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Money Matters

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Money Matters

This section will provide information on what financial assistance you can expect from Kent County Council. The amount of money that you will be provided with depends on your age and the accommodation that you stay in. Have a look at the Entitlements Booklet for additional information.

Financial Support for 16 and 17 year olds

Living Costs

At this age you will not be able to claim benefits (with the exception of young parents and disabled young people), so Kent County Council will be responsible for paying your accommodation and living costs.

If you are in foster care, an agreement about the weekly allowance given to you by your carer will be agreed as part of your Pathway Plan. This will be reviewed every 6 months.

If you are in supported lodgings or a semi-independent living home, then a personal allowance will be paid which is equivalent to the benefits rates for young people.

If you are moving into independent accommodation, you will receive a setting up home allowance of up to £2000 to pay for furniture, electronic goods and other necessities.

Education and Training

You will be eligible for an education bursary to pay for college fees and materials. This bursary can also be used to purchase a 16+ Travel Card to cover your travel costs. In exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible for further help if you need to travel outside Kent. Talk to your social worker if this affects you.

Find out about the Education Bursary here

Birthday Allowance

On your 17th Birthday, you may be eligible to receive £30.

On your 18th Birthday, you may be eligible to receive £60

If you are in a placement where Kent County Council pays the maintenance to the provider, then agreement will be sought to give you this payment either though gifts, vouchers or cash.

Clothing Allowance

You are entitled to up to £120 to put towards clothing. This is broken down into two payments of £70 and £50. If you are in a placement where Kent County Council pays the maintenance to the provider, then agreement will be sought to give you this payment either though vouchers or cash.

Financial Support for 18+

Welfare benefits

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.

Benefit options

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.

Savings

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.

Budgeting

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:

Citizens Advice

Money Advice Service

National Debt Line

Step Change

 

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.

Education Bursaries

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.

Clothing Allowance

You are eligible for £120 a year to put towards clothing. It will be paid in two separate amounts of £70 and £50.

Birthday Allowance

£30 paid on 17th birthday.

£60 paid on 18th birthday.

Other sources of funding

Some organisations help care leavers by awarding grants that do not need to be repaid. Some grants help with university, moving into independent accommodation and financial support to help you to train.

You can contact the care Catch22 advice line on:
0207 017 8901

Other organisations

The Care Leavers’ Foundation exists primarily to make small grants to care leavers aged up to 29 for things like household items, emergency living expenses, education costs, medical needs, training and employment.

The Capstone Care Leavers Trust awards grants to people aged 17 to 25 who have been in local authority care and are in need for education courses and equipment (including travel), driving lessons/tests and household items

Rees, the Care Leavers Foundation can provide financial support in times of crisis.

Some universities offer scholarships to young people who have spent time in local authority care.

The Spark Foundation offers grants of up to £600 to young people who have been in care aged up to 26.

Lawrence Atwell’s Charity awards grants of £100-£1,500 to young people aged 16-26 to help with training courses, including buying equipment, living expenses during the course and fees for tuition, enrolment or exams.

The Prince’s Trust awards grants for young people aged 17-25, working fewer than 16 hours, or in education for fewer than 14 hours per week, to help with getting into work, education or training; loans are also on offer to help you start a business.

Turn2Us have a grant search tool. Enter your postcode for info on grants you could apply for.

Talk to your personal adviser if you wish to make an application for a grant. They will be able to help you!