Financial support and benefits for kinship carers

Information on financial support and benefits available for kinship carers to help pay for the cost of caring for a child.

Caring for a child can be expensive and we know that money is a worry for many kinship carers. However, depending on your situation and type of kinship care arrangement, you may be able to get financial support, including benefits from the government.

Learn more about the support available for your kinship care arrangement:

Why you may need financial support

When a child comes to live with you, there may be essential items that you need to pay for, such as a bed, stair gate or pushchair. You will also need to cover the cost of their day-to-day care, including paying for food, clothing, toys and items for school.

If you are caring for a young child, you may need to give up work or reduce your hours, which will mean you have less income.  We often hear from kinship carers who have used retirement savings to help pay for the cost of caring for a child.

This can all be stressful for you and your family. That’s why it’s important that you ask for advice when you need it, so you can understand and apply for any support and benefits you may be able to get.

Government benefits

The type of support you can get will depend on your kinship care arrangement. You may also be able to apply for general government benefits. If you are a family and friends foster carer, you cannot get the child element of Universal Credit or Child Benefit, or a Guardian’s Allowance.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working age who are on a low-income. You can be working, looking for work, sick or disabled, or caring a child or disabled person.

Learn about Universal Credit for kinship carers

Child Benefit

Child Benefit is paid to anyone bringing up a child under 16 years of age or a young person under 20 years of age who is in approved education or training. Only one person can get child benefit and there is no limit to how many children you can claim for.

Learn about Child Benefit for kinship carers

Pension Credit

If you are over state-pension age, you may be able to get Pension Credit, which is separate to your State Pension. It gives you extra money to help pay for day-to-day living costs, which include will include looking after a child if you are a kinship carer.

Learn about Pension Credit for kinship carers

Guardian’s Allowance

If you are bringing up a child whose parents have died, you could be able to get a Guardian’s Allowance. You may also be eligible if there is one surviving parent. Guardian’s Allowance is tax-free and you can get it on top of any Child Benefit you receive.

Learn more about Guardian’s Allowance (GOV.UK)

Carers and children with a disability or long-term illness

You may be able to get financial help if you or the child you care for are disabled or have a long-term illness. Depending on your situation, there are different allowances you can apply for that will help pay for living costs and the support you need.

Cost of living support

Governments in England and Wales provide a range of financial support to help with the cost of living, including energy bills, housing costs and travel.

Cost of living support in England (GOV.UK)

Cost of living support in Wales (GOV.UK Wales)

Support from Kinship

We know that many kinship carers worry about money and paying for those everyday costs that come with caring for a child. Our team understand the benefits system and will be able to give you the right advice for your situation.

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.