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    We have a claimant who has two children.One of them has a Halifax account in joint names with the resident father.The child benefit is being paid into this account and £50.00 each month is being transferred from this account into the parent’s joint bank account.The interest paid is also being transferrred into the parent’s bank account.

    It would appear that the parents are using their child’s savings account as their own.

    Should we therefore include the balance in this account as part of the parents’ capital? Or as it is in joint names take half? ( I understand that it is usual for the parent’s name to be on a child’s savings account).
    Thanks in advance for any advice.


    At the risk of being told I’m cynical(!) are you believing that this is being done to increase an award of, or obtain, HB/CTB? If so then you would treat the amounts as deprivation. Although, I admit, I may have misunderstood this (it is virtually pre – caffeine after all!) I don’t see why the amounts are being paid into the child’s account and then transferred (unless there is an administration order?)

    However, if you are satisfied that there is nothing underhand etc. Then it is childrens’ capital and so would now be totally ignored. The parent’s name has to be on the account as the children are minors.

    It does seem somewhat unusual that the amounts are being transferred into the parents’ account and so this would become their capital once the transfer is done.

    I think the amount in the children’s account falls to be disregarded.

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................


    I think you need to look at the entire cycle of the money.

    It starts out as the parents’ in the form of Child Benefit.

    £50 pcm is also the parents’ as is the interest.

    If you take the view that they have made a gift of all of the Child Ben to the child (and there are no deprivation issues) then I think you are in the position where the £50.00 and the interest is income as well as the Child Benefit!

    If you take the view that they are making a gift of the Child Benefit to the child less £50 pcm and any interest accrued on it I think the interest is income since it is accrued on the child’s capital and then transferred to the parents.

    The final possibility is that the money belongs to the parents in substance although this is not the case in form. If this is the case then treat as their capital.

    The first option does not really make a lot of sense but could exist.

    The choice is really between 2 & 3 – If there are no other withdrawals from the account and the parents maintain it is the child’s account then I would be tempted to accept that as being the case.

    What is the parent’s explanation for the situation?


    There is no explanation as the claim has just come in. It looks like it is child benefit being withdrawn ( it’s just under the amount of child benefit).
    A colleague tells me she does the same thing with her child benefit.
    I think we will disregard the capital and just count the money going into the parents’ accont as their capital.


    Erm I may be being a bit stupid here! but you are taking the child benefit into account as income in any case – so you can’t treat it as capital as well can you?


    No, but it is part of the balance of their own bank account, just like any other income paid into a current account. That’s what I meant.

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