What is Child Benefit?
Child Benefit is a monthly payment to the parents or guardians of children under 16 years of age. You can get Child Benefit for children aged 16 and 17, if they are in full-time education or full-time training or have a disability and cannot support themselves.
Child Benefit is not paid for any child aged 18 or older, even if they are in full-time education or training.
Child Benefit is not taxable.
Changes to the age limit in 2024
From 1 May 2024, Child Benefit will be extended to children aged 18 who are in full-time education or who have a disability.
My child turns 18 before May 2024
If your child turns 18 before May 2024, they will get Child Benefit from 1 May 2024 until their 19th birthday if they:
- Are in full-time education, or
- Have a disability
You will not get Child Benefit for the months between their 18th birthday and 1 May 2024.
You don’t need to reapply for the payment if:
- Your child is still in full-time education, and
- The DSP still has their valid education certificate.
Your payment will start from May 2024 until your child’s 19th birthday, or their education certificate expires, whichever comes first.
My child turns 18 after May 2024
If your child turns 18 in May 2024 or anytime after that, you will automatically get Child Benefit until your child’s 19th birthday, or until your child’s education certificate expires (whichever happens first).
Education certificate expires before 19th birthday
If your child’s education certificate expires before their 19th birthday, the DSP will send you a new one. You must complete this certificate with a stamp from your child’s school or college, and return it to the DSP to continue getting Child Benefit.
Rules for getting Child Benefit
Child Benefit is paid to the child’s mother or step-mother. If the child does not live with their mother or step-mother but lives with their father or step-father, Child Benefit can be paid to them. If a child is not living with or being maintained by their parents, the person caring for the child may get Child Benefit.
To qualify for Child Benefit, you must be living in Ireland and satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC).
Child Benefit is paid for a child aged under 16.
You can get child Benefit for a child aged 16 or 17, if they are in full-time education or full-time training or have a disability and cannot support themselves.
You should apply for Child Benefit within 12 months of:
- The birth of your baby or
- The month the child became a member of your family or
- The month your family came to live in Ireland or
- The date you started working in Ireland if your children are living in another EU country
Child aged 16 or 17 in school
If your child is 16 or 17 and in full-time education, you will get Child Benefit until June in each school year. You will not get another payment until they return to full-time education in September.
You will get Child Benefit for July and August only if your child returns to education in September. In August, the Child Benefit section will send you an application form. You must complete and return it when your child returns to full-time education in September.
When you get your next payment, it will include any arrears (money owed to you). This will include Child Benefit for July and August. If your child turns 18 in July or August and returns to full-time education in September, you will get any arrears of Child Benefit, up until the month they turn 18.
If you do not get a form in the post from the Child Benefit section, fill in form Child Benefit CB2 in September. See ‘How to apply for Child Benefit’ below.
Changes in circumstances
You must tell the DSP in writing about any changes in your circumstances which could affect your Child Benefit claim. Examples of changes in circumstances are:
- You change your address
- Your child no longer lives with you, or is not in your care
- You start using a different bank or post office for your benefit payments
- Your child, who is aged 16 or 17, leaves full-time education
- You or your children leave Ireland
- You or your partner start work in another country
Use Form CB56 to tell the DSP of any changes to your circumstances.
You will also meet the HRC, if you have been working in Ireland but become unemployed and get Jobseeker’s Benefit.
If your child is living in a different EU/EEA country from you, you should also apply for any family benefit payments you are entitled to in the country where they live.
UK and Child Benefit
On 31 January 2020, the UK exited the EU - this was often referred to as Brexit. Following Brexit, the rules for getting Child Benefit continue as before. For example:
- If you work in the UK and live in Ireland, you will continue to get your UK Child Benefit and top-up of Irish Child Benefit.
- If you work in Ireland and live in the UK, you will continue to get your Irish Child Benefit.
- If you work and live in Ireland with your children, and your partner (spouse, civil partner or cohabitant) works in the UK, you should apply for Child Benefit in Ireland.
If you are not an EU or EEA citizen, you must meet the habitual residence condition to quality for Child Benefit in Ireland.
If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen and are legally working in Ireland, you may qualify for Child Benefit if your child is resident in Ireland or in another EU state.
More information is available in our document on habitual residence.
Fraudulent claims for Child Benefit
If you make false or misleading statements to try to get Child Benefit for yourself, or for any other person, you may be prosecuted. This could result in a fine or a prison term, or both.
Rate of Child Benefit
Child Benefit is €140 a month for each child. It is paid on the first Tuesday of every month. If you start getting Child Benefit for the first time for a baby, it will be paid at the start of the month after the birth of the child.
For twins, Child Benefit is paid at one-and-a-half times the normal monthly rate for each child. For triplets and other multiple births, Child Benefit is paid at double the normal monthly rate for each child.
Monthly Child Benefit rate 2024
Child Benefit is a universal payment. This means that your income level and your social insurance (PRSI) record do not affect whether you get it.
You do not have to claim Child Benefit. If you decide not to claim it for a new baby or decide to stop getting it for your children, you can contact the Child Benefit Section. See ‘Where to apply’ below.
If you have twins, you get one-and-a-half times the normal monthly rate of Child Benefit for each child. For triplets and other multiple births, Child Benefit is paid at double the normal monthly rate for each child.
How to apply for Child Benefit
Who can apply for Child Benefit
Child Benefit is paid to the child’s mother or step-mother. If the child does not live with their mother or step-mother but lives with their father or step-father, Child Benefit can be paid to them.
If a child is not living with or being maintained by their parents, the person caring for the child may get Child Benefit.
Applying for Child Benefit after the birth of your baby
If your baby is born in Ireland, you will need to register the birth of your baby within 3 months of the birth. After you do this, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) will begin a Child Benefit claim for your child.
Your new baby will also be given a Personal Public Service (PPS) number.
If you are not claiming for any other children and you register the birth of your baby within 3 months, the Child Benefit Section will begin a Child Benefit claim and send you a partly completed form CB1 (pdf). The form will also include information on how you can claim for your new baby online. You can claim online only if you are invited to do so by the DSP.
If you are already claiming Child Benefit for another child and you register the birth of your new baby within 3 months, your new baby will be added to your Child Benefit claim. Payment begins automatically from the month after the birth. The DSP will write to you confirming when payment will start.
If your child was not born in Ireland, or if you did not register their birth within 3 months, you must fill in Child Benefit form CB1 and send it to the Child Benefit Section. See ‘Where to apply’ below.
Applying for Child Benefit for a child aged 16 or 17
You can continue to get Child Benefit for a child aged 16 or 17 if they have a disability or if they are in full-time education or full-time training. You will need to fill in Child Benefit form CB2 one month before your child’s 16th birthday.
The CB2 form must also be signed and officially stamped by:
- The school or college, if your child is in full-time education or
- The training organisation, if your child is in full-time training or
- A doctor, if your child has a disability and is unable to financially support themselves
If you are already getting Child Benefit for this child, the DSP will send you a partly completed application form. You will need to confirm that your child is still in full-time education or full-time training, or has a disability and cannot support themselves.
If this is your first time claiming Child Benefit for this child, you should fill in both application form CB1 and CB2.