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Claiming Child Benefit Abroad

Claiming child benefit abroad can be a useful payment to receive, and the advantages help to make up for a small part of your required income in Greece.

If you have two children you could get about 163 euros per month, which in today's economic climate is not to be sniffed at. This payment could contribute to food, petrol or utility bills. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for this state benefit when they leave behind the United Kingdom. Read on to discover where you stand on this matter.

Who qualifies in the UK?

Child Benefit is a tax-free regular payment available to anyone bringing up a child or young person; it isn't affected by income or savings. Individuals in the UK who are raising either a child aged under 16 or a young person under 19 who is either studying in full-time learning or an approved training schedule, or a 16 or 17 year old who only just left full-time further school or an approved training scheme and has registered for work or training with the Careers or Connexions Agency qualifies for this benefit and they do not need to be the parent of the child in question.

How much do you get?

In the UK you can claim £20.30 every week for the eldest child and £13.40 per week for each additional child. The income can be paid into a UK bank account on a four weekly basis.

What if you move overseas?

If you relocate to Greece or the Greek Islands, you will not automatically receive benefits from the United Kingdom. In fact your entitlement depends on whether your stay here is short-term or permanent.

Firstly, you must contact the Child Benefit Office and notify them of some new your circumstances. There are lots of ways to make contact with them - you can either contact them online, phone them or text them between 8.00 am to 8.00 pm seven days a week. Their helpline number is 0845 302 1444, text phone 0845 302 1474. Just because you are moving overseas does not necessarily mean that you will not qualify for child benefit, although you do need to check.

Civil servants and armed forces personnel

Special rules apply if you or your partner work abroad as a UK civil servant or a member HM Armed Forces and you are working in Greece for the UK Government. If you fall under this section and were posted to Greece, while living in the UK, you may also claim Child Benefit. Your child does not have to live with you abroad in this case.

Temporary stays

If you only spend eight weeks in Greece and then decide it is not for you, you can reclaim your child benefit to cover this period. Likewise, if you expect to be away from UK for less than 52 weeks on what the state calls a 'temporary absence' you will still qualify.

Long-term moves

If your move is long-term or at least longer than 52 weeks you are only allowed to claim Child Benefit if you continue paying UK National Insurance contributions. If your child stays in the UK and is being taken care of by someone else, that person can claim the Child Benefit allowance to pay for the cost of supporting for your child.

Special rules apply if you move to Greece and are employed or self-employed and pay into that country's social security scheme, or if you qualify for any of the benefits that follow: unemployment benefit, benefit for orphans, benefit for sickness, old age pension, benefit for an accident that happened when you were at work, benefit because you have an industrial disease on the official list. Generally you are able to claim Child Benefit from that country you can usually get their children's allowance and you can qualify even if your child or children stay in the UK.

When the tables are turned

If your child goes abroad but you do not, you may still claim benefit if their stay is only temporary i.e. less than 12 weeks. If your child is temporarily abroad for more than 12 weeks, you may still get Child Benefit if they are abroad to receive full time non advanced education or to make an educational or foreign visit that is approved in writing by their UK school or to get medical treatment for an illness that began before they left the UK.

Nevertheless it is wise to be sure that your individual situation conforms to the law. For more advice about claiming child benefit abroad check out these government websites at or