A number of grandparents are facing bankruptcy after raising children whose parents cannot look after them, according to a new report.
The research, published by charities Family Fund and Grandparents Plus, shows there are around 200,000 older people potentially in financial distress.
It found that just under half (45 per cent) were forced to quit their jobs to become carers, while 43 per cent did not have enough income for their grandchildren’s needs.
The charities are calling on the Government to introduce a “national minimum allowance” to offset the costs of raising a grandchild. Grandparents do not automatically qualify for state benefits and must seek approval from the local council before they are paid.
Cheryl Ward, from charity Family Fund, said: “There’s a long-standing issue with support for grandparent carers – they’re not recognised financially, as someone with special guardianship is.”
The research shows that carer grandparents are running up large bills into the thousands of pounds in credit card debt, while many are struggling to pay bills.
According to the BBC report, one grandparent looking after two children is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings in order to write off £20,000 in debt. Others have resorted to food banks to feed their family.
Elderly people are especially vulnerable to debt, as unlike someone at working age, they are less likely to have a consistent income and often live off the state pension.
The Department for Education said it is up to local authorities to provide support and advice.