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Home Educating and claiming benefits

You are entitled to exactly the same benefits as you would be if your child was in school.

You do not need to inform them that you now Home Educate if your child is under 16, just as you wouldn’t inform them of the name of a new school.

Please read each benefit below for more information.

We can not take responsibility for the accuracy of this information as benefit rule changes happen quickly and often quietly so please clarify the below information if in doubt. Below we address Universal Credits, Tax Credits and Child Benefit.

Pre turning 16 we suggest not mentioning Home Education to benefits as we hear all too often people have their claims cancelled, or extra demands placed on them, this is due to the staff not understanding what Home Education is.  They often misunderstand it to mean your child is not in education despite legally being required to be under 16. Home education is not a factor for claiming benefits pre 16. This is different from applying for DLA and PIP as these are not means tested, it can be very beneficial to mention home education when applying for disability benefits.

Universal Credit work expectations. Home Educators are tied to the same rules as a schooled family, the same criteria with regards to being expected to be looking for or be in work applies. Home Educating does not remove that expectation. Unless you claim carers allowance, or are unable to work due to health reasons. You can look for evening work or daytime work etc, what ever suits you the best, you can inform UC of the hours you are available to work. If you need child care there are Home Ed friendly child minders out there to look after your child whilst you work (remember Home Education doesn't have to be school hours or days). However the UC advisor is not allowed to tell you to use school as a child care option.

UNDER 16 YOU ARE UNDER NO REQUIREMENT TO INFORM ANY BENEFIT THAT YOU HOME EDUCATE doing so can cause complications and misunderstandings. This is the same for if your child moves school, it is not information benefits need to know (nor do they ask).

If you home educate and child turns 16 you are entitled to continue to claim UC and Child Benefit as Home Education is an approved educational option. We would suggest you use terms like home education is continuing, full-time, supervised, non-advanced study when describing the provision.

You will need to inform UC in the September after turning 16 that they are continuing with Home Education as they do not always make first contact and can stop claims without the necessary information.

Child Benefit usually makes contact in the summer at the end of what would have been year 11. You can complete the information online for Child Benefit or they may send form CH(A)297B before the end of year 11 usually. If your child is continuing in Home Education (ie they were home educated before the end of year 11) you should then be sent form CHFTE4 requesting the required information relating to the child’s course of education to determine entitlement to Child Benefit. Be aware staff may not know the CHFTE4 exists you may need to request it. Filling the information in online appears to ask fewer questions, but read below for tips on how to answer. 

CHFTE4 Questions (as of May 2024)
1) On what date did they last go to school or college.

If your child has never attended school then write 'NAME has always been home educated. 
This question is to check that your child was deregistered before the end of year 11. 

2) When did they first start to be educated somewhere other than at school or college?

This would be the term after the fifth birthday, or the day you deregistered.

3) When do you expect their education... to end?

This could be the August after their 19th birthday. 

4) What subjects are they studying?

Write this in school like terminology, such as maths and English, art, geography, etc, Remember home education does not have to resembled school, but it is important to describe the home education in terms Child Benefit understand ie if the child watches history documentaries as part of their learning, then you would list history. You need enough subjects so a full time education is described (we suggest 3 subjects minimum). Full time for benefits is at least 12 hours of learning. 

5) Are they studying for any qualifications?

Here you would put whether they are planning on taking GCSEs, functional skills exams, or Alevels. If you are not sure then we suggest including this as a yes. And a June date of the year they may take the exams. 

6) Do they get suervised study, tuition or instruction? 

List all of the subjects you mentioned in Q4. Your address. And at least 12 hours. 

7) Tell us about any other study they do as part of their course each week.

We would suggest including something like 'independent learning time completing coursework' and up to around 6 hours. 

8) Do they have a plan or assessment made by a Local Authority, which identifies and assesses their special educational needs? eg an EHCP

If your child has an EHCP send a copy, if your child has any other statement from the LA supporting their SEN it can be beneficial to send that too. This is important if you are new to home education and your child is post 16. 

9) Has the Local Authority approved the education?

If you have had previous communication from the LA confirming the suitability of the home education, send a copy. If you are unknown to the LA we suggest writing 'My LA have never made contact, however we have been home educating since xx date, home education is a secretary of state approved alternative to school.'  If you are new to home education post 16 and have no info from the EHE team (which you are not likely to have) state 'The LA have no responsibility to children aged 16+ therefore they have not made contact with us.'

10) Do they get ..... benefit... in their own right?

if yes, then you probably won't be entitled to child benefit. 


If you are on legacy benefits such as Tax Credits, they do not appear to be making contact anymore as your child approaches 16 years of age/end of school year 11. We strongly suggest that before the end of August you contact them to inform them your child is staying in education, you can do it online.

Compulsory school age ends in the June of year 11 or in Scotland if your child’s 16th birthday falls on or between 1 March and 30 September they can leave school in the May of that year. If their birthday falls between October and February, they can leave at the start of the winter holidays, therefore benefits will naturally stop unless they are notified your child is staying in education, this includes Home Education.


Starting home education post 16

There has been an update to the eligibility criteria for Child benefit, this now includes being able to claim Child Benefit if you start Home Educating post 16 and your child has special needs. Your post 16 child can be removed from school or college and you will now be entitled Child Benefit if they have a statement of their needs, being known to the EHE team is beneficial in this situation (though they have no right to demand information as your child is no longer compulsory school age). Please read the FOI for further information.

The change means that when a young person with a disability or SEN starts Home Education after the age of 16 and that young person meets certain conditions, the parents or guardians of that young person can continue to receive Child Benefit.

The legislation requires that a statement of special educational needs is to be provided and a local authority has assessed a programme of home education as suitable for that person’s special needs, in order to satisfy this condition.

What constitutes a statement? LA, we assume benefit teams will accept anything such as EHCP, a literal statement from the SEN or EHE team or similar.

Whilst there does not appear to be any SEN rule when starting home education post 16, please be aware that new to home educating families claiming UC are having difficulty with them refusing claims due to a misunderstanding. Therefore keep communication simple 'I am informing you that my child's educational setting has changed from the college I previously notified you of, xxx is now home educated. They are in receipt of a full time and supervised education, they are learning x, y and z at XX level. They are still in receipt of Child Benefit due to being in full time education, and as per your own rules my claim should continue as home education is an approved (by the Secretary of State) education option.'
The FOI below can be quoted if you have difficulties claiming UC post 16.


If your child is still compulsory school age (pre end of what would be year 11) there is no need to inform the Child Benefit or Universal Credit office that you are Home Educating as all children under 16 are entitled to it (income dependent) informing them causes confusion and sometimes stops your money. 



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