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Fostering while on benefits

FOSTERING WHILE ON BENEFITS

The payments you receive as a foster carer may not necessarily affect the benefits you are entitled to. However, if you do claim Fostering benefits you do need to inform HM Revenue & Customs of any additional payments being made to you.

Entitlement to some benefits depends on a national insurance record. As fostering counts as self-employment as far as HMRC is concerned, some carers may have to pay national insurance contributions on their earnings from fostering.

THERE ARE THREE BASIC TYPES OF BENEFITS AVAILABLE

Contributory Benefits


For people who have made national insurance contributions (NICs). These benefits include

Job seekers allowance If you are fostering a child aged under 16 and you are not employed or seeking work, you should claim income support instead of Job Seekers Allowance. If you are part of a couple and your partner is unemployed, he/she can claim Job Seekers Benefits for you both if you fostering and don’t have another job.

Employment and support allowance Fostering is not classed as work for ESA and fostering payments are disregarded.

State pension.
Maternity allowance.
Widow’s pension and bereavement allowances.

Means-tested Benefits


These depend on income and savings and are non contributory. They include:

Income support

Pension credit : Pension credit makes no allowance for children, fostered or otherwise. Fostering allowances are ignored when working out your income for pension credit purposes.
In order to get income-based Job Seeker Allowance you have to sign on as available for work. Single carers looking after a fostered child aged under 16 can claim income support and do not have to sign on as unemployed in any week a child is placed with them.

Housing benefit : Housing benefit depends on individual circumstances and can be claimed whether you are employed not.

Council tax support : Any payments received in connection with fostering are ignored when these benefits are calculated. Children who are officially placed with you are not considered part of your family for housing benefit purposes, so the benefit will not vary with the number of children placed with you.

Tax credits : Fostered children do not count as part of your family for these benefits.
Unspent fostering allowances kept in your name will be treated as savings, so could affect your right to means-tested benefits if they go above certain limits.

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Non Contributory Benefits


these depend on a test of circumstances, not national insurance or income and savings.

Disability living allowance : There are two parts (for care and mobility) to this allowance, once assessed, you or the looked after child, will get one or both parts.

Carer’s allowance : This benefit is paid if you care for a child who receives the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Fosters carers can claim this benefit and their earnings from foster care will be ignored.

Child benefit : Child benefit is not payable for a child in receipt of a fostering service. If you are fostering a young parent who has a child of their own living with them, then the parent will be able to claim child benefit for their child.

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