HE and Child Benefit

Many home educators ask about Child Benefit when they are contemplating home education. Child Benefit is payable for ALL children in full-time education (12+ hours) beyond the age of 16 up to the age of 20, whether they attend school/college or are educated otherwise as long as the education is not above Level 3 (A Level or equivalent). Child Benefit is administered by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs or HMRC.

Tax Office Letter

Between January and June of the school year in which the child turns 16, parents will receive a letter from the Child Benefit Office at HMRC in Newcastle asking whether the child will be continuing their full time education post 16. It is at this point you should confirm that your child will be continuing home education.

The system is explained on the HMRC website here.

Academic Year

The academic year begins on September 1st. Education is compulsory until 30th June after the young person's 16th birthday. For example if your son or daughter is 16 on September 5th, child benefit will continue to be paid automatically until 31st August after their 16th birthday.

HMRC Accepts Home Education for Child Benefit Purposes

Home education is recognised as "full-time education" after the age of 16 in the same way as it is legally recognised before the child was 16. In other words it is not necessary for your child to be studying for exams. receiving tuition or taking a course in order for the education to be counted as full time.

Definition "Full-Time Education" for Child Benefit

The Education Section at the Child Benefit Offices, uses DMG11094 (Decision Makers Guide) to decide whether or not full time education is taking place. DMG11094 states:

Full-time education

To decide whether education undertaken elsewhere is full-time, the decision maker should consider the guidance in DMG11093. This might include unsupervised study since the circumstances of home education could be quite different from those at a recognised educational establishment. If the decision maker is satisfied that the number of hours studied each week exceeds 12 they should accept the education as full-time.

For reference, please consult the Decision Makers Manual which can be found here.