The annual cost of care grandparents in the UK provides to their grandchildren is expected to be around £7.5 billion. To learn more about this we will explore the following topic that aims to answer the question if you can claim benefits when you look after your grandchildren. For an in-depth discussion, we will talk about the applicable benefits, their eligibility criteria and how to apply for them. 

Can You Claim Benefits If You Look After Your Grandchildren?

Yes, you can claim benefits if you look after your grandchildren; while eligibility for some of them depends on your circumstances and the ability to qualify once a means-test is conducted by the authorities. 

Grandparents can get up to a minimum amount of £2,675 in benefits annually for looking after their grandchildren.

If you are a grandparent taking care of a grandchild who is younger than 12 years of age, you can qualify for Class 3 National Insurance credits through Specialised Adult Childcare Credits. These credits can be used to increase your retirement income.

If you are a grandparent taking care of a grandchild who is under 16 years of age or up to 20 years of age and in full-time education or an apprenticeship program, you can claim Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit (Child Tax Credit is being replaced with Universal Credit now). 

However, this is only possible if either of the child’s parents is not claiming the benefit on their own. Benefits cannot be claimed by more than one person even though they may share the responsibility of taking care of a child (or children).

In the case of a disabled child, especially one claiming Disability Living Allowance, an additional amount is added to the claim.

Other benefits that grandparents can claim for looking after their grandchildren include the following:

  • Guardian’s Allowance can be claimed if the child’s parents have died. This is usually granted only when both parents are not alive; however, in certain circumstances such as a divorce or lack of knowledge of the whereabouts of the surviving parent, it can be awarded in case of the death of one parent.
  • Disability Allowance can be claimed if a child under 16 years of age is being taken care of by their grandparents is disabled or facing a severe health condition. If a child has a physical disability, learning disability, or behavioural or mental health problems, DLA can be claimed by the family member who takes care of them.
  • If you are taking care of a child with a disability who is older than 16 years, you can claim Personal Independence Payment. It is worth noting here that if there is a household member who gets PIP, the benefit cap will not apply in their case.
  • If you are taking care of your grandchild while being on a low income, you can claim Universal Credit. The amount that you can claim will depend on your income and personal circumstances.
  • If you are above State Pension age and on a low income, you can claim Pension Credit. There is an additional element called the child addition that can be claimed by individuals who are taking care of a child younger than 20 years of age.

How Do You Claim Benefits If You Look After Your Grandchildren?

If you look after your grandchildren and intend to claim benefits, you will need to apply for each benefit separately that you are eligible. 

  • To claim Child Benefit, you will have to fill out the claim form or call the Child Benefit helpline at 0300 200 3100. The amount that you can expect to receive is £21.80 a week for the eldest or only child and £14.45 for each additional child.
  • Child Tax Credit is now being replaced with Universal Credit. New claims for Child Tax Credit can only be made if you claim a severe disability premium. To check your eligibility for either of the benefits, you can call 0345 300 3900.
  • To claim Guardian’s Allowance you can apply online or call HMRC at HMRC on 0300 322 9080. The amount that you can expect to receive is £18.55 per week.
  • If you are taking care of a grandchild who is under 16 years of age and requires additional care or has walking difficulties, you can claim Disability Living Allowance for them. Depending on the level of care the child needs, you will be able to get between £23.70 and £152.15 every month. You can either claim DLA by applying online or by calling 0800 121 4600.

Can You Get Any Other Support If You Look After Your Grandchildren?

Yes, there are other forms of support available for grandparents who look after your children. Details of these can be found below:

  • Depending on your income and personal circumstances, you may be able to claim other benefits if you are on a low income such as free school meals.
  • You may be able to apply for a grant through charitable organisations such as Turn2us or Buttle UK
  • If the parents of the child whom you are taking care of are living or working outside the UK, you can get Child Maintenance Payments from them to meet the costs of taking care of their child.

You can also find help and support through Kinship or Family Rights Group.

Conclusion:

The discussion in this article brings us to the conclusion that grandparents who take care of their grandchildren can claim benefits that will contribute towards their National Insurance credits and eventually their State Pension. Depending on their circumstances, there are other means and non-means tested beenfits that grandparents can claim.

FAQs: Can You Claim Benefits If You Look After Your Grandchildren?

Do grandparents get benefits for looking after grandchildren?

Yes, grandparents, especially those under state pension age get benefits for looking after their children. These benefits are called Specified Adult Childcare Credits which can top up your national insurance credits and increase your State Pension.

Can I get NI credits for looking after grandchildren?

Yes, you can get NI credits for looking after your grandchildren; if they are under 12 years of age and their parent leaves them with you while they are working.

What is a grandparent carer?

A grandparent carer is a grandparent who provides ongoing care for their grandchildren.

Can I pay my mum to look after my child?

Yes, you can pay your mum to look after your child. It is quite common for people to pay relatives while they take care of their children.

What benefits are kinship carers entitled to?

Informal kinship carers can usually claim the same benefits as parents; such as Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit.

References:

Looking after the grandchildren? Make sure it counts towards your State Pension – GOV.UK.

Grandparents can pocket £2,675 a year for looking after grandkids – here’s how

Benefits and tax credits – Kinship – The kinship care charity

Looking after someone else’s child – GOV.UK

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