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Child Benefit: Foreigners

Volume 489: debated on Friday 20 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what checks he requires to be made on the validity of documentation supplied by non-UK EU citizens in the course of child benefit claims; (264450)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of non-UK EU citizens claiming child benefit; and how many children in respect of whom such benefit is paid are not resident in the UK.

I have been asked to reply.

Any person making a claim for child benefit must provide documentary evidence of the child being claimed for, such as an original birth certificate, adoption certificate or passport. HMRC checks the validity of this document upon receipt. All claims for child benefit are subject to a wide range of checks throughout the life of each claim and it would be inappropriate to disclose a complete list of such checks as to do so may provide assistance to those attempting to defraud the system. Claims by EU migrant workers to family benefits in the UK (child benefit and child tax credit) are subject to additional checks between HMRC and the competent authorities of the other member state on the composition of the worker's family resident in that other state and whether family benefits are in payment there.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 1306W, for my response to his request for estimates of receipts.