In the period between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 parents were given vouchers to set up CTFs for newborn children. Roughly 4.5 million accounts were set up by parents and guardians, and a further 1.8 million by HMRC for children whose carers took no action. These non-custodial accounts are generally run by The Share Foundation which acts as the registered contact for CTF accounts for children and young people who are care-experienced.
The cash in these funds becomes available to children when they turn 18 so the first children will become eligible on 1 September 2020. At a minimum the account should contain £250 plus interest, low income families received £500, and parents could make additions to the trust fund of up to £9,000 per year, so some funds will be substantial. Around 55,000 funds are expected to mature each month.
The parents or guardians who set up a fund should be contacted to advise of maturity, but given the timescales involved, many of these may be hard to trace following house moves and changes of name due to marriage or divorce. In addition, many children may be unaware their fund even exists.
HMRC has set up a tool to allow children to trace funds. They have recognised that 16 to 18-year-olds may not have the level of identification documents many of their elders have and will provide information based on the child’s National Insurance Number. If a child cannot access the online tool a paper form will be available.
Any child passing 18 from 1 September, should check on their account status if they do not hear from anybody about their fund. If they wish they can become the contact for their account from age 16, but they cannot access the money until 18.
A number of young people are going to get a pleasant birthday surprise. Let’s hope those most likely to need it do not miss out and are aware of the need to check if they are not contacted.