Just before your 18th birthday you will be expected to submit a claim for benefits. Your worker will discuss and plan this with you as part of your Pathway Plan and provide support with the application process. You will be supported to manage your income so your everyday needs such as food, travel, toiletries and any contribution to service charges, utility bills and rent are met.
If you are in
education you are, in some circumstances, entitled to claim Income Support
(IS) and Housing Benefit (HB) or Universal Credit (UC), depending on the area
you live in.
Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. For more information about this go to https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit
If you are ill or
disabled you can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which
provides financial support if you are unable to work or study, and personalised
help so that you can work if you are able to. How much ESA is paid depends on
your circumstances, such as income, the type of ESA you qualify for and where
you are in the assessment process.
Support with benefits
Your worker will help you apply for benefits when you are old enough. If you are receiving benefits because you are not working you must attend appointments with the Job Centre so that your benefits are not stopped.
Sometimes your income source may change and you experience a period without any money coming in such as:
- When waiting to receive welfare benefit payments
- When stopping benefits because you have found a
- When moving from one type of benefit to another
If this happens, the Leaving Care Team will provide
financial support equivalent to your benefit entitlement for up to 6 weeks,
once you have given proof of the change in your income (examples of proof could
be a benefit claim, or a job offer). If support is needed longer than 6 weeks
this will be the decision of the Leaving Care Team manager. You may also be
provided with food vouchers or travel cards.
If you have your benefits payments reduced or stopped for a period of time this is called a ‘sanction’. You may be sanctioned if you are not doing what you should to find employment. If this happens, your worker will support you to get your benefits restarted, and provide you with assistance in getting food vouchers if needed and apply for help from other agencies or organisations.
In exceptional circumstances, your worker can ask the Team Manager for a payment to be made to you if it can be shown that you have tried all the options and you’ve been unable to get support.
Care Leavers can apply for a Crisis Loan from the Department for Work and Pensions if you:
- need extra help in an emergency
- are working but are on a low income
More information on all benefits can be found at https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits