprenticeship or training, you may not qualify for Universal Credit.

In certain cases, once individuals are over 16 years old, they can start claiming their Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments directly; while other benefits will still be claimed by their parents.

17-year-olds who do not live at home with their parents may be entitled to Universal Credit as well as Jobseekers Allowance. If someone is 16 or 17 years of age, expecting a child or already has one (or more), they may additionally be able to claim Income Support.

What Are Means-Tested Benefits?

Means-tested benefits are those state benefits that are calculated on the basis of someone’s income, savings and capital. This is the reason why when someone is considered to be sharing your house or you and a partner appear to live together, their income and savings are also taken into account for your benefits claim and reduce the amount that you were receiving earlier.

Means-tested benefits include the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance 
  • Housing Benefit 
  • Council Tax Reduction 
  • Pension Credit 
  • Child Tax Credit 
  • Working Tax Credit 
  • Universal Credit

Who Does Not Count As An Adult?

The following list includes people who are not counted as adults for benefits and taxes:

  • children under the age of 18 years
  • full-time college and university students
  • individuals on apprenticeships
  • student nurses
  • foreign language assistants who are registered with the British Council
  • live-in carers 
  • those under the age of 25 getting funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency
  • people suffering from a severe mental impairment

Conclusion:

The above discussion makes it clear that parents who claim Child Tax Credit will only be able to continue to do so as long after their child is 16 years old if the child is in a non-advanced education such as A-Levels. Once they complete this course, the benefit can only be claimed if the child is under apprenticeship or training and that too until they are 20 years of age. Furthermore, apprentices can also qualify for Working Tax Credit on their own if they can provide proof of their employment and receive a payment for the apprenticeship. 

FAQs: When Does Child Tax Credit Stop After A-Levels?

Does Child Benefit stop at 18 even if in full time education?

No, Child Benefit does not stop at 18 if your child is under full time education. Infact, you may be able to claim the benefit until they are 20 years of age as long as you can provide proof of their full time education.

Can I get Child Tax Credit for my 19 year old?

Yes, you can get Child Tax Credit for your 19 year old if they are enrolled in a full time course such as A-Levels.

Are A levels full time non advanced education?

Yes, A levels are a full time non advanced education course. Other course classified under this criterion include GCSEs, iGCSEs, Pre-U and the International Baccalaureate.

What is classed as full time education for child maintenance?

An education course that runs for more than 12 hours per week of “supervised study or course-related work experience” on an average is considered to be full time education for child maintenance.

Are A levels an approved training course?

Yes, A levels is an approved training course as it requires more than the average 12 hours of weekly supervised study.

References:

Can I claim for my child aged 16 or over? | Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

Child Tax Credit when your child reaches 16 – GOV.UK

When your child turns 16 or leaves education – Gingerbread

Children between 16 and 20 – Entitledto

What-happens-to-benefits-I-claim-for-my-child-at-16

Check if a change affects your Child Benefit – Citizens Advice

Apprenticeships | Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

Children between 16 and 20

What will affect your Universal Credit payments | nidirect

Does an Apprenticeship Count as Full Time Education? – Employing

Child Benefit for young people aged 16 or over

What Benefits Are Apprentices Entitled To? (Find Out Here) | Go Construct

Does an Apprenticeship Count as Full-Time Education? – Employing

Children between 16 and 20

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.