New parents are being warned not to miss out on payments worth up to £1,248 a year by applying online now.

For the first time since it was launched 47 years ago, parents can now claim Child Benefit online, HMRC has announced.

Child Benefit is worth £24 a week – or £1,248 a year – for the oldest, or only child. The rate for each additional child is £15.90 a week – or almost £827 a year.

Claims can be backdated for up to 12 weeks and families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible so they don’t miss out.

Nigel Huddleston, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Family time is precious, especially when you have a newborn baby, so it’s great news that HMRC is enabling parents to save time on claiming their child benefit online so they can focus on what truly matters.”

Suzanne Newton, HMRC’s Interim Director General for Transformation, added:  “We know how much parents and guardians rely on Child Benefit to help with essential costs.

“We’ve made it far easier and quicker for families to claim this crucial help by making it digital.

“Parents and guardians can apply online when it suits them and be paid within days, not weeks. Go to GOV.UK and search ‘Claim Child Benefit online’ and follow the simple steps to apply.”

Parents or guardians can get Child Benefit if they are responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16, or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.

There is no limit on the number of children parents can claim for.

You can apply for the benefit here.

Claiming Child Benefit means that the parent will receive National Insurance credits which count towards their State Pension.

It also means their child will automatically receive a National Insurance number when they turn 16 years old, which they will need for key milestones including getting their first job, taking a driving test and applying for university finance.

Families with adopted children, or whose child’s birth was registered outside the UK, can claim for Child Benefit online but will need to send additional information through the post to support their application.

Parents with children over 3 months old who have yet to claim are urged to do so as soon as possible as they can receive up to 3 months’ backdated Child Benefit.