Advice on Fostering and Claiming Benefits

Fostering and claiming benefits

Generally, foster carers cannot claim benefits for their foster children. The fostered child may be entitled to benefits in his/her own right. Here are some general rules but seek advice for details.

Child Benefit

Child Benefit is not payable for a foster child who the local authority has placed and paid an allowance for. However, this is different when a child is fostered privately. 

A foster carer and claiming benefits

Claiming benefits while fostering
Being paid for fostering does not affect the amount of benefit you get if the payments come from either:

  • a local council
  • a voluntary organisation
  • a private organisation on behalf of the local council

Your benefits may be affected if the payments come from somewhere else. Speak to an adviser from the organisation that pays your benefit to find out more.

Universal Credit has replaced the following benefits:

Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance - income based, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

If you currently receive any of these benefits, you cannot claim Universal Credit at the same time.

Benefits that may be affected:

Jobseeker’s Allowance
You must be available and actively looking for work (and meet the other criteria) to get Jobseeker’s Allowance.

You would usually have to work for at least 40 hours a week. However, you can put restrictions on when you’re available, as long as:

you’re available to work for as many hours a week as your caring responsibilities allow (must be at least 16), you have reasonable prospects of securing employment
The restrictions can always be changed - speak to your adviser.

You must be available for 40 hours a week if you’re waiting for a foster placement and have no children of your own.

Income support
You may be able to claim Income Support, but you’ll have to attend work-focused interviews every 6 months or 3 years depending on your situation (for example if you have your own children).

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
You may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance, but you may have to attend work-focused interviews depending on your circumstances (for example if you’re a lone parent).

The foster child

The fostered child may be able to get certain benefits in his or her own right. For example, if the fostered child is disabled they may get Disability Living Allowance; or if they're 16 or over and incapable of work, Employment and Support Allowance can be claimed. Other benefits like Income Support may also be payable in limited circumstances.

Enquire about becoming a foster carer

If you'd like an informal chat about fostering, please call 0191 277 2430 or complete our fostering enquiry form.