If you are bringing up a child and the child's parents have died, you may be entitled to receive Guardian’s Allowance.
There are also special conditions to claim when there is one surviving parent.
The Guardian’s Allowance rate is paid at £17.60 per week. You are entitled to receive this on top of Child Benefit and it is tax-free too.
If entitled to Guardian’s Allowance you will normally be paid every 4 weeks. It can be paid weekly if you’re a single parent or in receipt of certain other benefits, such as Income Support.
In order to qualify for Guardian’s Allowance you need to satisfy the following criteria:
- The child you are bringing up is someone else’s child
- The child’s parents are deceased, but see conditions for one surviving parent, if relevant
- You qualify for Child Benefit
- One of the parents of the child was born in the UK (or was living in the UK since the age of 16 for at least 52 weeks in any 2-year period)
If you were getting Guardian’s Allowance before you adopted the child you may still be entitled to receive it.
One surviving parent conditions -
You may be able to get Guardian’s Allowance if one of the following applies:
- You don’t know where the surviving parent is
- The child's parents were divorced or their civil partnership had dissolved, the surviving parent doesn’t have custody and isn’t maintaining the child and there isn’t a court order in place saying they should
- The child's parents were not married, and the mother has died and the father is unknown
- The surviving parent is in prison and will be for at least 2 years from the date of death of the other parent
- The surviving parent is currently in a hospital made by a court order
Impact on other benefits
When taking into account income for other benefits, Guardian’s Allowance will not count as income for the following benefits:
- Tax credits
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
In addition Guardian’s Allowance is not affected by:
How to claim
It is important to make a claim for Guardian’s Allowance as soon as the child you are claiming for, comes to live with you. You risk losing money if you delay in making a claim.
Once you have completed the form you need to send it together with any supporting documents to the Guardian’s Allowance Unit. You will need to enclose the following:
- The child’s full birth certificate
- The parents’ death certificates/or certificate if one parent has died. You will need to send the originals
You should also make a claim for Child Benefit as soon as possible.
You are entitled to have Guardian’s Allowance backdated for up to 3 months.
If you are unhappy with a decision about your claim, you have the right to challenge it. The initial stage is known as ‘asking for a mandatory reconsideration’. There are strict time limits you need to adhere to and you may need to seek specialist advice from a welfare benefits specialist or local advice agency.
Changes in circumstances
If you don't report necessary changes straight away you risk your entitlement to Guardian’s Allowance and your payments could even be stopped. You must report the following to the Guardians Allowance unit:
- If the child you claim for goes to live with someone else
- If you go abroad. This could be temporarily (for more than 8 weeks), or permanently (longer than 1 year)
- If the child you care for leaves full-time education or approved training
- Any changes to your bank or contact details
- You find out where the surviving parent of the child you claim for, is
- The surviving parent comes out of hospital or prison (or their prison sentence is shortened)
- A payment towards their child’s upkeep is made by the surviving parent
A change of circumstance can be reported by phone, by post or online.
Guardian's Allowance Unit
T: 0300 200 3101
Textphone: 0300 200 3103
Opening times: Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 4pm
Closed Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
Send your claim form to HMRC, or write to report a change of circumstances.
HM Revenue and Customs - Guardian's Allowance Unit
Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle upon Tyne