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Understanding the Child Trust Fund voucher
If your child is entitled to a Child Trust Fund (CTF) account, you will normally be sent a voucher. You use the voucher to open the account. Find out who gets the voucher, when to expect it and what to do when you get it or if you don't receive it.
Who gets the voucher
Once your child qualifies for a CTF account, the voucher is sent to the person who receives Child Benefit (or the European family benefit) for them.
You won’t get a voucher if your child was born before 1 September 2002 or on or after 3 January 2011.
You won't get a voucher if a local authority (or a health trust in Northern Ireland) started to look after your child before you claimed Child Benefit for them. This is because HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will open the account for your child instead.
You can find out more about who can get a CTF account in 'Child Trust Fund – the basics'.
When to expect the voucher
You'll usually get the voucher within four weeks of getting Child Benefit for your child.
If you get a European family benefit instead of UK Child Benefit, it may take slightly longer to send you the voucher. This is because HMRC may need more information to check that your child qualifies for a Child Trust Fund.
If your CTF voucher doesn't arrive
If you don’t get your voucher within four weeks, you can apply online or contact the CTF Helpline to get a replacement.
You should get a replacement voucher within a month. If you don't, contact the Child Trust Fund Helpline again.
If the original turns up, you should destroy it. It's not like a cheque - you don't need to cancel it.
What to do when you get the voucher
When you get the voucher, take the following steps:
- step one - check that your child's name and date of birth are correct - if not contact the CTF Helpline straightaway
- step two - decide who will open the account - it can be anyone with parental responsibility for the child such as a parent or a step-parent
- step three - decide what type of account to open - there are different types of accounts you can choose from
- step four - choose a Child Trust Fund account provider
- step five - contact your chosen provider to open the account
Try to open the account by the expiry date shown on the voucher. If you don't, you may lose out on the £3,600 you can put into the account in the first year.
You can't pay the voucher into the account that you get your Child Benefit paid into. This is because the CTF account must be in your child’s name.
If you don’t open an account before the voucher runs out, HMRC will open one for your child and write to tell you about it. You can change to a different type of CTF account if you want.
It's also a good idea to make a note of the Unique Reference Number - or 'URN' - on your voucher and keep it somewhere safe. This helps to identify your child's account if you have any questions at a later date.
If you don't use the voucher by the expiry date
Vouchers issued before 1 January 2012 are valid for 12 months. Those issued on or after 1 January 2012 are valid for 60 days.
You have until the expiry date shown to choose the type of account you want to open.
If you don't open an account by the expiry date, HMRC will automatically open an account for your child. HMRC will write and tell you where your child’s account has been opened.
You are responsible for managing the CTF account HMRC has opened for your child. You will need to become the 'registered contact'.
If you lose your voucher
If you lose your voucher or it’s stolen before it was due to expire, you can apply online to get a replacement voucher.
Provided by HM Revenue & Customs who administer the Child Trust Fund