Let’s begin with saying that fostering will affect some of the benefits you might be claiming. For more information about what will be affected by becoming a foster carer and what you could be entitled to.
Let’s go through a description of the benefits a foster carer may or may not be entitled to, eligibility when claiming are subject to other factors such as your savings.
You will be eligible to claim child benefit for your own children or other children that live with you but not for foster children.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
A child under 16 in foster care can still claim DLA and this will be paid to the adult carer.
Means tested benefits
Foster children are not counted as part of your household when any means tested benefits are calculated. Equally the fees are allowances from fostering are not counted as income when calculating any of the following means tested benefits: Income support, Income based Job seekers allowance, Income based employment & support Allowance, Housing benefit and Council tax support. These benefits as well as Tax credit have been replaced by Universal credit.
Income support is a non-taxable benefit for people who work less than 16 hours a week but who aren’t required to sign on as unemployed such as Foster Carers. The DWP don’t count fostering as work and fostering income does not count as pay for Income support purposes.
If you are fostering a child under the age of 16, or a disabled child / young person, not doing other work or looking for work then you can claim income support in the weeks that you have a child in placement.
Job Seekers allowance
In the weeks that you don’t have a child in placement, you can sign on as unemployed and claim job seekers allowance.
Any retainer you are paid from your fostering service when you don’t have a child in placement may be treated as earnings and reduce your entitlement to job seekers allowance.
However, you don’t have to make a claim. There are elements of your income that are taxable but the amount of earnings you have until you are taxed is a lot higher than those in other employment- there is a big allowance on fostering income.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.