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Foster carers and benefits - Can I claim Universal Credit?

Read our guide to Foster carers and benefits

Can I claim Universal Credit?

As long as you satisfy the other eligibility rules, you can claim Universal Credit if you are a foster carer.

All of the money you get as fostering allowance should be ignored when working out how much Universal Credit you can get.

If you are getting help with your housing costs through Universal Credit, you can get payment for one extra bedroom if you are a foster carer. You can get this money even if you do not have a foster child living with you at the moment. You will only get payment for one extra bedroom, even if you have more than one foster child living with you. If you are in private rented accommodation, you are limited to the rate for four bedrooms, even if the size of your household means you need more than four bedrooms.

You can’t get any extra money in your Universal Credit for the child you are fostering.

Everyone who gets Universal Credit has to agree to a claimant commitment

  • If you are a foster carer for a child aged under 1, you won’t have to do any work-related activity.

  • If you are a foster carer for a child aged 1-16, you will only have to take part in work-focused interviews.

  • If you are a foster carer for a child aged over 16 who is a qualifying young person, you might have to take part only in work-focused interviews if your foster child has care needs and your work coach agrees that it would be unreasonable for you to have to look for work.

  • If you are between placements, had a placement in the past 8 weeks and are expecting to have another placement, you will only have to do work-focused interviews.

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