Child Benefit


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Internal Guidelines used in processing claims

Index

PART 1 ENTITLEMENT
GENERAL
Description of Scheme
Information Leaflet
Legislation
Administration
QUALIFYING CONDITIONS
Qualified Child
Full-Time Education:
School Holidays
Disability
Residence of the Child
WHO IS ENTITLED TO CHILD BENEFIT
Child Living Full-Time With Mother/Step-Mother
Child Living Full-Time With Father/Step-Father Only
Child Not Residing Full-Time With Either Parent
a) Custody.
b) Children Residing Part-Time With Both Parents
c) Parents Dead/Children Abandoned/Child Fostered
d) Children In Institutions
HABITUAL RESIDENCE
EEA Nationals
Non-EEA Nationals
DISQUALIFICATIONS
Absence from the State
RATES STRUCTURE
Rates of Payment
Basic Monthly Rates
Monthly Rates For Multiple Births
Grants For Multiple Births

PART 2 - CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES
Claim Form
Time For Claiming
Late Claims
Documentation
The Birth Certificate
Offences
Investigation of Claim
Decisions
Appeals
Methods of Payment

PART 3 - PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD
Duration of Payment
Lost /Stolen EIT Social or Public Services card
Changes of Circumstances
Certification Of Entitlement Beyond Age 16
Review
Suspension of payment
Recovery of Overpayments


PART 1 ENTITLEMENT

GENERAL
Description of Scheme

Child Benefit is a payment to parents (usually the mother) for the support of their children. It is paid monthly in respect of each qualified child. There are no PRSI conditions and it is not means tested or taxable.

Information Leaflet:

"Child Benefit" SW 42

Legislation

The main provisions relating to Child Benefit are in Part 4 (Sections 219 to 223 and sections 241, 242, 246, 282, 300, 301, 302, 334, 336, 341) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and in Articles 159, 160, 161, 178, 179, 181, 188, 192, 193, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 206, 211, 242, 243, 244, 246, and 247 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007. ( S.I. No. 142 of 2007.)

Administration

Child Benefit is administered by the Department of Social Protection in St. Oliver Plunkett Rd, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.

QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

The child must be a qualified child.

The applicant must be a qualified person.

To qualify for Child Benefit the applicant must satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition (Please see separate guideline Habitual Residence Condition and section below regarding application of HRC to EEA Workers).

Qualified Child

A child is a qualified child for Child Benefit if s/he is:

  • Under 16 years of age
  • Aged 16 or 17 and either in full-time education or incapable of self-support by reason of long-term physical or mental disability
  • Ordinarily resident in the State
  • Not detained in a reformatory, industrial school or in legal custody.

Full-Time Education:

This involves attending on a full-time basis a course of full-time instruction by day at an institute of education. This does not include courses:

  1. run by FÁS if an allowance is payable (other than "Youthreach" courses).
  2. which form part of an employment or apprenticeship or work experience programme.
  3. which arise from employment.
  4. where the period of paid work experience exceed the time spent in the classroom.
  5. run by Teagasc where, in an academic year, the period of work experience exceeds the time spent in the classroom.

School Holidays

A child will be regarded as continuing to receive full-time education for periods during the academic year where the school is closed due to holidays or other temporary interruptions.

Disability

If a child over 16 and under 18 is medically certified as incapable of self-support by reason of physical or mental disability, and is likely to remain so for a prolonged period, the child is a qualified child for child benefit purposes.

The Deciding Officer will seek the advice of the Chief Medical Officer as to the acceptability of the certification.

Residence of the Child

The child must be ordinarily resident in the State. This requirement is deemed to be satisfied in cases of:

  • members of the Irish Defence Forces or the Irish Civil Service serving abroad,
  • volunteer development workers, or
  • persons temporarily employed abroad by an Irish employer and paying Irish social insurance contributions.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO CHILD BENEFIT

Child Living Full-Time With Mother/Step-Mother

Child Benefit is paid to the mother (or step-mother).

Child Living Full-Time With Father/Step-Father Only

Child Benefit is paid to the father (or step-father).

Child Not Residing Full-Time With Either Parent

  1. Parents residing in separate households
    Child Benefit is payable to the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time. If the child resides 50% of the time with each parent, the mother is paid.
  2. Parents Dead/Children Abandoned/Child Fostered
    Child Benefit is payable to the woman who has care and charge of the child in the household in which the child lives (or the head of the household where there is no such woman in the household).
  3. children In Institutions
    Where a child is placed in an Institution on a voluntary basis, Child Benefit is payable to the person who would normally get the benefit - provided that person is making adequate contributions towards the cost of the child's maintenance in the institution.
    Where the child is placed in an Institution through a Court Order, Child Benefit is only payable if the child returns home on a regular basis.

(NOTE: These Residence rules are different to those applying to Child Dependants for the purpose of Increases in payments of other benefits and assistance.)

