Income Support Calculations For Foster Carers

Income Support is an income-related benefit from the Government designed to help people who don’t have enough money to live on.

Foster carers are entitled to claim Income Support, which is being replaced by Universal Credit, if:

  • They’re the only adult in the household
  • They have less than £16,000 in savings (their partner’s savings and income will also be taken into account)
  • Their foster children are under the age of 16 and in placement
  • Fostering is their only source of income

There may be times when carers don’t have any foster children placed with them. This change in circumstances must be reported to Jobcentre Plus on 0800 169 0310, as it will directly impact their Income Support eligibility.

General eligibility criteria

To qualify for Income Support, you must:

    1. Be pregnant or a carer/loan parent with a child under the age of five or, in some cases, unable to work because you’re sick or disabled.
    2. Be between 16-years-old and Pension Credit qualifying age.
    3. Have no income or a low income.
    4. Work less than 16 hours a week and your partner must also work less than 24 hours a week (you may still be able to qualify if you do unpaid voluntary work or go on parental/paternity leave).
    5. Be in full-time education (excluding university), are aged between 16 and 20 and are one of the following:
      • A parent
      • Not living with a parent or somebody acting as a parent
      • A refugee learning English

You won’t qualify for Income Support if you:

      • Receive Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
      • Are a young person being looked after by a local authority (unless you’re a single parent)
      • Have more than £16,000 in savings

Income Support payment

Foster carers who are entitled to receive Income Support receive:

      • A basic payment (personal allowance).
      • Extra payments (premiums).

Note – Income and any savings over £5,999 can affect how much is paid. The benefits cap can also limit the amount of benefit most people aged between 16 to 64 can receive.

      • 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.

Personal allowance
Payments are usually made every two weeks. The table below sets out typical Income Support rates:

StatusAge Weekly payment
Single16 to 24£57.90
Single25 or over£73.10
Lone parent16 to 17£57.90
Lone parent18 or over£73.10
CouplesBoth under 18£57.90
CouplesBoth under 18 – higher rate£87.50
CouplesOne under 18, the other 18 to 24£57.90
CouplesOne under 18, the other 25 or over£73.10
CouplesOne under 18, one over – higher rate£114.85
CouplesBoth 18 or over£114.85

Higher rate
Foster carers who are in a couple may be entitled to receive a higher payment if either of them is responsible for a child or, if either of them are entitled to receive the following, if they weren’t a couple:

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers’ Allowance

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).