Ian Austin – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Ian Austin on 2016-04-26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support his Department offers to grandparents that care for grandchildren.

Justin Tomlinson

From 6 April 2011 a weekly Class 3 National Insurance credit is available to grandparents and other adult family members under State Pension age that look after children aged under 12 to enable the children’s parents to work. The credits can help protect the grandparent’s National Insurance record and will count towards entitlement to the new State Pension and (before 6 April 2017), Bereavement Benefits.

Since its introduction in 2011, over 4,000 people have been approved.

In addition, support is available through income-related benefits to grandparents of working age who have responsibility for their grandchildren or act in the place of the child’s parents. The Government announced its intention to exempt grandparents, and other family members or close friends, looking after children, who could otherwise be at risk of entering the care system, from the restriction which limits the child element of Universal Credit to a maximum of two children. The Government is committed to working with stakeholders to develop a solution that meets the needs of the children in respect of whom this exemption is intended to apply, whilst guarding against the risk of fraud and error

Universal Credit recipients who are grandparents can have childcare costs reimbursed. Where a firm job offer has been accepted childcare costs can be claimed for at least one month before they start work and after the employment ends. The childcare costs element is intended to protect work incentives and ensures that support is focused on low-earning families.