Benefit Information

You are caring for a child who is “looked after” by the Local Authority
  • You should receive payments from the Local Authority to care for the child

Every Local Authority in Scotland makes its own arrangements on how they pay Kinship Care Allowance and the amount that they pay. Every situation is different. It is essential that you ask for advice that is relevant to you and your own circumstances.

Kinship Allowances

Following additional funding from the Scottish Government all local authorities have agreed to pay a kinship allowance at a minimum of the same rate as foster carers in their Local Authority area. This will apply to all formal kinship carers where the child is looked after. Funding started on 1 October 2015. It may take local authorities a short while to determine how much each kinship carer should now receive. However, where there is a delay in doing this, it is expected that payments are to be backdated to 1 October.

Impact of receiving a payment from the Local Authority

It is really important that you understand that if you accept an allowance from your Local Authority it may make a difference to the Social Security benefits or Tax Credits you are entitled to receive – but don’t worry, the CAB can help you with this.

Any child/ren related benefits or tax credits you receive for your own child will not be affected.

If you accept Local Authority Kinship Care Payments you must tell the relevant departments eg. DWP/HMRC that you have had a change of circumstances and that you are now receiving an allowance.

We recommend that you seek a benefits check from a CAB or Benefits Adviser to help you be clear as to your benefit entitlement.

If you contact a Citizens Advice Bureau you will be asked key questions in order to work out your entitlements.

Question 1: They will ask you if you are caring for a “looked after” or “non looked after” child.

Answer:
You have chosen the ‘looked after’ section of the guide. If you are not sure that the child you care for is ‘looked after’, go back and have another look at the flowchart on page 26. What kind of kinship carer are you?’, or speak to your social worker or CAB adviser about it

Question 2: If the child is looked after then the advisor will want to know how this placement was made – please select from these 3 legal routes.

Your Situation Legal Route
Has there been a Children’s Hearing? A Supervision Order under the Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011
Voluntary arrangements between social work and the child’s parents but formal arrangement between you and social work Section 25 Children (Scotland)Act 1995
If the arrangement may last for a long time Permanence Order under Section 80 Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007

Question 3: The advisor will then want to know if you are receiving any kinship care payments from your Local Authority. If so, they will want to know what section of legislation the Local Authority is using to make the payment and what the payment is for. Please select from the three possible sections on the right:

Section
Section 22 Children (Scotland) Act 1995
Section 110 Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007
Section 50 of the Children Act 1975
Knowing the answers to these questions will help your adviser carry out a calculation of the amount of kinship care allowance you will be eligible to receive based on the way in which the local authority makes payment and your own individual entitlement to Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and other financial circumstances – i.e. income, savings etc

Remember each situation is different. It is essential that you ask for advice that is relevant to your own circumstances.

  • If you are caring for a looked after child the local authority has a responsibility to make payment of kinship care allowance and ensure that the financial support you receive is at the same rate as fostering allowance.
  • If the Local Authority is making regular payments for accommodation and/or maintenance then things can get complicated.

Here is a table of benefits that you may be able to receive and contact details if you wish to gain further information:

The Benefit What it means Contact details of the awarding body
Kinship Care Allowance This is currently paid at the same rate as local fostering allowance, and any entitlement to Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit will be deducted. If the Local Authority makes payment for any purpose other than accommodation and maintenance of a looked after child, you will be entitled to apply for Child Tax Credit. The Local Authority should not deduct from the kinship care payment any disability element paid as part of Child Tax Credit payments for a child with a disability. Local Authority
Child Benefit (CB)

If you are a kinship carer of a ‘looked after’ child you should be able to claim Child Benefit for that child.

  • The exception to this is if your Local Authority is making you payments of Kinship Care Allowance under S110 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act – in these circumstances, HMRC might decide you are not entitled.
  • When you apply, state that the claim is for a ‘looked after’ child in kinship care and let HMRC know if/how the Local Authority is paying you Kinship Care Allowance.

If you have any difficulty with your claim, contact a CAB for support.

HM Revenue and Customs
PO Box 1
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE88 1AA
T: 0300 200 3100
Guardians Allowance (GA) You may receive this in addition to child benefit but only in special circumstances. HM Revenue and Customs
PO Box 1
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE88 1AA
T: 0300 200 3100
Child Tax Credit (CTC) If you receive a payment from the Local Authority to cover the accommodation or maintenance of the child you care for, you will not receive CTC. HM Revenue and Customs (Tax Credits)
Tax Credit Office
Preston
PR1 4AT
www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits
T: 0345 300 3900
Working Tax Credit (WTC) If the child is placed through a Compulsory Supervision Order you may be able to receive payments. HM Revenue and Customs (Tax Credits)
Tax Credit Office
Preston
PR1 4AT
www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits
T: 0345 300 3900
Income Support and Income based JSA (IS/IBJSA) Local Authority kinship allowance payments do not normally count as income and so should not affect the amount of IS/IBJSA you receive Department for Work & Pensions
T: 0800 055 6688
Text: 0800 023 4888
www.dwp.gov.uk
Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction (HB/CTR)
  • This depends on your income and the age of the child.
  • The benefit will also depend on whether the child is considered part of the household.

Kinship carers are permitted to have one extra room to accommodate the child/children they care for before incurring an under-occupancy charge.

Local Authority office
Pension credit (PC) Any payments from the Local Authority will not affect your PC. The Pension Service
www.pensionservice.gov.uk
T: 0800 99 1234
Text: 0800 169 0133
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • If a child has a disability and is entitled to DLA, payments are made to the child’s appointee. A kinship carer can apply to be the appointee for a child they care for.
  • The amount of DLA paid depends on the nature of the disability.
  • Kinship Care Allowance payments from the Local Authority will not affect the amount of DLA received.
Benefit Enquiry Line
T: 0345 712 3456
Text: 0345 722 4433
Employment & Support Allowance
  • Eligibility will depend on your income, savings, health and other circumstances.
  • Kinship Care Allowance payments from the Local Authority will not affect the amount of ESA you receive.
Department for Work & Pensions
T: 0800 055 6688
Text: 0800 023 4888
www.dwp.gov.uk
Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF)
  • You may be able to claim for emergency or particular needs through a crisis or a community care grant.
  • Neither grants are repayable.
Local Authority

Citizens Advice Scotland

Benefit Information is provided by Citizens Advice Scotland. Please contact your local CAB office for further information.