People who care for younger relatives and then have a child of their own penalised by benefit system

Saving the country millions in care costs means you can’t afford a child of your own.

Carers who voluntarily look after younger relatives to stop them being taken into care are being denied thousands of pounds in welfare entitlements as a result of the two-child benefit cap, despite government promises to exempt them.

Campaigners have called on ministers to change rules whereby kinship carers who act as guardians for at least two children are refused child tax credits and maternity grants when they decide to have a child of their own.

Ministers promised kinship carers a year ago they would not be subject to the two-child policy after a defeat over the issue in the House of Lords. However, it has emerged that the exemption only applies to carers who have birth children first and then become guardian to a third child – not the other way around.

Although in such cases the third child is the carer’s first birth child, officials have blocked child tax credit payments worth £2,780 a year because the claimant is considered to have breached the two-child limit that came into force in April. … “