Project 17

Changes to Child Benefit exemption

Until recently, parents with Limited Leave to Remain (NRPF) with children who were British or EEA nationals were able to claim Child Benefit, in line with the exemption in Regulation 2(2) of the Social Security (Immigration and Asylum) Consequential Amendments Regulations 2000, SI 2000/636, as amended by SI 2013/1474

However, The Child Benefit Technical Manual has recently been updated to state: 

“People who are subject to immigration control are not excluded from entitlement to Child Benefit if they are a family member (spouse or partner) of a person who is a UK national, or an EEA or Swiss national Qualified Person.” 

The previous version of the Guidance included the line "If the child being claimed for is an EEA national, this would also allow for this exception to apply.

This line has now been removed. As such, the exemption is being interpreted much more narrowly, and no longer applies to parents of British or EEA national children. According to advice we have received, this change brings the Guidance further in line with decisions of the Upper Tribunal (MS v SSWP (DLA) [2016] UKUT 42 (AAC)) and the Social Security Commissioner (CDLA/708/2007), although those decisions suggest that claiming Child Benefit as the spouse/partner of an EEA national may also be unlawful.

Project 17’s advice to parents with limited leave to remain (no recourse to public funds) is that they are no longer eligible to claim Child Benefit on the basis of children with British or European nationality.

To date, we have seen HMRC closing cases when they come up for review, such as when a new child is born. We have not yet seen anyone asked to pay any money back.

Are you working with any families whose Child Benefit claims have been terminated?  We would be interested to hear about your experiences.