Fostering allowance and benefits

(24 Posts)
hellogoodbye Sun 22-Jun-08 22:03:17

Hello. I want to foster but just realised that if I am getting fostering allowance, it may stop/reduced my benefits - housing benefit for an example. Therefore I might not be able to afford to do it (we are just about surviving on the money now). Does the fostering allowance count as an "income"? or os this completely different?

Please let me know if anybody knows

Flower3554 Mon 23-Jun-08 10:11:13

I believe your benefits aren't affected unless you foster privately and receive a wage for doing so.

If you foster for a local authority you aren't classed as "working" but volounteering.

hellogoodbye Mon 23-Jun-08 12:02:21

But surely the local authority still pay you for it?

ingonitoIRbod Mon 23-Jun-08 12:25:33

I can't help with other benefits, but for tax credits we class foster carers as working full time which will entitle you to claim working tax credits, but we also input income as £0. As all income received from fostering we consider as expenses for the child/ren.
So you would be better off from the TC point of view

HTH

mummyBop Mon 23-Jun-08 13:38:31

The allowances are supposed to cover the cost of having a child and as such are not usually classed as income - you don't have to pay tax and they don't affect Income Support etc.

However I seem to remember that there was a strange rule regarding housing benefit as part of the allowance is towards housing costs, as it could be quite complicated for short term foster carers who had breaks between placements. Not sure who you could ask? What about your local authority fotering team?

Hope you can find the information you need
Bop

Fostering allowances are disallowable - they don't count as income. So if you already claim income support then you're still entitled to income support. Fostering also counts as work, but for no income (doesn't matter how much of an allowance you get, they can't count it). So if you're claiming job seeker's allowance then it could be tricky as you would have to be available for work and you won't be if you are fostering.

Housing benefit it doesn't affect except that the child is invisible as well as the income. Which means that you may get a reduction if they say that you are living in a house with too many bedrooms.

Working Tax credit is fine - and child tax credits for any birth children but you can't claim child tax credits for fostered children. If you foster a child with disabilities though you can claim DLA for the child on top of the allowances and carers allowance yourself.

betterhalf Sun 29-Jun-08 18:17:39

Allowances aren't classed as income whether you work for local authority or a private agency.It's only if you go over a ridiculously high amount of money. You are allowed to earn £10,000 per year per house + (dependent on a child's age) between £200 and £250 a week per fostered child before you would start to pay any tax. And then you have your tax allowance of £5000 odd pounds before you pay tax so it would have to be a significant amount of money earned before other things were affected.
Hope that doesn't come across as complicated as I think it does!hmm

Loriycs Wed 30-Jul-08 13:08:51

contrary to beleif that fostering is good money it actually only covers you for the support of the child, ie their food, clothes, care/ clubs etc etc if you looking to earn money i would suggest employement outside the home. Fostering can be very rewarding but hard work, emoitionally drainig at times andit does limit your own lifestyle. However i know a family that have been doing it for years and their fostered kids are treating just as their own and they are one big happy family. Good luck if you decide to foster.

fostermum05 Mon 06-Oct-08 15:29:48

Re the above post... Fostering isn't something you would ever take on just to earn an income, as it takes real dedication, but it does pay more than just to cover food, clothes etc for the child. Fostering allowances/fees vary hugely but lowest I know of is about same as working full time on minimum wage but with fostering you may not pay tax on it. Be very aware that it doesn't matter whether private agency or local authority, if they officially call it an 'allowance', it won't affect benefits. If they call it a 'fee', it is taxable income.

As a lone parent, I couldn't have started fostering if it didn't cover more than expenses, as no matter how much I really want to help others, I still have bills to pay. So, if you're on benefits don't let it put you off fostering as you will be substantially better off, but be aware it will take over your life and can be extremely difficult at times. It's the little things that make it rewarding.

jozanna Thu 09-Jun-11 22:06:27

i know what your saying i love children and want to help those that have a rubbish life the childre, but i also look at it as a job and i need to earn money thats why i opted to go for a private agency who pay so much more than a local authority and therefore i can afford to treat the children.

mumsiepie Thu 09-Jun-11 22:19:11

It wont affect your housing benefit. Go for it!!

psiloveyou Fri 10-Jun-11 19:24:07

IngonitoIRbod based on what you said I just phoned the tax credit hotline. I did tell them I am a FC but when I checked our assessment it was based on only DHs hours. We didn't get any tax credits for 2010/11. She said we are owed a large amount of money and it will all be backdated for last year. grin
So thanks I owe you a large wine

NanaNina Fri 10-Jun-11 20:42:56

Hi Hello - I think you've had some good responses (apart from flower who has posted something totally inaccurate) You certainly are not seen to be volunteering if you foster for a LA.

