Put simply, yes you can still foster if you are on benefits, and it shouldn’t affect your chances of being approved as a foster carer. Having financial security is an important consideration when deciding if fostering is the right choice for you. But, it is worth noting that fostering is a full-time job. When you become a foster carer you’ll be classed as self-employed and the cost of caring for your foster child will be paid to you as a fostering allowance. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of financial support available to you to support yourself and your foster child, and you’ll learn more about fostering as a career. We’ll also share the first-hand experience of one of our foster carers J, as shares her experience being a foster carer and claiming benefits.
You’ll still be able to claim benefits when you become a foster parent, however, fostering may affect which benefits you qualify for. To calculate your benefits the UK Government have developed a benefits calculator to check exactly what you are entitled to.
Recently, Universal Credit has been brought in to replace some benefits such as Income Support, Housing Benefit and Child Tax Credits. If you are already claiming these benefits becoming a foster parent won’t affect your entitlement unless your circumstances outside of fostering change. However, if you were previously receiving Universal Credit in replacement for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) you will no longer be able to claim this if you become a foster parent.
We took some time to sit down with Capstone Foster Carer, J, to talk about her experience being a foster carer and claiming benefits.
J is a single foster carer from Stoke and is in receipt of Universal Credit as well as her carer’s allowance. She told us, “I reached out to FosterTalk and they were really helpful and explained the whole process to me. It was actually pretty straightforward”
Being a foster carer, J, is classed as a full-time carer. “After the application process, I then needed to show proof of me being a foster parent at the job centre, showing that I cannot seek employment like regular claimants of Universal Credit.”
If you are claiming Universal Credit you will not be able to claim any extra benefits for the child you are fostering. However, if you are claiming Universal Credit to help towards your housing costs you can receive benefits for one extra bedroom. You will only be entitled to one extra bedroom even if you want to foster more than one child. If you’re in privately rented accommodation you are also entitled to claim for one extra bedroom, but it’s worth noting that the total amount of bedrooms you can claim Universal Credit for is capped at four bedrooms in total, even if you require more bedrooms than this.
If your foster child has a disability, you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to support your foster child via your local authority, which will be paid to you as the adult carer or “appointee”. To qualify for DLA your foster child must be under 16 years of age and will need to demonstrate that they require more care than a child without a disability or have trouble with their motility.
As a foster carer, you won’t be able to claim child benefits for your foster child as you’ll receive a foster care allowance. Your foster care allowance will allow you to cover the costs of caring for your foster child as well as pay you a reward for you for your time and skill. As we’re an independent fostering agency, we are able to offer more competitive fostering rates for your foster care allowance.
Looking for more information about fostering finances? We have created a collection of resources to help you with all aspects fostering pay. Explore the side menu to read our detailed guides on all things fostering finance.
As a foster parent, your responsibility is first and foremost to care for your child which is a 24/7 job and is incredibly rewarding. A career in fostering is life-changing, not only for you but for the child you care for. If you’re considering fostering as a career it’s important that you have the right soft skills and characteristics to be successful.
If you’re thinking about becoming a foster parent you can find out more about fostering as a career or learn more about the foster care requirements needed to begin fostering today. Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of the helpful team here at Capstone for advice and guidance.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.