Fostering a young person in need is one of the most important and selfless things an individual can do. Our foster carers enrich the lives of our young people, providing them with new experiences and opportunities that improve their outcomes.
However, it’s no secret that the UK is currently undergoing a cost-of-living crisis, with food prices, fuel rates and energy bills soaring. Raising a child in the UK comes with various financial implications; that’s why we pay all our foster carers a fostering allowance that far exceeds minimum rates.
But during these trying times, we want to make sure that all our foster carers are making the most of the discounts and benefits available to them. We want to ensure our foster carers still feel able to give our young people the level of care and enrichment they deserve.
That’s why we’ve collected a list of foster parent benefits and foster family discounts that you can use to help ease the strain on your wallet. These benefits and discounts come on top of the support and benefits we offer at Compass Fostering.
What Discounts Can Foster Carers Claim?
These brilliant discounts offer a range of exclusive discounts and free things for foster families, making life easier for those who spend their time caring for vulnerable young people.
Blue Light Card
If you have family or friends who work in the NHS, armed forces or emergency services, you’ve likely heard of the Blue Light Card.
The Blue Light card provides those working in these sectors with a wide range of online and in-store discounts. Working with small and large companies across the UK, they saved their members over £100 million in total last year.
The good news for foster carers is that, as of the beginning of 2022, foster carers are now also eligible for a free Blue Light Card! The Blue Light card has a range of discounted or free things for foster parents.
Like the Blue Light Card, the Max Card is another scheme offering your foster family discounts.
Aimed at foster families and families with children who have additional needs, this card is excellent for foster carers looking to make the most of amusement parks and family attractions. Max Card discounts can be used to gain free or discounted admission to venues across the UK.
This card makes family days out more financially accessible for foster families, helping you to continue enriching your foster child’s life, without worrying about cost.
Discounts For Carers
This online website offers a whole range of foster care discounts and free things for foster parents, including special discounts and deals on shopping, travel, motoring, finance, utilities, and insurance deals.
Discounts for Carers offers discounts from nationwide and independent businesses that wish to support foster carers and the brilliant work that they do.
Check out the full range of discounts on their website here.
What Benefits Can Foster Carers Claim?
Alongside discounts, there is a range of foster care benefits schemes available in the UK to help support foster carers. Below are some of the benefits schemes that you may be able to claim as a foster carer.
Universal Credit is a government funded monthly payment scheme that helps low-income or struggling individuals cover their living costs. For foster carers who may be struggling financially, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit to support you.
The key criteria for Universal Credit eligibility are:
- You must live in the UK
- You must be aged over 18 (which, as a foster carer, you will be anyway!)
- You must be under the State Pension, which you can find out
- You must have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investments.
It’s important to note that if you are considering applying for Universal Credit as a foster carer, you should ignore your fostering allowance when working out your income. Fostering allowances are not considered income.
Council Tax Discount
Paying council tax can be costly. Fortunately, as a foster carer, it’s possible you may be eligible for a discount in your Council Tax if you can prove you’re on low income or claiming benefits.
Local authorities are responsible for deciding how they will support vulnerable groups when it comes to the payment of Council Tax. Some local authorities may offer discounts on Council Tax, with some reducing bills by up to 100%.
You can apply for a council tax discount regardless of whether you rent or own your home. In order to do so, you need to contact your local council to find what kind of foster carer council tax discounts they offer.
Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a government benefit paid to children and young people under the age of 16 who have additional care or mobility needs. This is usually because of ill health or a disability. DLA is paid on top of any other benefits, income, or tax credits that you may receive.
If you are looking after a foster child who is under 16 and has additional care requirements because of their disability or health, you may be able to claim DLA. DLA is paid to the main foster carer to help enhance the foster child’s life, ensuring they can lead a rich and fulfilling life.
You can find out more about DLA eligibility here.
Using a Benefits Calculator
Understanding which benefits you are and aren’t eligible for as a foster carer can be challenging. It can be hard to know which eligibility criteria you meet, and how these might be impacted by your role as a foster carer.
One of the easiest ways to find out which benefits you’re eligible for is by using a benefits calculator for foster carers.
Benefits calculators are free to use and 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.
We recommend using one of these benefits calculators:
There’s no denying that times are tough right now; many families across the UK are feeling financial pressure. Fortunately, being aware of the discounts and benefits available to foster carers should go some way in helping to relieve these pressures.
At Compass, we want all our foster carers to feel supported and looked-after throughout their fostering journey with us. If you’re struggling during this time, please approach your Supervising Social Worker with any concerns you have. They will be able to advise you on the best next steps to take.
If you’re interested in making a difference to the life of a vulnerable young person by becoming a foster carer with us, please get in touch with us here.