Foster care allowances
Financial Support for Foster Families
When you are deciding to foster, finances will inevitably arise as one of the main issues. However, there are foster care allowances, which are paid at a weekly rate, to help with the costs of fostering a child. The amount paid will vary depending on the age of the child and where you live. Depending on who you foster for, there will also be additional allowances for special occasions such as birthdays.
Another major issue is Benefits. It’s important to plan ahead for periods of sickness and unemployment so this article explains some of the basic guidelines for claiming Benefits.
At the time of writing, the weekly figures for foster care allowances for 2013-2014 were from £116 – £175 a week for the base rate. Foster carers living in the South East would be entitled to £129 – £197, and foster carers living in London would be paid from £135.00 – £205.00. The amounts listed are minimum amounts that a foster carer would be entitled to.
The Benefits system can be difficult enough to navigate at the best of times, but if you are also hoping to foster while you are on Benefits, this will not be a problem. The government has issued guidelines on Benefits and how the money you receive as a foster carer might affect them. Detailed below are the main details.
People claiming Jobseekers Allowance will have to attend the jobcentre on a fortnightly basis. Usually, claimants have to be available to work for 40 hours a week, there are, however some exceptions for foster carers. Foster carers are allowed to limit their availability for work provided that they still have a reasonable chance of securing employment or you must be available for work for at least 16 hours a week.
However, if you are a foster carer, but don’t currently have a placement, then you’ll have to be available for full time work (40 hours), but discuss this with your Benefits office.
Employment and Support Allowance
When it comes to claiming ESA, there aren’t the same requirements placed on people to look for work that there are if you were claiming JSA. However, you might still have to attend the job center regularly and take part in mandatory activities in order to continuing claiming ESA.
There are also guidelines for other benefits you might be on. You’ll find the details here.
Will Fostering affect my Benefits?
Whether or not your foster care allowance will affect the level of benefits you’ll receive is all down to which type of organisation pays your allowance. Government guidelines state that if your foster care allowance is paid by “Local Authority, voluntary organisation or a private organisation on behalf of the Local Authority” then it will not affect the amount you can claim in benefits. If your foster care allowance is paid by another organisation, then it may be counted as income should you need to claim benefits.
Become a foster carer?
After we have helped you to find the right agency; the process is the same for everyone:
The agency will contact you to arrange a home visit to talk about you and your family and to answer any questions If all’s well, the agency starts to request police checks, employment (if necessary) and personal references.
You will be asked to attend the agency’s preparation training course to learn more about fostering, the home visits start to complete the assessment report, so that the fostering panel can decide if you can foster.
After four months, you could be a foster carer!