Child tax credit – three’s a crowd?

There is no entitlement to the child element of child tax credit for a third or later child born on or after 6 April 2017. There are certain exceptions, some of which might not be that obvious. However, the entitlement rules have recently been relaxed.

The two-child restriction will apply for brand new universal credit claims from 1 February onwards regardless of your children’s dates of birth, and the entitlement to universal credit is currently on the same basis. There is no restriction to childcare or to the disability element of tax credits.

Recent relaxation

Since 28 November 2018, the two-child restriction no longer applies to adopted children, or to children who are looked after by friends or family, but not the child’s parent or step-parent. This exception does not apply if you adopt a child from abroad.

Twins, triplets or more

If the first child of a multiple birth is either your first or second child, the child element will be paid for all the children born as part of the multiple birth. If you already have two children and a further pregnancy results in a multiple birth, you will receive the child element for all but one of the multiple birth children. For example, if you already have two children and then have triplets, you will receive the child element for two of the triplets.


If you are claiming for children and one of them has a child, you can claim for their child too. The claim continues until your child makes a claim in their own right or you are no longer responsible for your child.

Non-consensual conception

There is an exception for any child that was born as result of rape or other non-consensual conception. This could include children born within an abusive relationship, unless the claimant continues to live with the other biological parent.

Let us know if you require guidance.