£42 HMRC message issued to millions of households

Hundreds of thousands of families have been told they may be able to claim back cash from HMRC. It applies to parents whose Child Benefit payments were delayed this week.

Around half a million people did not receive their benefit payments on time due to an HMRC glitch forcing some parents to take emergency measures. People who used a credit card because of the payment delay or suffered a "financial loss" in some other way have been told they may be able to claim money back from HMRC.

Child benefit is worth £25.60 for the eldest child and £16.95 for each younger child. This means parents with two kids get £42 a week.

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Finance expert Amy Knight from NerdWallet UK explained: "This week’s delay has caused financial and emotional distress for households whose direct debits, standing orders and other essential payments depend on their Child Benefit payment arriving on time."

“Many of those left in the lurch when their Child Benefit payment didn’t come in will have gone into their overdrafts, incurring fees. If you are worried about how to get out of your overdraft, talk to your bank: they may be able to lower the interest or offer you a repayment plan that allows you to pay it off more slowly.

“If you used a credit card to bridge the gap while waiting for your Child Benefit, don’t delay clearing the balance, because interest can build up quickly. If you can prove you’ve suffered a financial loss due to HMRC’s issue, it’s possible to apply for your money back through their online complaints form.

"However, this may not be a quick solution. It may be tempting to borrow money to pay outstanding bills, but contact your providers first to request an extension or set up a payment plan.

“Be aware that payday loan companies can charge as much as 1,500% APR, so you could end up owing much more than you borrowed, putting further strain on your finances and your mental health. Payday loans should be treated as a last resort if your provider can’t help and borrowing from family and friends is not an option.”