Kinship carers urged to check eligibility for benefits
To mark Scottish Kinship Care week, kinship carers are urged to check the extra support available via widened eligibility for Scottish Child Payment and other benefits.
When the payment was increased in November last year, eligibility was widened to include kinship carers who had a pre-existing relationship with a child they care for, even if they are not related to the child.
As well as Scottish Child Payment, kinship carers may also be eligible for the Best Start Grants and Best Start Foods. Kinship carers can apply for Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment and in some cases can apply up to the day before the child turns one.
Kinship carers looking after a disabled child or young person can also apply for Child Disability Payment on behalf of the child.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with a group of kinship carers at an annual big breakfast hosted by the Big Hearts Community Trust at Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh. The First Minister said:
“We owe kinship carers an enormous debt of gratitude for the role they play in providing loving and secure homes for children and young people, and it’s vital they receive every penny of support they’re entitled to.
“In line with our commitment to tackling child poverty, we increased the Scottish Child Payment to £25 a week per eligible child last year, and expanded the eligibility criteria to include more kinship carers.
“We want to ensure everyone gets the financial support they are entitled to, so I’d encourage carers to check whether they’re entitled to receive the Scottish Child Payment and any other Scottish Government benefits.”
Scottish Child Payment is part of a wider package of five family payments including Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment, Best Start Grant School Age Payment and Best Start Foods. To be eligible, people must be getting Universal Credit, tax credits or other qualifying benefits.
Kinship care is when a child is looked after by their extended family or close friends if they cannot remain with their birth parents.
To be recognised as a kinship carer for the five family payments, an individual must have a legal order or an agreement with the local authority. Kinship carers who do not have these may still be able to qualify providing they can demonstrate child responsibility by being in receipt of certain reserved benefits.
Kinship care includes both looked after children who have been placed with kinship carers by the local authority and non-looked after children who live in an informal kinship care arrangement.
Families, and carers can find out more and apply at mygov.scot/benefits or by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222.