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Home Advice and information Big changes When your child turns 16 video - As your child moves through education
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As your child moves through education

The decisions your child makes as they move through education can affect your benefits, tax credits and housing options.

As your child gets older, they’ll be thinking about what they want to do when they finish school. Their choice to remain in education, or leave, has a huge impact on your entitlements to benefits and tax credits.

Advice from Gingerbread

Make sure you’re prepared for any change. Watch Gingerbread Adviser Julie talk through what impact your child’s decision would have.

Is your child choosing to remain in education?

  • Your child benefit and tax credits will remain the same if your child chooses to remain in full-time education such as doing AS levels or resitting GCSE’s at a 6th form or college.
  • Your child benefits and tax credits also remain the same if your child is going on to do an unpaid apprenticeship, sometimes called traineeships.
  • All you have to do is inform the child benefit office and the tax credit office.
  • If you receive housing benefit, council tax reduction and child maintenance, all this should continue as usual.

Is your child choosing to leave education to work or begin a paid apprenticeship with an employer?

  • Your child benefit and child tax credit for them will stop when they leave education because they are no longer classed as your dependant. You may want to ask them to make a contribution to the household bills instead.
  • If you work less than 30 hours a week, working tax credit will also stop on the same day unless you are receiving any tax credit for other children.
  • However, if you are working 30 hours or more a week you may still qualify for a lower amount.
  • If you are receiving any housing benefit or council tax reduction

®    These benefits won’t be affected If your child is under 18.

®   If they are 18 or over, the amount of housing benefit and council tax reduction you receive will be reduced, depending on how much they earn for work or the paid apprenticeship.

  • If you do get any child maintenance, this will also come to an end as your child is no long classed as a  dependant. However, you may wish to make a private agreement for payments to continue.

Advice from Jo

From the sense of pride gained from seeing your child take their first steps into adulthood, to making sure they’re prepared for the responsibility it brings, single mum Jo shares her experience of her child leaving school.

Teach your children about money

Open them a bank account to encourage them to be financially responsible

  • I think you’ve got to teach your children, regardless of your situation, how important it is to watch your money

Keep a note of everything

Watch what’s going in and what’s going out of your bank account. If you notice that something has stopped then get on top of it straight away. Also take note of the date you spoke to someone and whom, so that you you have a record to refer back to.

To find out more about Jo’s experience as a single parent read her story.

If you still have questions about the changes that happen when your child decides to remain in education, or leave, we have more advice tools available on the right hand side.


FrankVol avatar
31 August 2017 23:04

Hi, my son's half sister recently came to live with us. She is 16 and through an argument with her biological parents she decided to live up here and go to college. Her mother has told her she will have to support herself, as she is giving up all benefits for her. Where do I stand as to her education? Take into account that there are now 4 of us in a 2 bedroom flat! 2 boys aged 12 and 13, an Adult Male and a 16 year old girl. How do I get help for my situation? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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Related info:


Tax credits when your circumstances change

See all factsheets ....

Further advice

When your child turns 16 – brief interactive guide

When your child turns 16 or leaves education – step by step guide


Keep up to date with the latest changes to benefits and tax credits

Single parents and cuts to tax credits