HABITUAL RESIDENCE

EEA WORKERS

Child Benefit is classified under EU law as a Family Benefit. Applicants whose entitlement to Child Benefit derive from the application of the provisions of EEC Regulation 883/04 do not have to satisfy the condition as European legislation takes precedence over Irish legislation. In effect the EU rules contained in Articles 11to 15 of Regulation 883/04 governing the payment of family benefit to migrant workers from EEA Member States override the habitual residence requirements under the Social Welfare Acts.

These rules apply to employed or self employed EEA nationals, who have become subject to Irish PRSI since coming to Ireland, and their entitlement continues if they become unemployed and receive Irish Unemployment Benefit.

Payment for children in another EEA State:

The benefit is payable even if his/her children are habitually resident in another EEA State.The amount of Child Benefit payable by the Department of Social Protection will depend on whether there is entitlement to Family Benefits from another EEA State in respect of the same child(ren). The claim should be made in the country of work which contacts the other country to ensure that the full entitlement is received. If your family are residing abroad please state the relevant social security number on your claim form i.e. Polish Claimants must provide the NIP and PESEL Numbers of all family mambers.

See separate Guideline: an Overview of the EU Regulations on Social Security and Social Advantage for Migrant Workers.

NON EEA NATIONALS

Child Benefit is payable in respect of children who are ordinarily resident in the State, regardless of citizenship, provided the applicant satisfies the habitual residence condition. Spouses/Civil Partners/Cohabitants of work permit holders who are not permitted to work in the State are given the benefit of their spouse’s/civil partner’s/cohabitant’s status to enable them satisfy the habitual residence condition for Child Benefit.

Non EEA nationals are required either to provide a Green Card, or have other legal documentation as evidence that they are legally resident in this country before payment is made.

In applying the habitual residence condition, deciding officers must have due regard to the five factors as set down by the European Court of Justice in its relevant case law. These include:

  • length and continuity of residence in a particular country;
  • length and purpose of absence from a particular country;
  • Nature and pattern of employment;
  • Applicant's main centre of interest;
  • future intentions of applicant concerned as it appears from all the circumstances.

See the Habitual Residence Condition Guidelines for further explanation of these factors.

Non-EEA nationals who are engaged in employment or self employment and have at least one month of insurable employment or six months of insurable self employment prior to the date of their claim and whose families also reside with them in Ireland should be treated as having their centre of interest in the State and therefore to be habitually resident for the purpose of claiming Child Benefit.

DISQUALIFICATIONS

Absence from the State

Child Benefit is not payable outside the State except for the specific groups mentioned above.

RATES STRUCTURE

Rates of Payment

Details of current rates are contained in Booklet SW 19.

Basic Monthly Rates

Up to 31st December 2010, there was a standard rate for each of the 1st and 2nd children and a higher rate for the 3rd and subsequent children.

From 1st January 2011, there are three different rates of Child Benefit. There is a standard rate for each of the 1st and 2nd children, a higher rate for the 3rd child and the highest rate payable for the 4th and subsequent children.

Monthly Rates For Multiple Births

Double the rate is payable for triplets or more. For twins, Child Benefit is payable at 1 ½ times the rate. These increased payments continue for as long as all of the affected children remain qualified.

Grants For Multiple Births

A special grant is paid for multiple births. This grant is payable at birth and also at the children's 4th and 12th birthdays.

However, grants for multiple births are no longer paid from 1st January 2012.

PART 2 - CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES

Claim Form

For customers who come into the state, the Child Benefit claim form is a CB1 ( CB2 in the case of a child over 16 Years) and should be completed in full, and in time, and signed by the customer. The customer should quote a Personal Public Service (PPS) Number. If the customer has no PPS number, a temporary number will be allocated and the customer will be instructed to obtain a PPS Number from their local PPS Number Registration Centre.

However, if the child is born in Ireland, when the customer registers the birth of the child the Department of Social Protection will initiate a Child Benefit claim for the child:

  • If the customer is not claiming Child Benefit for another child, a new claim is created by the Department and a partially completed claim form is sent to the customer for her signature and payment details. The child is also given a Personal Public Service (PPS) Number. Alternatively, using the information provided on the form, the customer can log onto www.welfare.ie and complete their claim on-line.
  • If the customer is claiming Child Benefit for another child, the new child is added to the Child Benefit claim and payment begins automatically from the month after the birth. A letter confirming payment will be sent to the customer by the Department. The child is also given a Personal Public Service (PPS) Number.
Time For Claiming

Child Benefit must be claimed within 12 months after either:

  • the month in which the child was born, or
  • the month the child became a member of the family or came to reside in Ireland.

When the claim is made within this time period, Child Benefit will be paid from the first day of the month after the child is born or becomes a member of the family or after the family takes up residence in Ireland.

Late Claims

If a claim is made late, it is paid from the first day of the month after the claim is received. Claims can be backdated if the Deciding Officer is satisfied that there was good cause for the delay in making the claim.

(See also separate guideline on " Claims and Late Claims" re general information on claims and late claims.)

Documentation

The Child Benefit claimant is responsible for the production of certificates, documents, information and evidence required, including Birth Certificates, Green Cards, passports etc..

If the child is not born in Ireland or their birth is not registered within the required time, a birth certificate should be submitted when Child Benefit is being claimed for.. However if this is not immediately available, the claim should be sent in immediately stating that the birth certificate will follow.

The Birth Certificate

These certificates are available at a reduced cost from any Registrar of Births. The reduced rate certificate is retained by Child Benefit Section. All other birth certificates (e.g. full-rate or foreign birth certificates etc.) are returned to the customer.

Baptismal certificates, photocopies of birth certificates or short version birth certificates are not acceptable.

Offences

It is an offence for a person to knowingly make a false or misleading statement or to provide documents or information which s/he knows to be false in some respect for the purpose of obtaining or establishing entitlement to benefit, or benefit at a higher rate. A person found guilty of such an offence could be liable to a fine of €1,500 or a term of imprisonment of up to 6 months or both. Any overpayment of benefit would also be repayable to the Department.

Investigation of Claim

Where there is doubt about the fulfilment of a condition of entitlement, or where necessary documentation is not to hand, further enquiries will be made. The enquiries may be made either by telephone, correspondence with the claimant or by referring the file to a Social Welfare Inspector for investigation.

Decisions

Claims are decided by Deciding Officers appointed by the Minister under Section 299 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. A notification of the decision is issued to the customer, if a claim is disallowed a reason for the disallowance is given. If the claim is allowed, a notification is also issued which includes details as to how payment is to be made.

Appeals

A person who is dissatisfied with the Deciding Officer’s decision may appeal the decision. The appeal should be made in writing to the Chief Appeals Office, Social Welfare Appeals Office, D'Olier House, D'Olier St, Dublin 2, within 21 days of the notification of the Deciding Officer’s decision, stating the grounds of their appeal.

When notified of such an appeal, a statement is prepared on the facts relied on by the Deciding Officer in making the decision and on the extent to which the facts and contentions advanced by the appellant are admitted or disputed. This statement is sent with the file to the Appeals Office.

Where the grounds of appeal put forward by the customer are in conflict with previous statements made by the customer or with the facts/evidence considered by the Deciding Officer, Child Benefit section correspond with the customer for further information before completing the statement.

Where new information is made available as part of an appeal by the customer, a Deciding Officer may revise a decision on entitlement, if it is to the advantage of the customer. The notification of the revised decision should request the customer to advise whether s/he is satisfied with the revised decision or wishes to pursue the appeal. If the customer is satisfied, the Appeals Office must be notified accordingly.

Methods of Payment

The claimant may choose to receive payment either:

  • at the Post Office of choice by Social or Public Services Card or
  • by Direct Payment electronically to a nominated Bank/Building Society/An Post Childcare Savings account.

PART 3 - PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

Duration of Payment

Child Benefit is payable as long as the child remains qualified.

(See qualifying conditions above.)

Lost / Stolen EIT Social or Public Services card

See separate guideline on " Payments" regarding the action to be taken when the customer’s Social or Public Services card is reported as lost or stolen.

Changes of Circumstances

The customer must notify the Department of any changes in circumstances which may affect their entitlement. A list of such circumstances is as follows:

1. Change of address

2. A child is no longer with or in the care of the customer

3. Change of Post Office or Financial Institution

4. Child aged 16 or 17 leaves full time education

5. The customer or their child (ren) leaves the state

6. The customer or their spouse or civil partner or cohabitant starts work in another country

Certification Of Entitlement Beyond Age 16

Payment of child benefit may be extended beyond the age of 16 years to the child's 18th birthday (see above). The Child Benefit section will send the customer an application form in advance of the child’s 16th birthday. This form, signed by the customer and certified by relevant school, or institution, is necessary in order for benefit to be extended. Similarly, if the child is physically or mentally disabled the form should be certified by a Doctor.

Review

A review is initiated when the Department is notified of any changes in the circumstances of the customer or child which may affect entitlement.

Periodic reviews are also carried out to confirm that the qualifying conditions continue to be fulfilled.

Suspension of payment

Where a question arises as to whether the conditions for the receipt of Child Benefit are fulfilled, and initial enquiries fail to establish continuing entitlement, payment may be suspended in whole or in part until the question has been decided.

This will be done for example if there is reason to believe that:

  • either the customer or child is no longer alive, or is not resident at the given address;
  • the child is no longer living with the customer;
  • the customer or child has left the State;
  • the child, being over 16 years of age, is no longer in full-time education or incapacitated.
Recovery of Overpayments

In a situation where an overpayment may arise on a Child Benefit claim, the overpayment must be recovered by the Department.

See separate guidelines on " Overpayment Recovery - Guidelines on the Recovery of Debt by Department of Social Protection”.


Last modified:28/02/2012