Child Benefit for home-educated children over the age of 16 years

Some home-educating parents have been told by the Child Benefit enquiry line that they cannot receive Child Benefit for a child who is over the age of 16 unless that child is in full-time education in a recognised institution (i.e. school or college), and that their Child Benefit will be stopped. This information is incorrect.

If your child was home-educated before the age of 16, and if the home-education is still considered full-time, you are entitled to continue to receive Child Benefit.

The Full Time Education Section (FTES) deals with all enquiries about home-educated children over the age of 16, and the Enquiry Line must send such enquiries to FTES. This is stated quite clearly in the guidance notes used by the Child Benefit enquiry line, but it seems that some of those staffing that line do not follow this.

If you are contacting the CB office about a home-educated child over the age of 16, you should ask that they pass your enquiry to the FTES (you cannot telephone this section directly yourself) and that they call you back. If writing or emailing, you should make sure your letter or email says “for the attention of FTES”.

As your child approaches the age of 16, you will receive a Child Benefit form asking about future plans, and you should also ensure that you send this back “for the attention of FTES”.

The FTES has a very small staff and deals with the whole of the UK, so cannot accept calls from individual home-educators. However a representative of SchoolHouse (the main home-ed organisation for Scotland) has established a relationship with FTES and if you have problems with this issue, she will be able to speak to them on your behalf (wherever you live in the UK). If this is needed, please use the “Contact Us” link above, and we will put you in touch with her.