Child Benefit claimants wake up to 'minus' in bank account after HMRC glitch

A Child Benefit delay from HMRC "threw a family into disarray", with the tax department under fire after payments were delayed on Monday, June 3. A mother-of-four was among 500,000 people affected by the missed payment date yesterday.

Christine McCrea, from Dunmurry, told BBC News NI that she relied "quite heavily" on the money. "On Monday morning my electric meter usually would be in minus," she said. "I’m running through to the end of the week and I’m trying to be sparse on electrics so that it won’t knock off on Friday, which means over the weekend I incur a big minus into my electric metre so on Monday I really need that money to top it up."

A spokesperson for HMRC said they were "very sorry" for the issue. "So when I woke up instead of having the £52 that I was expecting there was minus £22 and I just went into a state of panic," she said. "When you’re trying to work on credit score that direct debit will affect me for a while."

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"Very fortunately for me a neighbour was able to give me some nappies," she said. A spokesperson for HMRC said they were “very sorry that some customers did not receive their scheduled Child Benefit payments as expected". "We understand the concern and difficulty this may have caused," they said.

It promised it was "putting measures in place to prevent this from happening again". "Anyone who has incurred a direct financial loss because of the delayed payment can apply for redress by completing our online complaints form," it went on to add.

Replying to the statement on Twitter/X, a claimant fumed: "In the 12 years I have been receiving child benefit, this is the very first time I have not received a payment. I can only assume that the response from some people that this has happened to them often."

A second raged: "The fact you seem happy to tweet that and make it sound like we should be happy you have fixed the issue is a disgrace. Wednesday????? Wednesday??? What a joke HMRC is"