When you are old enough to apply for benefits, the Care Leavers 18+ Service will help you do this.
If you have applied for benefits and are waiting to be paid, they will offer you an allowance to help you live for a period of up to 6 weeks. This allowance will be in the form of cash payments and food vouchers up to the value of the Essential Living Allowance.
Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. It replaces some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now, such as:
- Housing benefit
- Child tax credit
- Income support
- Working tax credit
- Income based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income related employment and support allowance
Your personal adviser will be able to advise and support you with applying for benefits. If you don’t attend appointments with the job centre you will be sanctioned and your benefits may be stopped. They will also only be able to provide food vouchers the first time you are sanctioned, the second time they may refer you to a local food bank. You may not receive any subsistence money from the Care Leavers 18+ Service if you are sanctioned. Please remember your personal adviser is there to help you if you are experiencing any difficulties with your benefits.
Read more about Universal Credit.
Essential Living Allowance
If you are unable to claim benefits, then the Care Leavers 18+ Service will offer you a weekly essential living allowance. This payment will be equivalent to state benefits and you will be expected to use this for your living costs, excluding your rent and household bills. These bills could include gas, electricity, water and council tax.
They can supply you with a ‘Kent Card’ and money will be paid onto this fortnightly.
You will need to spend your essential living allowance on day to day essentials and you should budget your money and pay for essentials first, such as food and bills.
If you have been in care for a long period of time you will have a savings account that you are able to access once you turn 18. If you are unable to open a bank account, you will be given a Kent Card and money will be paid onto this weekly. Click here for further information
Depending on how long you have been in care your savings may be a substantial amount – use this money to help you with your future.
If you aren’t aware how to budget and spend your money wisely then you may struggle when you live on your own.
Not being able to budget properly may affect you in the long-term and if you require budgeting support then speak to your personal adviser.
The Care Leavers 18+ Service will develop an accredited course and assist you with learning how to budget and live independently. You will be offered budgeting sessions with your keyworker or support worker. They will develop a peer to peer financial mentoring model, where former care leavers support current care leavers by sharing basic advice and support with issues relating to personal finances and budgeting.
If you need advice or more information about managing your finances or are struggling with debt, have a look at the following websites:
Money Advice Service
National Debt Line
Setting up home allowances
The Care Leavers 18+ will offer you a setting up home allowance up to the value of £2,000.00 to buy essential items for when you move into your own home. Instalments will be paid of up to £500 once receipts have been provided verifying previous payments.
At times, you may need essential items of furniture before you move onto independent living, the Care Leavers 18+ Service team manager must agree costs and only essential items will be considered.
They will support to move into independent living in the community. They will provide additional financial support to cover the accommodation deposit, 1 month rent advance and agent fees in addition to the £2,000.00 setting up home allowance.
Bursaries or money for your education and training will be provided. The Care Leavers 18+ Service need you to work in partnership with them and your education/training provider to ensure you are supported and receiving all the support you need from them. This will involve you taking part in discussions about your progress and attendance.
The bursary for care leavers in higher education is to be extended to £4000 provided over 4 years to give you support for a further year after successful competition of your degree course. You will receive £1000 per year.
They will provide care leavers up to the age of 25, who are in further or higher education, appropriate financial assistance to help purchase IT equipment and laptops.
They will explore the extension of support and financial assistance for college travel fares up to age of 25.
Subsistence and food vouchers
The Care Leavers 18+ Service will pay for subsistence and food vouchers if:
- It is part of an education package
- You are unable to claim benefits
- You are waiting for benefits to start
- It is an emergency
Speak to your personal adviser if you think you are entitled to a subsistence payment or food vouchers or if you are facing an emergency. They may ask for proof of your situation but we do fully understand that emergencies do happen.
You are eligible for £120 a year to put towards clothing. It will be paid in two separate amounts of £70 and £50.
£30 paid on 17th birthday.
£60 paid on 18th birthday.