Child Benefit for children in hospital or care

Your Child Benefit payments might be affected if your child goes into:

  • care or ‘residential accommodation’ for more than 8 weeks
  • hospital for more than 12 weeks

Residential accommodation (sometimes called ‘residential care’) is paid for by your local council, usually because your child has a mental or physical disability. It’s different from ‘care’ because you’re still legally responsible for your child.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

What you need to do

You should tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if this happens. You can do this:

Breaks in hospital stays

If the child goes back into hospital within 28 days of leaving it, the total time they spent in hospital will still count towards the 12 week limit.

After 8 or 12 weeks

Usually, you’re no longer entitled to Child Benefit after the time limit. There are exceptions to this rule, for example:

  • for children in care - if they spend at least 24 hours a week at home
  • for children in a UK hospital or residential accommodation - if you regularly spend money on them
  • for children in hospital abroad - if they only went abroad to be in hospital and you’re back in the UK and regularly spending money on them

Your partner’s money will only count if you’re married or civil partnered and living together.

Check with HMRC to find out if exceptions apply to you.

You may be able to claim Child Benefit again if the child is in care but spends 2 nights in a row each week or 7 days or more in a row at home. Contact HMRC to find out what to do next.