Child Benefits, Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by


Child benefit, Child tax credit and Working tax credit.Whose ownership is it, husband’s or wife’s?
The couple can choose the account they wish to get paid, the husband’s or wife’s. If wife receives on her account, would it still belong to husband?
Also, if wife receives it (child tax credit) can husband consider that income as nafaqah for wife and suffice on that?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Child benefit (or family allowance, children’s allowance) is a social security payment disbursed to the parents or guardians of children.

Child Benefit is paid by the Child Benefit Office, which is part of HM Revenue and Customs. If you live with the other parent of your children, Child Benefit is paid to the mother.[1]

Child Benefit usually comes into the ownership of the mother when she is the main carer of the children.
Child Tax Credit is a payment for people with children, whether they are in or out of work. It is paid by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You can get Child Tax Credit if your income is low enough and you are responsible for at least one child. You will get money from Child Tax Credit for each child. You do not need to have a very low income to get some help from Child Tax Credit, so most people with children get the credit.[2]

Child Tax Credit will be paid to the main carer in the family. If you are part of a couple, the main carer is usually the person getting Child Benefit.[3]

Child Tax Credit usually is transferred into the ownership of the mother also.  A married couple are required to make a joint claim and specify the main carer.  Whoever is designated as the main carer will be granted ownership of the Child Tax Credit.  Child Tax Credit will be paid directly to the main carer for all the children in the family.[4]

Working Tax Credit is a top-up for people who are on a low income and in paid work, whether employed or self-employed.[5]  Working tax credit is paid directly to the person who is working.[6]

Merely designating an account to be paid into will not reflect ownership.  Ownership will be based on whom HM Revenue and Customs pay.[7]

Maintenance of the wife is an obligation upon the husband.[8]  The maintenance (nafaqah) must be provided by the husband from his wealth.[9]  If the wife acquires funds from foreign sources, this will not be from the husband’s wealth.  For example, if the wife was given an inheritance payout, the husband cannot claim it to be nafaqah.  Nafaqah will be what is provided by the husband from his wealth for his spouse.  Nafaqah is compulsory even if a woman has wealth.[10]
Therefore, if the wife is the designated payee of the Child Tax Credit, this will not be regarded as nafaqah.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faraz Adam,

[1] (last accessed 22/11/12)

[2] (last accessed 22/11/12)
[3] (last accessed 22/11/12)
[4]  (last accessed 22/11/12)
[5] (last accessed 23/11/12)
[6] page 8 (last accessed 22/11/12)

[7]  الْهِبَةُ هِيَ تَمْلِيكُ مَالٍ لِآخَرَ بِلَا عِوَضٍ وَيُقَالُ لِفَاعِلِهِ: وَاهِبٌ , وَلِذَلِكَ الْمَالُ مَوْهُوبٌ وَلِمَنْ قَبِلَهُ مَوْهُوبٌ لَهُ وَالِاتِّهَابُ بِمَعْنَى قَبُولِ الْهِبَةِ أَيْضًا. (المجلة ص 161 نور محمد، كارخانه تجارتِ كتب)

[8]  يجب النَّفَقَة وَالْكِسْوَة وَالسُّكْنَى للزَّوْجَة على زَوجهَا (مجمع الأنهر ج 1 ص 173 دار الكتب)

[9] والمعنى فيه أن المرأة محبوسة عند الزوج لمنفعة تعود إلى الزوج فيكون كفايتها في مال الزوج كالقاضي لما حبس نفسه لأعمال المسلمين كانت نفقته في بيت مال المسلمين، وكعامل الصدقات لما حبس نفسه لعمل المساكين استوجب كفايته في مالهم كذا ههنا. (المحيط البرهاني ج 4 ص 273 إدارة القرآن)

والزوج هو الذي يلي الإنفاق (المحيط البرهاني ج 4 ص 285 إدارة القرآن)

[10]  فرق بين كسوة الزوجات ونفقتهن وبين كسوة الأقارب ونفقتهم فإن القاضي إذا فرض للأقارب الكسوة والنفقة فضاعت من أيديهم قبل مضي الوقت يفرض لهم مرة أخرى.

والفرق وهو: أن نفقة الأقارب إنما تستحق باعتبار الحاجة ولهذا لا يستحق مع الغنا، ومتى ضاعت الكسوة والنفقة قبل الوقت فقد تجددت الحاجة، أما نفقة المرأة فلا تستحق النفقة باعتبار الحاجة ولهذا تستحق المرأة النفقة مع الغنا  (المحيط البرهاني ج 4 ص 293-294 إدارة القرآن)

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Faraz ibn Adam al-Mahmudi, the student of world renowned Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Hafizahullah).

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