Can Foster Carers Claim Council Tax Reduction & Housing Benefits?

Fostering income isn’t taken into account when determining Council Tax relief and Housing Benefit. However, many foster carers don’t realise this, with hundreds missing out on these valuable benefit entitlements.

Keep reading for guidance on Council Tax reduction for Foster Carers and details on claiming housing benefits.

Do Foster Carers Pay Council Tax? Do Foster Carers Get Council Tax Relief?

Foster carers can receive Council Tax relief if they’re on a low income or claim benefits. In some circumstances, their bill can be reduced by as much as up to 100%.

Whether you own your own home, rent, are unemployed or working, you can apply for this Council Tax benefit. However, the amount of discount is determined by:

  • The governing local authority – each council runs its own scheme
  • Personal circumstances – i.e. income, number of children, benefits, residency status
  • Household income – this excludes fostering income but includes savings, pensions and partner incomes
  • If other children or adults are in the household

Can Foster Carer Get Universal Credit?

You can claim universal credit as a carer as long as you satisfy the eligibility rules. To find out more, read our guidance on Universal Credit & Foster Carers 

Can Foster Carers Claim Housing Benefits?

Housing Benefit entitlement is decided by your local council and be used to pay for part of or all of your rent. How much is granted depends on the individual’s income (usually less than £16,000) and circumstances (on a low income or claiming benefits).

Both employed and unemployed foster carers can apply for housing benefit. They may also be able to get help with their rent if their benefits stop too. However, Housing Benefit can’t be paid for heating, hot water, energy, or food.

Note – if you’re single and under the age of 35, you can only receive Housing Benefit for a bedsit or a single room within shared accommodation.

Council and social housing rent
You may be able to receive help with all or part of your rent. How much you receive depends on:

  • Your eligible rent – the reasonable rent for a suitable property in your area (includes service charges, but not factors, such as heating)
  • If you have a spare bedroom – your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in a council or social housing and have a spare room. This how it’s currently calculated:
    • 14% of the eligible rent for one spare room
    • 25% of the eligible rent for two or more spare rooms
  • Your household income – includes benefits, pensions, and savings (£6,000+) etc.
  • Your circumstances – i.e. age of people in the household, if somebody has a disability

Sharing bedrooms
Who can share:

  • An adult couple
  • Two children of the same sex under the age of 16
  • Two children under the age of ten (regardless of sex)

Who should have their own room:

  • A single adult (aged 16 or over)
  • A child that would normally share, but the shared bedrooms have been taken. For example – you have three children and two of them already share
  • Children who can’t share because of a disability or medical condition
  • A non-resident overnight carer for you or your partner

Note – rooms that belong to students or members of the British Armed or Reserve Forces aren’t classed as being spare if that person intends to return home at some point.

Private rent
Local Housing Allowance is used to calculate Housing Benefit for tenants who rent privately. How much is granted is usually determined by:

  • Location
  • Household size
  • Income
  • Personal circumstances

Typical Housing Benefit payments for private tenants

PropertyWeekly amount
1 bedroom (or shared accommodation)Up to £260.64
2 bedroomsUp to £302.33
3 bedroomsUp to £354.46
4 bedroomsUp to £417.02

Where can I find out more?

Do you need help with calculating your Council Tax relief or finding out if you’re entitled to Housing Benefit? For more advice, contact Jobcentre Plus’ dedicated Council Tax relief and Housing Benefit number on 0800 055 6688 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday).

To find out what other benefits you could be entitled to, read our guide on Foster Carer Benefits.