The Housing Dept. asked to see proof of Fostering earnings from 2009 so I wrote and told them they were wrong to request it or add the income to their calculations. Fostering earnings fall below tax thresholds and are zero in calculations because the Child-allowance part is used to support another persons child and is spent according to guidelines set-out by our Local Authority. We can't spend it on ourselves. She however wanted to include the money we're told to call “zero earnings” in her calculations (contrary to her own guidelines and government legislation). A week later we received her reply. Although she'd asked for proof of earnings she meant proof of Fostering from 2009.... How and Why?... I wrote back and told the lady I have a contract from 2006 but didn't get any other documents of proof until 2014 unless she'd like to look back on her own records.
All Foster Carers are Self Employed. Actually they are not employed but don't need to register for self-employment.
She must suspect all previous data is wrong or suspect we've committed fraud for 8 years. What good it would do her I'm not sure but it's how we've been treated each time we submit tax and housing documents. 8 years of being treated as a scrounger, fraudster or liar. Each time we get into debt, face eviction and then they get it right.. Maybe she's too busy playing on her phone to be properly bothered with the work load (It's amazing how many people I've seen recently sat behind monitors using mobile phones).
My Local Fostering Authority didn't start giving us Annual Contracts to sign until this year. The only proof we normally have to show anyone is Housing and Inland Revenue letters.
I asked if she could please hurry up the situation so that we could pay what I owe and relax.
Today (New Years Eve) we got the reply. 4 Months after telling them of the change of circumstances.. £84 per week accumulated rent arrears.... for 4 months waiting...
Because I've voluntarily taken this job paying £156 per week (before any deductions) I will lose £100 per week in rent and Council Tax (plus the arrears). BUT I will receive £140 child tax and working tax Credits.
So I'll give back the credits to pay the Rent, Council tax and rent-arrears.
The sad part isn't the expensive musical-chairs played with Tax-Payers money it's that I would be better off not working. I was a fool to think of giving more back. I didn't need to work and now I'm in serious debt at a time I can least afford to pay it (because my Local Authority take tooo long with almost everything they do. That's if they reply)..
I was told of the Local Authority job vacancy and told it was 25 hours per week (turned out to be 34 because it is humanly impossible to do the job in 25 hours but by then I was doing the job and had declared the change of circumstances but it took 3 months for my pay slip to get sorted out and for the pay to get paid properly).
I took the job because my friend told me about it. His disabled Son is our Godson and he's always been taken to School by Local Authority Transport. I wanted to help get Children like him to School safely and home again in the afternoon (two trips each day). Now though our household income has significantly lowered and we owe more than £1000. I feel as though I'm doing something wrong and feel we've been ignored tricked and deceived by two sections of my own Local Authority. The kids are amazing though. When we were all giving money to Children in need, they were giving too. I was giving for them and they were thinking of others.
To work for less makes you understand why people don't want to work.
I'm still in receipt of a retainer for an empty Foster room so I can't complain but why am I getting a retainer for 8 months? It seems pointless. If I was actually Fostering instead of keeping an empty room open it would feel worthwhile. After our recent successful Annual Inspection we feel our experience and knowledge of the subject is being thrown away. Top marks from BAAF but a genuine feeling that our Local Authority are trying to create bed shortages by making existing Foster Carers leave Fostering. There are lots of us with no placements and lots of us with contracts that are better than those being offered to new Foster Carers. It could be our holiday entitlement that is causing us to be pushed out (I've only taken 8 weeks respite holiday in 8 years but our entitlement is 4 weeks annually. New Foster Carers get two weeks holiday cover).
My low pay is less than we are paid to Foster. We qualify for more help when we both Foster with no additional income... Paid,- taxable work equals worse off and struggling whereas 2 people doing one tax exempt job equals better off?! My Wife could take a part time job and we would have a spare room for family, visitors, junk etc.. No Compulsory Training, Social Services, Reviews, risk of Allegations, Annual home Inspections or damage to property by unhappy little people. As an afterthought our compulsory Home contents Insurance wouldn't show risk (we could even cancel it if we wanted to). Our holidays wouldn't need respite carers (Respite carers are in such short supply). And we certainly wouldn't cancel anymore holidays after Social Services did nothing about a respite request made a year in advance (as happened)...
In April 2015 our retainer will stop because it lasts a year. Then we won't be Fostering for our Local Authority because we won't be able to afford for my Wife to sit in mothballs waiting to be one of the desperately needed Foster Carers.
Do something amazing. Leave an empty room for those desperately needed Foster Carers..