Children's handbook Scotland
Chapter 1: Benefits and tax credits
8. Guardian’s allowance
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8. Guardian’s allowance

Guardian’s allowance is a benefit paid to people looking after a child who is effectively an orphan. It is not means tested and so is not affected by any income or savings you have. However, if a local authority is paying you to look after a child you are fostering this might affect guardian’s allowance (see Chapter 8). You do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get guardian’s allowance.

HM Revenue and Customs is responsible for the administration of guardian’s allowance.


Who can claim guardian’s allowance

You can claim guardian’s allowance for a child if:Footnote you are entitled to child benefit for the child. Note: you still count as being entitled to child benefit if you have chosen not to claim to avoid the high income child benefit charge; and the child is an 'eligible child' (see below); and the child is living with you, or you (or your spouse/civil partner) are contributing to the cost of supporting the child at a rate of at least £16.70 a week (in addition to any payment you make which means you are entitled to child benefit for the child); and the residence conditions are satisfied (see CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for more information).


Who is an eligible child

A child is an 'eligible child' if: both her/his parents have died; or one of her/his parents has died and, when s/he died, you did not know where the other parent was and all reasonable efforts to trace her/him have been unsuccessful; or one of her/his parents has died and the other is in prison (with at least two years of her/his sentence still to serve at the date of the death) or detained in hospital (under particular legislation).


Parents and adoptive parents

The general rule is that parents cannot claim guardian’s allowance for their own child. Adoptive parents count as parents and, therefore, cannot get guardian’s allowance for an adopted child. The exception to this is if an adoptive parent is entitled to guardian’s allowance for the child immediately before the adoption.Footnote


Amount of benefit
Weekly rate
Each eligible child £17.20

9. Health benefits

You may be able to get some help with the cost of: glasses and contact lenses; dental treatment;

travel to hospital.

You may be exempt from these charges or be able to claim a reduction on low income grounds.Footnote Pregnant women or parents or carers of children under four may also be able to get Healthy Start food vouchers and vitamins.

There is no charge for NHS eye and dental checks, prescriptions, wigs or fabric supports in Scotland.


Who is exempt from charges

You can be exempt either because you are getting a 'qualifying benefit' or because you are in one of the exempt groups.


Qualifying benefits

You get NHS dental treatment, vouchers for glasses, and certain fares to hospital if you get:

universal credit (UC) and have no earnings, or you earn £435 or less a month (if your UC does not include a a child, limited capability for work or limited capability for work-related activity element) or £935 or less a month (if your UC includes one or more of these elements); or

income support (IS); or

income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA); or

income-related employment and support allowance (ESA); or

child tax credit (CTC), with or without working tax credit (WTC), and your income for tax credit purposes is £15,276 or less; or

WTC with a disability or severe disability element and your income for tax credit purposes is £15,276 or less; or

guarantee credit of pension credit.


Exempt groups

You are eligible for free NHS dental treatment if: you are under 18; or you are under 19 in full-time education; or you are pregnant or have given birth in the last year; or you are under the Community Dental Service (for people who have difficulty getting treatment for reasons such as a disability); or you are an asylum seeker getting asylum support; or you get a war pension and need treatment for your war disablement; or you are a care leaver getting support from the local authority under s29 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

You are eligible for vouchers for glasses or contact lenses if: you are under 16; or you are under 19 in full-time education; or you have a prescription for complex lenses; or you are a Hospital Eye Service patient; or you are an asylum seeker getting asylum support; or you get a war pension and need treatment for your war disablement; or you are a care leaver getting support from the local authority under s29 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

You are eligible for help with fares to hospital if: the hospital is 30 or more miles away, or it involves a journey of five miles or more by sea, and you live in the Highlands or Islands – ie: the Highland region, Western Isles, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands; Arran, Great Cumbrae, Little Cumbrae; the area formerly covered by Argyll and Bute District Council; parts of Moray (Aberlour, Cabrach, Dallas, Dyke, Edinkillie, Forres, Inveravon, Kinloss, Kirkmichael, Knockando, Mortlach, Rafford, Rothes); or you are an asylum seeker getting asylum support; or you get a war pension and need treatment for your war disablement; or you are a care leaver getting support from the local authority under s29 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.


Low income scheme

If you are not on a qualifying benefit or in an exempt group and your capital is £16,000 or less, you may still be able to get help with the cost of dental treatment, glasses/contact lenses and fares to hospital under the low income scheme. Whether or not you get any help depends on how much income you have compared with a set level (based on IS but with some differences).


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