The government has announced that Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit support is to be extended to families who look after children who might otherwise be in the care of the local authority.
Under the current guidelines, support in the form of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit is available for a maximum of 2 children in a household unless certain limited exceptions apply. The Secretary of State, Esther McVey confirmed to Parliament that these exceptions will be extended to provide support for these children regardless of the order in which they entered the household.
This measure will especially help those non-parental carers looking after 2 children and then subsequently having children of their own. There have been many reports in the press of low-income carers who despite being non-parental carers have lost significant amounts of tax credits because of these rules. Child Benefit did continue to be paid regardless of family size.
The Secretary of State Esther McVey said:
‘I have been reviewing this issue carefully since becoming Secretary of State a few months ago. Adoptive parents and non-parental carers, known as ‘kinship carers’, have often stepped in to help a family member or close friend in times of need. They have provided support and provided a home for a child in need. It is therefore right that Government supports them in doing so. That is why today I am extending the existing support for children and families in these circumstances.’