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Guardian's Allowance

Key information

If you look after a child who is not your own you may be entitled to Guardian's Allowance.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: There are no specific age rules for the person making the claim

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: HM Revenue and Customs



You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

Who does it help?

You can claim Guardian's Allowance if you look after a child who is not your own (biologically or by adoption), and their parents have either both died or one has died and the other is unable to look after them. For example, a child:

  • who is an orphan, or
  • whose surviving parent is missing, or
  • whose surviving parent is in prison.

You can only get Guardian's Allowance if you also get Child Benefit for the child.

One of the child's parents must also have been born in the UK (or was living in the UK since the age of 16 for at least 52 weeks in any two-year period).

High rate tax payers and Child Benefit

If you are a high rate tax payer you will have to pay an income tax charge if you get Child Benefit but it may be best to continue getting Child Benefit so that you will still get Guardian's Allowance.

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How much does it pay?

Guardian’s Allowance is paid at the rate of £16.35 each week for each child (£16.55 from April 2015).

Guardian's Allowance is included in the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive. See our Benefit Cap information page for more details.

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How do I make a claim?

Phone for a claim form:

Telephone:  0300 200 3101

Textphone: 0300 200 3103

Welsh language: 0300 200 1900

Download a claim form from the Gov.UK website (link opens in a new window)

If you have not already claimed Child Benefit, you should claim this at the same time as Guardian’s Allowance. 

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What documents will I need?

You will need to give your national insurance number. If you do not have a national insurance number, send in the claim form anyway to save delays. You may also be asked for proof of your identity such as a birth certificate, passport or driving licence. You also need to provide the birth certificate of each child (originals, not photocopies) and where the child’s parents have died, the death certificate(s) of the parents.

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Can it be backdated?

Guardian's Allowance can be backdated for up to three months if you would have been entitled to it earlier. It does not matter why your claim is late. Request this when claiming. Sometimes it can be backdated to the point you started to qualify for Child Benefit.

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Challenging decisions

If you disagree with the decision made on your benefit claim you can ask for a written statement of reasons. If you still believe the decision is wrong, for example due to incorrect information being used, you can ask for it to be looked at again, and/or appeal.

The time limits are strict, you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

Further information on Challenges and complaints

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Change of circumstance

You must report changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit.

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Further help

For more help, you can phone the Guardian’s Allowance Unit on:

Telephone: 0300 200 3101
Textphone: 0300 200 3103

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Last updated: 25 March 2015

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