Child Benefit for kinship carers

Everything you need to know about claiming Child Benefit as a kinship carer, including links to the latest government information.

Kinship carers are generally entitled to the same benefits as parents, although the rules are different for family and friend foster carers.

Child Benefit is a benefit paid by the government to help people with the cost of bringing up children. As a kinship carer, you are entitled to claim Child Benefit for the child or children you are caring for, if you are responsible for them.

The child or children should be:

  • under 16
  • under 20 and in approved education or training

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child and there’s no limit on the number of children you can claim for.

How Child Benefit works (GOV.UK)

Competing claims

The child’s parent is entitled to keep claiming child benefit for up to 8 weeks after their child goes to live with someone else (like a friend or relative), as long as the friend or relative does not make a claim. It can continue for longer if the parent makes contributions to the child’s upkeep.

But as a kinship carer, if you want to receive the money directly, you will have priority because the child is living with you. If there are competing claims, you may have to wait longer for a decision to be made about your claim.

You could get Guardian’s Allowance (GOV.UK) as well as Child Benefit if you’re bringing up a child whose parents have died. You may also qualify if there is one surviving parent.

If you receive a foster allowance for a child from your local council, you won’t be able to claim Child Benefit for that child.

Child Benefit rates and when it’s paid

Normally Child Benefit is paid every 4 weeks into the same bank account. You can request Child Benefit to be paid weekly if you’re a single carer or receive Universal Credit.

Check GOV.UK to find out current rates for Child Benefit

Apply for Child Benefit

You can apply as soon as the child you’re caring for comes to live with you.

Claims can only be backdated for up to 3 months, so it’s important to apply as soon as possible.

It can take up to 16 weeks for a new Child Benefit claim to be processed.

If you or your partner earn over £60,000 per year, you may have to pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge (GOV.UK).

Start your claim for Child Benefit (GOV.UK)

Support from Kinship

Here at Kinship, we offer a range of free support for all kinship carers, including workshops, online advice and information, and peer support groups.

Contact our advice service to speak to an adviser or book an appointment.