If you are a kinship carer you may be entitled to an improved allowance under new rules introduced by the Scottish Government from 1st October 2015.
Eligible kinship carers will receive improved allowances so that, when combined with any child related state benefits to which they are entitled, they will get the same amount of money for the child as the allowance received by our foster carers. (Please note that we are referring to foster carer allowances, not any element paid to foster carers by way of fee.)
The rates are:
| Age of Child
||2015-2016 rates (per week)
Please note that we would expect any eligible kinship carer to have been to the Citizens Advice Bureau for a benefits check, before we can work out how much to give them to top up to the foster carer rates shown above. We will backdate all increased payments to 1st October 2015.
Kinship Carers who are clearly eligible for the improved allowance are:
- All formally approved kinship carers where the child has a “looked after” status in terms of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.
- Some informal kinship carers, where the child is not currently a “looked after” child but is subject to a section 11 Order under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (to be known as a Kinship Care Order from April 2016) and was previously “looked after”.
If you fall into one of these two these categories, you should already have received a letter from us – see related downloads “Letter re kinship care allowances”.
It may be that, having been for a benefits check to the Citizens Advice Bureau, if eligible you may begin to receive tax credits at a level that would mean that if we continued to support the child at our current level, you would receive a total amount more than received by foster carer. In any such circumstances, the contributions from East Lothian would be reduced. However, we will not make any alterations until we are clear that you have received all back payments that you are entitled to receive.
There may be other informal kinship carers who will be eligible – you may have heard reference to children “placed with involvement by the local authority or at risk of being looked after”. The Government has stated that these categories are not entirely clear and intend to develop additional guidance about the interpretation of this shortly. We intend to publish further information as soon as we can giving details of entitlement and eligibility criteria once these become clear. We will include at that time details around how eligibility will be assessed, how to make a complaint and any other relevant information.