State benefits and pensions

Find out more about how foster care may affect your state benefits and pension.

Speak to your local team

Receiving your fostering fees and allowances does not take away your eligibility to claim most state benefits.

This is partly due to the generous Qualifying Care Relief scheme put in place by the Government. You can also apply for credits that count towards your State Pension.

Each foster carer’s circumstances are different and eligibility will be assessed on an individual basis.

However, it’s useful to know that your fostering fees and allowances will not affect:

Your Housing Benefit

Carer’s Allowance

Disability living allowance

You can apply to the local authority for DLA on behalf of your foster child (under 16 years of age) if they have a disability.

DLA is paid on top of any other benefits, income, or tax credits that you may receive. It’s paid to the main foster carer to help enhance the foster child’s life. A care plan will be agreed between you and the local authority and the financial requirements for the DLA award will be discussed.

If any modifications are needed for your home, the local authority may be able to help you with these.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes - The only exception is Jobseeker’s Allowance, which will be affected if you are receiving fostering fees and allowances.

Is there anything else I should know?

If you are currently receiving benefits, you may also be entitled to a Council Tax discount.

Some local authorities may offer discounts of up to 100% on Council Tax bills but it does depend on where you live. You can apply for a Council Tax discount if you rent or own your home. Contact your local authority to find out what Council Tax discounts they offer.

You could also be entitled to Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, for your own children, because foster carers are self-employed.

Help: Benefits calculators

If you are unsure which benefits you may be eligible for you could use a benefits calculator for foster carers.

These are free to use and are confidential.

They work out which benefits you might be entitled to by asking you questions about your employment status, income earnings, health, children and general lifestyle. They also ask questions about your status as a foster carer.

Benefits calculators provide information on income-related benefits, tax credits, Council Tax reduction, Carers Allowance and Universal Credit, as well as how benefits are affected by your work. Examples of benefits calculators are:

State Pension

Foster carers are eligible for National Insurance (NI) credits, which count 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.

You need to complete a form (CF411A) and submit a letter from Action for Children Fostering to confirm that you were approved to be a foster carer for that tax year.

We're here to help

We realise that all of this may be overwhelming. We’re here to help.

As a foster carer with Action for Children Fostering you will automatically be enrolled with The Fostering Network who provide free advice to all foster carers.

The Government also provides additional guidance for foster carers on the cost of fostering, training, support and development which you might find useful: