It’s important to be financially stable so that you can live your life comfortably. Managing money is a skill and everyone needs help to learn. We are here to help you understand what finances are available to you and how to budget. Our focus is to get you to a place where your finances are stable, you have a steady income and you can pay for the things that you need…as well as having some left over to do things you enjoy!
What you are entitled to depends on your circumstances these include things like;
You will go through this with your PA and they will tell you exactly what to expect. Remember if you’re ever in doubt, reach out.
Between 16-18 your financial entitlements will be arranged by your social worker and or PA if you are no longer in care but entitled to the full Care Leavers Service. What money is paid and how will depend on where you are living and your independence plan in place with you. Your social worker and or PA will explain your entitlements to you.
When you turn 18, we are hopeful you will be earning money from a job and or in higher education and receiving Student Finance. If you are in full time education (12 hours or more) you can claim Universal Credits. If you are not working you can claim Universal Credits. As with all benefits there is eligibility criteria. Your PA, Social Worker or other professional will help you to apply for Universal Credit.
Universal credit is a payment you might be eligible for when you turn 18. It’s designed to help people by giving them a monthly payment, whilst they are looking for work or going into education. Although it’s a single payment, there are two parts to it;
You will be paid monthly unless it is shown it would be easier for you to be paid fortnightly in order to budget your money. It can take up to 5 weeks from the day of your claim to receive your first payment. We will support you whilst your claim is being processed with the same weekly payment you would be receiving from Universal Credit. It is important you work with professionals to make your claim as we will only pay up to 5 weeks unless there are exceptional circumstances.
You may be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or need help with your living costs. You could be working (including self-employed or part time) or be out of work. To claim you must:
You can use a benefits calculator to check what benefits you could get.
You will both need to claim for Universal Credit. You must make a joint claim for your household, even if your partner is not eligible. How much you can get will depend on your partner’s income and savings, as well as your own.
You can make a claim for Universal Credit if you’re in full-time education and any of the following apply:
You can also claim Universal Credit if you’re 21 or under, studying any qualification up to A level or equivalent and do not have parental support. You may be able to claim if you are studying part-time or doing a course for which no student loan or finance is available. Check the guidance about claiming Universal Credit as a student.
You can claim Universal Credit if you’re in full-time education, have limited capability for work and are entitled to any of the following:
No recourse to public funds means that there is a circumstance that is preventing you from being able to access benefits or housing support.
If you are ‘subject to immigration control’ you may not be able to access any support in the form of benefits or housing, this may also mean that you’re unable to legally work. Everyone’s circumstances are different and different controls are put in place for this reason. We understand this can be a challenging and stressful time for you, your Personal Advisor is here for you and will help you and your Pathway Plan will detail what support you can expect and plan with you for the different outcomes that can happen on conclusion of your claim.
WSCC will continue to pay for your accommodation and your weekly payment, up until the age of 21 or when you finish your current course of education, whichever is latest; as long as you comply with Home Office requirements. To remain eligible for support over the age of 21, your education course must be accredited and be a minimum of 12 hours a week.
If you are without a decision, turning 21 and not in education you will receive three months’ notice, prior to your 21st birthday and you will need to leave WSSC-funded accommodation after this period of notice expires. You will be issued with the three months’ notice in writing and this will detail when you will need to leave your accommodation and any payments are subject to any restrictive changes in the Immigration Act 2016.
Your PA can support you to apply for support for the period during which your asylum application and any subsequent appeal is being considered. This is often referred to as Section 95 support (defined in Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999). The application can be for subsistence and accommodation or for subsistence only. You can read more about entitlement to your ongoing asylum support here:
Whilst the Council’s duties to provide you with accommodation end when you are 21 (unless you are in education) you can still access advice and guidance through our helpline on 0330 2222 004 where you can speak to a PA.
If you are refused asylum and become Appeal Rights Exhausted (ARE) before your 21st birthday and have no further legal challenge lodged with the Home Office by your solicitor, your support from WSCC may end, depending on the outcome of a Human Rights Assessment. You will not be able to claim housing benefit and you may be asked to leave your college course. You will receive 3 months’ notice and you will need to leave WSSC-funded accommodation after this period of notice expires.
If the outcome of the Human Rights Assessment indicates you are not entitled to continue to receive ongoing support from WSCC, your PA will offer to refer you to the Home Office for support called ‘Section 4 Support’ which will be able to offer you continuing help with accommodation and finances when support from WSCC ends. You can read more information about Section 4 support here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/682495/asylum-support-section-4_2_-policy-and-process-v1.0ext.pdf.
In order to access support from Section 4 you will need to be considered ‘destitute’ when support from WSCC ends and satisfy one or more of the following conditions: a) you are taking all reasonable steps to leave the UK b) you are unable to leave the UK due to medical reasons, c) you are unable to leave the UK because in the opinion of the Secretary of State there is no viable route of return available d) you have applied for judicial review e) accommodation is necessary to avoid a breach of your human rights.
