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Support for children leaving care

Benefits and money

Most 16 to 18 year olds are not entitled to benefits, but there may be some exceptions. Your personal advisor will tell you about this.

18 to 21 year olds in full time education can receive an independent living allowance. You will get this from us at the Leaving Care Service. This payment is based on the income support rate.

Benefits

We can give you help and advice on benefits.

You can also:

Welfare Rights

Within our service there is a worker who deals only with your welfare rights. Their role is to make sure you get all the benefits you are entitled to. This includes helping you with forms, speaking on your behalf, and representing you at appeals and tribunals.

If you would like this service, ask your Leaving Care Advisor to put you in touch.

Asylum Seekers

If you are an asylum seeker your personal advisor will support you by:

  • ensuring that you receive support and advice in accordance with section 24 of The Children's Act 2004 (Care Leavers)
  • liaising with solicitors, the Home Office and National Asylum Support Service (NASS) to ensure asylum seekers are in receipt of the appropriate support depending on their immigration status
  • helping you to link into your community
  • helping you with training and employment
  • registering you with a doctor/dentist and put you in touch with other health professionals.

From time to time your personal advisor will get details about new benefits. They will tell you about anything relevant to you.

Money

Firstly, don't panic! Ask yourself these vital questions.

  • What is the total amount you need to live on?
  • Does this include rent, food etc?
  • Do you save money?
  • Are you given any other money from adults?
  • If you borrow money, how do you pay it back?
  • Do you spend money on anything you wish you didn't? Would you like to stop?
  • Do you know where to go if you get into debt?
  • Do you have a bank account?

Budgeting allows you to see what money you will have and what you will need to pay your bills.

Managing your money may be quite difficult for some of you. Your personal advisor will help you to work out your budget priorities.

What money will we give you?

Independent Living Allowance

You will receive this from us at the Leaving Care Service; this payment is based on the Income Support rate.

Clothing

When you turn 18 you will be expected to budget your finances and be responsible for buying your own clothes with your own money.

If you require specialist clothing for your education, training or employment, a financial assessment will be completed and included in your Pathway Plan. You will need to liaise with your personal advisor on a regular basis to allow for detailed discussions of support you may require. 

We can help with clothing for interviews, training or further education.  We may be able to help you with clothing if you are pregnant.

Emergencies

If necessary the Service Manager or the Care Leavers Team Manager may give you a discretionary emergency payment.

Example budget list

Imagine living on a budget of £57.90 per week. This list is an example of the places and people you must pay before spending any of the £57.90 on yourself. Could you manage?

  • Paying your rent
  • Buying your weekly food
  • Travel to work/training
  • TV licence
  • Water charges
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Toiletries
  • Loans
  • Telephone
  • Clothes
  • Leisure
  • Cigarettes/magazines/books
  • Entertainment
  • Cleaning materials
  • Presents
  • Other

You must pay your bills. Work out how much you use and put some money aside to pay them as they come in. Most of your bills will be paid at weekly, monthly or even yearly intervals.   

If you are working you are responsible for all of your bills. If you are getting Income Support or Housing Benefit the council will pay your rent, but you are still responsible and you will need to fill in the necessary forms and chase the housing office if payment is late.

Your personal advisor will help you to complete a budget plan and organise yourself.