Have worked for 30 years (now retired) as sw and tmgr of a Fost & Adopt team and the thing is I think all LAs have their own policies about issues realted to finance. Well that was how it used to be, but I am 7 years out of LA work, so maybe there is more consistency now.

If you foster for the LA you will be paid an allowance for the day to day expenses and in addition a fee for the work that you are doing (sometimes called a reward element) and it was this fee that was taxable. Many are saying it shouldn't affect HB.

I think you need to talk to your LA about fostering - you must have all sorts of Qs and can raise the issue of finance then, so long as you don't come across as only being concerned about money, which I'm sure you're not, but it could be misinterpreted.
It is true that IFAs (independent fostering agencies) pay their carers more, but what many people don't realise is that they then "sell" the families they have recruited to the LA, for a hefty amount of money, which of course depletes LA resources even more. The directors of these IFAs are making money hand over fist (I know one who drives a Porshe) another who has bought his 4 children a house each. These entrepeneurs are lining their pockets and the LAs struggle more and more to recruit and retain foster carers. Also you are likely to get more difficult children from anywhere in the country, and that is very unsettling for the child.

itsokayjo Sun 19-Jun-11 07:04:00

Can someone help me with this question please regarding fostering allowance as my LA isn't supportive... After I have been aprroved as a foster carer for over a year finally I had my first placement a couple of weeks ago, I am into my third week now and I am not getting any fostering allowance, does anyone know that whether I need to put in a claim for that or does the LA send you the money automatically? My SSW is not very helpful, I do not want to ask her unless I've got the facts right. Thank you.

psiloveyou Sun 19-Jun-11 16:50:57

Some LAs might do things differently but with ours it is the SWs responsibility to make sure you get paid. My SW fills out the forms for my skills fee and the child's SW does the child's allowance. Forms are then sent to finance and I get the money paid into my account weekly. However, SWs are very busy and they often forget to fill the forms out. I would have a word with your SW.

mumsiepie Sun 19-Jun-11 18:45:53

I don't fill in anything for mine apart from respite, it just magically appears in my bank along with a statement through the post! We get paid monthly but 2 weeks in advance. It is important for you to know so just ask her. She can hardly be annoyed at you for asking! Do you have a handbook. We have one and it does answer most questions you need to know.

How come it has taken a year to get a placement? I thought it was true they are short of foster carers!!

maypole1 Sun 19-Jun-11 21:17:08

My la have a department and magically every week the statement arrives

fishtankneedscleaning Mon 20-Jun-11 00:27:04

You should receive your fostering allowance and fee on a monthly basis. It should be paid straight into your bank and you should receive notification through the post.

p99gmb Mon 20-Jun-11 12:08:21

We get paid weekly and the breakdown is emailed to us 4 days in advance!! Phew... think we with a good LA wink

Machakos Sat 25-Jun-11 08:39:02

We also get paid weekly straight into our account. We get paid a week in arrears. Our LA pays an allowance, but not a fee. I think it all depends which LA you are with.

mumsiepie Sat 25-Jun-11 09:09:48

Have you been paid yet itsokayjo?

Pilgrim30 Sat 25-Jun-11 10:43:53

I am interested in fostering, but would really prefer to foster babies. Can you register with specialised fostering agencies? Is this possible?

fostermumtomany Sat 25-Jun-11 15:31:41

pilgrim30
you can specify the age group you want to foster with the local authority.
we specified babies and got approval for brith to 3 years. i will not take older children on a variation.
please go along to your local fostering info evening. details will be on your local county council website.

as for benefits. if you foster through a private agency you will lose your benefits as you are paid a fee. if you foster through the la you are classed as a volunteer. i am in reciept of benefits and it has not affected any of my benefits. however the dwp told me that if i was being paid a fee or an enhancement i would lose all my benefits.
this is how it works now.
as for payment....get in touch with the childs social worker and ask if the forms for boarding out have been completed. it took my first payment 6 weeks to be sorted.
all la's are different with payment methods. i get my allowance every 2 weeks with an email remittance slip 2 days beforehand.

shaz298 Sat 25-Jun-11 16:52:43

Hi, Fostering for an agency does not automatically porevent you having other benefits. Some LA also pay a fee.

The rules for fostercarers re taxable income can be seen here (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/individuals/foster-carers.htm). You get £10000 tax free plus another £200 per week per child ( under the age of 11) and £250 per child over the age of 11...........................HTH

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