If you are accepted by Section 4 Support you may be offered accommodation anywhere in the UK. There is no guarantee that you will be accepted by Section 4 and you may ultimately need to return to your country of origin.
If you are eligible, you may be entitled to support from the voluntary returns service who can:
You can still get help if you’re already making your own plans to return to your home country.
You may also be eligible to apply for financial support of up to £3,000, which you can use to find somewhere to live, find a job or start a business in your home country. You can access more information here: https://www.gov.uk/return-home-voluntarily
There may be voluntary organisations that will be able to help you at this point and your PA can help you explore these options.
You will need to be aware that you could be detained by the Home Office at any time prior to turning 21. Your PA can help you prepare for this.
The No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Network is a national network safeguarding the welfare of destitute families, adults and care leavers who are unable to access benefits due to their immigration status.
They have a tool that can help you by:
To find out more visit: https://www.nrpfnetwork.org.uk
If you are a relevant or former relevant Care Leaver you will continue to receive visits and support from your Personal Advisor up to the age of 21. They will discuss with you if you are needing this support to continue post 21. PA support is available up to the age of 25. Your PA will plan for your release with the professionals involved with you. This includes your accommodation and financial needs. You will also be supported by the prison itself; they will provide your food, drinks and clothing. You will able be able to work in the prison, earning some money and getting experience that will help you when you get out. You are entitled to £20 a month from Care Leavers Service up to the age of 21.
If you have a disability, long term physical or mental health condition you may be entitled to extra support and this may be in the form of financial benefits. Your Personal Advisor and/or Social Worker will discuss this with you.
Personal Independence Payment can help you with some of the extra costs if you are deemed to have the qualifying long term physical or mental health conditions or disability.
The amount you receive depends on how your condition affects you. Criterias can change, but this could include if you need help with:
You will be assessed by a health professional to work out if you are entitled to support and if you are, what level of help you can get. Speak to your PA or Social Worker who are best to help you to apply for this.
If you are receiving a package of support from Adult Social Care, you may need to contribute towards the cost of this from your PIP and you will be assessed as to what contribution you may need to make. Your Social Worker will talk to you about this.
If you’re already receiving Disability Living Allowance (this is for under 16s) and you are entitled to the Personal Independence Payment this will replace DLA when you are 16 or over.
Maternity Allowance is a payment you can get when you take time off to have a baby. You could get it if you:
You can get Maternity Allowance for up to 39 weeks. You can claim Maternity Allowance as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments can start up to 11 weeks before your baby is due.
If you’re under the age of 18 and expecting a child, in these situations, we will support you to access the things you will need. You and your Social Worker, PA and Family Nurse Partnership will talk to you about what you need and this can include;
If you are 18 or over and needing support to purchase items for your child, please speak to your PA and they will see what Care Leavers Service can do to help you. As corporate grandparents, we want to support you and your children. We can provide discretionary payments if you are struggling to provide for your child’s basic needs and or put you in touch with services and organisations that can help.
We also want to support you and your baby to live a healthy lifestyle. Please speak to your PA about what support you think would help you and where possible we will help you to achieve this.
We also have a Care Leavers Young Parent Group you may wish to join. This group meet regularly and share parenting ideas and advice and offer each other support. They have also organised for you to receive a baby hamper they have put together for expectant mums who are care leavers. Please speak to your PA about this hamper and they will arrange for you to receive this.
You may also be entitled to a £500 maternity grant from Sure Start for your first child if you are on certain benefits. You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 6 months after your baby’s birth. You do not have to pay the grant back and it will not affect your other benefits or tax credits. Your Personal Advisor or Social Worker can support you to see if you are eligible and you can access the link here: https://www.gov.uk/sure-start-maternity-grant
There are also charities who can support you with getting the baby items you may need. Your Personal Advisor can signpost you and help you to contact these charities.
TURN2US is a national charity that provide information to help people get back on track. They have a really useful ‘benefit calculator’ so that you can work out exactly what you are entitled to. They also sign post you to a number of grants that you might be able to have, depending on your circumstances.
You can visit TURN2US at: https://www.turn2us.org.uk
entitledto is a national company that supports individuals and organisations understand what funding is available to them. This includes knowing what benefits you may be entitled to. They have a very useful benefit calculator that you can use that will tell you what your entitlements are.
You can visit entitledto at: https://www.entitledto.co.uk
Your Social Worker will arrange for bank accounts to be set up for you. Your Social Worker will be the best person to answer questions you may have in relation to the setting up of these accounts. If you are needing some help with this, you can also speak to your PA, Foster Carer or Keyworker.
There are three different bank accounts.
