does fostering affect benefits

Does fostering
affect benefits?

Fostering and benefits...

The fostering allowance shouldn't affect the benefits you receive as it's not classed as income when calculating your eligibility for means-tested benefits. 

Depending on your personal circumstance, you as a foster parent may be eligible for a number of different benefits, which are listed below.

Firstly, there are two types of benefits. The first kind are contributory benefits which are for people who have worked and paid National Insurance Contributions and include;

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Retirement Pension, Widows Pension, and Maternity Benefits

The other type of benefits are non-contributory benefits, which are dependent on your income (aka means-tested benefits). These include;

  • Parents Allowance (fostering income is disregarded)
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based)
  • Housing and Council Tax Benefit

There are also some other non-contributory benefits that are not means-tested, which include;

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Universal Credits and other forthcoming changes to the benefits system

Frequently asked questions

Can foster carers claim benefits?

Payments from fostering are not counted towards income when calculating whether you are eligible for means-tested benefits, such as income support, child tax credit, housing benefit and more.

You will also have access to the contributory benefits should you need them, if you have enough qualifying years of National Insurance contributions.

Can foster carers get income support?

Yes, foster carers looking after a child under the age of 16 may be able to claim income support. While you wouldn’t be expected to look for work, you would need to attend “work focussed” interviews every 6 months to 3 years to review your claim. If a child in your care leaves, you will need to switch to Job Seeker’s Allowance.

If you’re looking to claim Job Seeker’s Allowance, you’ll be expected to look for work for the number of hours that your fostering duties allow, but a minimum of 16 hours will apply. If you’re waiting for a foster placement and have no children of your own, you must be available for 40 hours a week.

Can I still claim housing benefit while fostering?

Housing benefit is means-tested and so if your household income is below the threshold (your fostering income should be disregarded), then you should still be able to claim for housing benefit.

Can foster parents claim child benefit?

Child Benefit is means-tested, so will be dependent on your income and can only be claimed on your own children, not any children you have in placement.

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