As a Foster Carer of 8 years plus, I've had my share of bungling and feet dragging by the Inland Revenue, Housing and Benefit agencies. I live in a lovely Council house and unfortunately fall into the tax trap. The tax trap of qualifying for Working Tax Credits (soon to be called something else I believe).
I've had years of the Inland Revenue saying “I can see no evidence of work” when processing my earnings. Years of rent allowance suddenly stopping without warning. Years of threatened eviction and debt.
I've taken a part time job (mostly because I'm tired of the unnecessary hardship imposed on Foster carers and the lack of accountability when it comes to poor standards, training and basic knowledge of children and Foster care by others who we must report to... My Wife and I were told that a Child's Social Worker was intimidated by our experience!! Wow and that was the reason she ignored abuse of one child toward another and the reason she got away with failing to....... er..... do much at all. Mind you her predesessor did less and she got away with it...
I took a job carrying disabled children too and from school (paid to do a job Social Services wouldn't pay for me to do for Fostered Children). Now my Wife Fosters only one child during term time and I'm there to help in the school holidays (our last placement left us in May and we've been in receipt of a retainer since... Thank you tax payers).
We've had a few respites but mostly we've been taking money without work (not good and not what we wanted to happen when we ditched our business to Foster). So I took a minimum wage job that was supposed to be 25 hours per week but is actually 34. The job started 1st September this year and because of that we're nearly £1000 in debt. Because the Housing Department still haven't processed our changes of circumstances. Is there a lesson to be learned here? I should have stayed where I was and took the tax payers money while doing nothing.
After 3 months they wrote to ask for more info. The info they want,- they already have!... I declared my changes in circumstances in the first week (before I had been paid and before I knew what I would be earning).
I didn't know it would be rocket science for a Government department dealing with changes to entitlement...
Dealing with taxes when you foster became a bit easier a couple of years ago after years of stupidity and endless delays by the Inland Revenue but leaving Fostering is the worse thing I've done of late... When they eventually process the information that they've had for 3 months I could end up with bailiffs at the door. Once a law abiding citizen and now a debtor with eviction pending.
My advice to any Foster Carers out there wishing to take another job is “Don't” unless you get cash.