A current account is a bank account where you can store and withdraw money. When you open a current account, you are usually assigned an 8-digit account number, a 6-digit sort code and a debit card which you can use to access your funds.
A Child Trust Fund is a long-term tax-free savings account for children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011. The Child Trust Fund scheme closed in 2011. If you did not have Child Trust Fund set up for you, you will have Junior ISA instead.
Some children looked after by local authorities have a Child Trust Fund account set up on their behalf. The Share Foundation acts as the registered contact for these accounts.
How the account is managed
The Share Foundation manages the Child Trust Fund account for the child and will:
They’ll manage the account until:
What is an ISA and why was one set up for me?
An ISA is a tax efficient savings/investment account. Your account was first set up as a Junior ISA when you were a child, and it became an adult ISA when you turned 18.
As you were in care for more than a year, the account was set up for you so you could receive a payment of £200 from the government to invest for your future. This was done through a charity called The Share Foundation. You can find out more about The Share Foundation at sharefound.org. Now that you are over 18 you have control over your money.
Around your 18th birthday you should receive a letter from us to explain the options for your money, you may want to leave your money in ther for saving and add to it or you may want to withdraw in. If you want to find out more information see the link below: The Share Foundation: Moving to interactive investor – interactive investor (ii.co.uk)
Funding ID our offer to you:
Before turning 18, your Social Worker, PA or Carers will arrange for you to get ID and your Social Worker will pay for this. If you are over 18 and you have not had these, the Care Leavers Service will pay for these. Please look after these documents because we will not pay for replacements, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
We will pay for the following documents:
Dependent on your circumstances there are several offers available to you. Please see the housing section of this offer for more information around your housing options. If you need support to move, we can provide suitcases for your belongings and arrange a removal van if this is needed.
You are entitled to up to £3,000 (as of 1st April 23) to spend on furnishing and fittings for your home.
The things you can spend this on include;
Your PA will help you to make your home your own. They will go through a list of essential items we think you may need and the estimated costings for these. You can then talk this through and make your choices. They will also support you to purchase these items and arrange for larger items to be delivered to your new home. You can have up to £250 cash from this allowance to purchase smaller items yourself. In order to receive this money, your PA will need to be confident this will be spent on items to set up your home.
We know you will want to spend your money wisely. Your PA will advise you if you are choosing something that is dearer than expected and can be sourced at a cheaper amount. This is to help you make this money cover everything you need to set up your home.
In addition to your Setting Up Home Allowance, we will also give you a £75.00 moving in voucher to buy smaller items such as tea towels, saucepans, cups, cutlery, plates and cleaning products. This is so you have these ready on your move-in day. PAs have a list of where you can find the best prices for these items.
PAs can also look at charities and websites where you may be able to get furniture items for free or pay a small amount for. This can help make your money go that bit further. We will need to make sure electrical items and sofas are safe and follow safety guidelines.
If you are waiting for a decision on your Leave to Remain, you will not be entitled to your Setting Up Home Allowance. This is because all you need at the time will be provided for you.
If you are open to Lifelong Services and do not have a PA, they will contact the Care Leaving Service to access your Setting Up Home Allowance funds for you.
If you do not want to access this money before you are 25 years of age; possibly because you are not in your permanent home, you can access this money post 25.
We can make discretionary payments for rent in advance. If, following an assessment, we agree to pay your rent in advance, we will pay your first month and you will not need to pay this back. This is because we know it is financially hard and we do not want you to fall into financial hardship. If your rent is for advance payment of more than one month’s rent, then we will expect you to set up a repayment plan with your PA to pay this back. This will be in line with when you receive your benefits or wages. If for example, this advanced payment is for a period of 6 months, after 6 months, it is the expectation the landlord will allow you to pay your rent directly to them.
We can make discretionary payments for deposits. If you are asked to pay a deposit for a privately rented home, we may liaise with the housing department to see if they will pay this. Before we would agree to pay a deposit, your PA will complete an assessment of your circumstances and checks for suitability of the home and affordability for you. We would need the deposit set up so that it comes back to Care Leavers Service when your tenancy ends.
We do have the discretion to offer a guarantor scheme for you. Following an assessment, we would need to be confident this arrangement is right for you, you will be able to manage your money and pay your rent on time and keep your home to a good standard. The home would also need to be suitable to your needs and affordable for you.
If you have to rent privately, this goes through an estate agent. They may ask you for a holding fee. If this is the case, please speak to your PA and we will consider if we will pay this. We would need to have some certainty at this stage this is an affordable and suitable home for you.
Your Personal Advisor will support you when you are ready to move into a new property. We will pay for a removal company/van if you are unable to source this yourself. We can also help buy bags and boxes to help with moving. If you don’t have a suitcase we can provide one to you. Any cost involved in moving will be covered by the Leaving Care Service.
