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Are you one of 577,000 who had their Child Benefit delayed? HMRC has started paying some redress – it’s not too late to claim

Child Benefit claimants are starting to receive redress from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after their payments were delayed earlier this month due to a "processing error". If you're one of around 577,000 people affected and you were left out of pocket or suffered distress, we've step-by-step guidance on how to complain below – and it's not too late to do so.

HMRC says complaints will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, though it has confirmed to MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) that it will offer: 

  • Up to £50 where someone has "experienced distress" due to the delayed payment. To assess this, HMRC says it'll consider whether the claimant is "vulnerable", the impact of the mistake – such as stress caused by going without a payment for days – and how long the issue went unresolved (in this situation this would have been two days).

  • Redress covering any associated charges. For example, if you've provided evidence that you'd incurred an unauthorised overdraft or failed direct debit charge. This could be in excess of £50.  

There's no deadline for submitting a complaint, but HMRC has encouraged those affected to do so soon in order to receive a redress payment more quickly. 

Out of pocket or faced distress due to the delay? Here's how to claim redress

Here's our step-by-step guide on how to complain online:

  1. Go to the complaints form at the top of this Gov.uk page. You'll then be asked to log in with your Government Gateway ID and password. If you've forgotten your Government Gateway details, you can retrieve your user ID or reset your password online. If you've never used Government Gateway before, you can register on Gov.uk.

  2. Select 'Make a new complaint'. You'll then be asked what your complaint is about. Select 'Child Benefit including Guardian's Allowance, claims and appeals'. After each page of the form, click 'Save and continue' or, if you want to finish the complaint later, select 'Save and come back later'.

  3. Give details of your complaint. Explain exactly what happened, including the date you were supposed to receive your Child Benefit payment, how the situation affected you and details of any charges you incurred. You won't be asked to provide evidence of your charges at this stage, however HMRC may contact you to ask for this after you've made your complaint. So ensure you gather evidence, such as screenshots of fees or bank statements.

  4. When asked if you know what you want HMRC to do to make things right, click 'Yes'. You'll be able to explain here that you want redress for distress caused by the delay or costs you incurred due to the late payment.

    On this page, you'll also be asked if you need any extra help making your complaint. If you answer 'yes', you'll be able to provide details of the help required – see Gov.uk for more details on how HMRC can support you. If you don't need extra help, select 'No'.

  5. Provide your contact details. You'll be asked if you want HMRC to contact you by phone. If you do, select 'Yes' and input your phone number. If you don't, select 'No'. Regardless of your answer to this question, you'll then be asked whether HMRC can contact you by email. If you're happy with this, select 'Yes' and enter your email address, and if not, select 'No'.

  6. You'll see a summary of all the information you've entered – check this is all correct. Then, click 'Save and continue'. On the next page, you'll be asked to confirm that all the info you've provided is accurate. There's also an option to enter your email address, so you can receive confirmation of your complaint – but you don't have to do this. Click 'Confirm and send' to submit your complaint.

  7. You should hear back within 15 days of submitting your complaint. HMRC will let you know the name and contact details of the person dealing with your complaint. Once it has reviewed your complaint, it'll get in touch to let you know the outcome.

    If you're unhappy with the outcome, you'll be told how to ask for a review by email or over the phone. If your case is reviewed and you're still unhappy with the final decision, you can contact the Independent Adjudicator.

If you don't want to complain online, you can contact HMRC over the phone by ringing 0300 200 3100 between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Friday – though be aware that it's likely quicker to submit a complaint online if you're able to do so. Make sure you have your national insurance number to hand.

Alternatively, you can complain by post. Make sure you write 'Complaint' on your envelope and at the top of your letter. See Gov.uk for further details on what your letter should include. You can also see Gov.uk for the address to post complaints to.

Watch out for scammers pretending to be from HMRC

HMRC is NOT proactively contacting claimants about this issue. It'll also never ask for your personal information or bank details over social media or via text. So remain alert to people claiming to be from HMRC.

HMRC's official accounts on Twitter/X are @HMRCgovuk@HMRCcustomers and @HMRCpressoffice – any other accounts claiming to be HMRC are fraudulent.

You can forward HMRC-related suspicious emails to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk, texts to 60599 or report a scam phone call on Gov.uk. To check if a letter you've received is genuine, you can visit Gov.uk for a list of recent letters sent by HMRC or call 0300 200 3500 if you're still unsure.

For more info on HMRC-related scams, see Gov.uk. If you think you've been a victim of a scam or want to know more on how to avoid one, see our 30+ ways to stop scams guide.

Thousands of Child Benefit payments were delayed by two days

This issue of the Child Benefit delays was first highlighted when MSE founder Martin Lewis conducted a poll about it on Twitter/X, after spotting complaints on social media. Martin's poll indicated that 76% ofChild Benefit claimants due to be paid on 3 June were missing it, though HMRC later confirmed this to be around 30%. See below for the full results of Martin's poll.

Here's what HMRC said about the situation:

  • 30% of people who should have been paid on Monday 3 June didn't get their payment on time. Martin initially estimated that "huge numbers of people" were likely to be impacted and HMRC has since confirmed the issue has hit 577,000 people who receive Child Benefit either weekly or monthly. According to HMRC's latest figures from August 2023, there were 6.91 million families in receipt of Child Benefit payments.

  • Payments due on Monday 3 June were instead made on the morning of Wednesday 5 June. At first, HMRC couldn't put a timeframe on fixing the problem, only saying it was "urgently" working on it. It then told us Monday's payments would be paid on Wednesday 5 June. HMRC confirmed to us on the Wednesday morning that the payments were made successfully.

    Child Benefit is paid four-weekly on either a Monday or Tuesday and HMRC confirmed that payments due on Tuesday 4 June were made on time.

Martin asked his followers on Twitter if they'd received their Child Benefit payment

Martin tweeted his followers on Monday 3 June to ask whether those due their Child Benefit payment that day had received it.

At the time, more than 8,000 people had responded, with around 76% of those who were expecting Child Benefit payments saying they hadn't got them – although this poll was self-selecting, so those who hadn't got a payment were more likely to respond.

Here's a selection of some of the responses we've seen from people affected:

What does HMRC say?

An HMRC spokesperson said: "We are very sorry that some customers did not receive their scheduled Child Benefit payments as expected and we understand the concern and difficulty this may have caused. We have now fixed the problem and are putting measures in place to prevent this from happening again."

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