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Foster carers, state benefits & pensions

As a self-employed foster carer, you are eligible to claim most state benefits (thanks to Qualifying Tax Relief) and you can also apply for credits that count towards your state pension.

Overview of state pensions and benefits for foster carers

It’s impossible to say precisely which benefits you will receive as every foster carer’s situation is unique. However, here are some helpful things to know:

  • Qualifying Care Relief means your fostering allowance won’t affect your entitlement to most state benefit payments.
  • Fostering allowance will not affect Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If you claim Carer’s Allowance or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for your own child, it will not affect these either. You can learn more about these benefits at GOV.UK.
  • Because fostering counts as self-employment, you could be entitled to Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit if you have children of your own. You can find out more about tax credits at GOV.UK.
  • The only exception is Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), which will be affected if you are receiving fostering allowance.

Foster child DLA

If you have a foster child with a disability, you can make a claim for DLA on their behalf to your local authority. The local authority will work with you to agree a care plan and the budget requirements for the DLA award. They might also pay for any modifications you need for your home. Find out more about disability benefits at GOV.UK.

If you get stuck, ask questions. Our social worker always knows where we can get all the tax information we need and other foster carers are a fantastic source of knowledge also.

Andy, foster carer

Paying towards your state pension as a foster carer

As a foster carer, you are eligible for National Insurance (NI) credits, which counts towards the basic and additional state pension. You can apply for a NI credit for each week that you are approved as a foster carer. You only need to do this once a year retrospectively. Fill in form CF411A and submit a letter from National Fostering Group that confirms you were approved to be a foster carer for the tax year.

Since we started fostering we’ve never looked back. It has given me a new lease of life and made me feel a lot younger.

Jason, foster carer

Further information and support

Take a look at HM Revenue & Customs’ training, support and development for foster carers, which is a useful resource. You can also get free advice from The Fostering Network. If you’ve been approved as a foster carer with us, you automatically get membership to the network, including access to the helpline on 0207 401 9582. Alternatively, you can email them.

If you need more information or support we are happy to discuss state benefits and pensions entitlements for foster carers, so please get in touch. If you ask for a call back, an advisor from your local team will get in touch to explain more about how to become a foster carer, and answer any questions you have about foster care pay , state benefits and pensions.

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