When you live indifferent types of accommodation, you will usually have to pay council tax. This can be expensive (anything between £100 – £180 per month). We will pay this up until you are 22 years old, wherever you live in the country. If you are entitled to any exemptions, a single person’s discount, and/or council tax benefit, we will support you to apply for these first and we will pay any difference. We will pay 50% if your tenancy is shared with another adult.
The Government have a bursary scheme for Care Leavers to access money that can be spent on things to support their education. This is attendance related. You can apply for up to £1,200 to spend on:
To get this bursary you will have to speak to student services at your college. Your Personal Advisor can support you with this.
We can provide up to £500 to support you with education and or employment. This can be spent on things that support you in education or employment, or if you’re trying to access it. It can include things such as;
In the first month of you working, we can pay for your transport to and from work as long as the Department of Work and Pensions are not already providing with this. To find out if you are eligible and read more visit: https://www.gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund/eligibility
If you are over 19, there are other bursaries that colleges can provide. Please discuss with your Personal Advisor and your college
If you’re going to university we will give you £3,000 (as of September 23) over the duration of your course. Most degrees are 3 years, this means you will receive 3 payments of £1,000 each year of your course. We offer more support for young people going to university, to find out more look in the education and training section of this offer.
We want to support you to continue your studies. Following an assessment, if needed, we can offer some financial support towards this. This will be a discretionary payment and will not come with the full entitlements you received in your higher education course. We will consider your circumstances and what you are able to do to support yourself, what your accommodation needs are and any other means of financial support available to you.
Useful link to looking at Postgraduate funding opportunities: https://www.postgraduate-funding.com/
The UNITE foundation believe ‘being an estranged young person or care leaver shouldn’t mean being left behind and, through the scholarship, were being united with our futures through going to uni’. They can offer care leavers scholarships to go to university, having your accommodation and bills paid for over 3 years.
To find out more about the scholarship visit: https://thisisusatuni.org
We know sometimes things happen where additional support is needed. A discretionary payment is a ‘one off’ payment we can make to assist you in addition to our Local Offer. Any payments will be dependent on assessment being completed and whether we have made previous payments for the same thing, what your circumstances are and your financial situation. We are unlikely to be able to make any urgent payments on the same day due to the banks processing times, but will do our best to respond to urgent situations on the day.
An example when we would pay a discretionary payment could be:
In most situations if your benefits have been stopped, we will provide:
It’s rare in these circumstances we will pay money directly into your bank. If you are struggling with managing your money, we do want to support you. You PA would have a follow up conversation with you about how we can support you to manage your money and maybe find some additional support.
Learning to manage your finances and pay your bills can be difficult at the start. Your PA is there to help you learn how to manage your money and live on a budget. Over time you can become more financially stable and secure as you progress in your chosen career. It will always be important for you think about how much money you have and budget accordingly. This is so you do not end up in debt.
As adults, we cannot ignore debt and there can be serious consequences if debts are not paid. This can include being evicted from your home for non-payment of rent. Should you start experiencing financial difficulties, there are agencies, including the Citizen’s Advice Bureau who will help you to address your debts and put a budgeting plan together. Please speak to your PA as soon as you start to experience difficulties so they can help you.
Freephone- 0800 023 2033
There are several other organisations that can support you with your finances. Dependant on your circumstances will depend on what support you can access. Some organisations will be able to support with bursaries to support you with education, employment, family life and more. We have listed just a few in this offer. You can speak to your PA about this too.
We work closely with the Job Centre, they are managed by the Department for Work and Pensions, this is the part of the government. They really know what it’s like for a care leaver and have lots of support available that includes;
The Job Centre want to be able to offer you the opportunity to gain experiences and enable you to access employment opportunities. In each Job Centre they have someone who is there for care leavers and are a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for you. If you want to talk to this person, tell your work coach you are a Care Leaver and would like to speak to this person and they will arrange this for you.
Chances for Children (Buttle UK) is a charity that has been set up to support children in need across the UK by offering grant funding. They pay for things that we would want all children and young people to have but their parent or carers cannot otherwise afford.
They have a useful tool on their website that will help you understand what you might be able to apply for. We would recommend that you visit their website, or speak to your Personal Advisor and you can look together. Their website is: https://buttleuk.org
We will provide you with up to £300 towards your health essentials such as;
If there is something you think is essential for your health, but is not on this list, please talk to your Personal Advisor who will be able to advise you if we can make a discretionary payment to cover this.
This is an allowance available to all our Care Leavers up £50 a year. This is to support you to take part in religious or cultural festivals and events important to you. Please speak to your Personal Advisor if you would like to access this.
We want to recognise important occasions in your life such as birthdays for you and your children (if you have any). Your Personal Advisor will send you a card and a gift at these times.