• Financial support for care leavers

    • The amount and type of financial support available to you will be dependent on your age, your legal status (please see the ‘Sorted and Supported’ leaflet, in the first section to work this out if you’re not sure) and the type of accommodation you are in. If you are not sure about what you are entitled to, ask your personal advisor or social worker about this. 

      The Through Care service will be responsible for your accommodation and maintenance costs until you’re 18.

      There are also other ways that the service may support you financially. These can include:

      Bus passes
      May be available upon request, these are ordinarily provided for you to get to college, contact or appointments and are assessed on an individual basis.

      Travel warrants/train tickets 
      These may also be available upon request and are assessed on an individual basis as above. 

      Clothing allowance
      Depending on your circumstances, you may also be eligible to receive a yearly clothing allowance, which is currently £150. This is normally split into two payments of £75 each year, and your social worker will normally come shopping with you to do this. 

      Setting up allowance
      This is only provided when you are ready to move on to independence and can be up to £2,000 & could be used for things like the first months rent & deposit, white goods, your TV licence, electricals & furniture. If you are starting to think about independence and moving to your own accommodation, then speak to your worker about accessing this. 

      16-18

      Living allowance
      If you are not in foster care and you are aged 16-18, you will be entitled to a living allowance. If you are in foster care or residential it is down to your carers to provide you with ‘pocket money’.

      If you are getting a living allowance, there will be an expectation for you to attend weekly ‘drop in’ sessions to meet with workers in the team to support you with developing your independence, dealing with finances and job searches, amongst other things you may need help with. Unless you are in full time education, you will be expected to attend Xtrax in Hastings or the Charlie’s youth centre in Eastbourne to do this. This is to help us prepare you for life after you are 18.

      The amount paid to you falls in line with the national job seekers allowance rate & currently this is £57.90 per week. 

      Depending on your needs, your living allowance may also be split into two payments each week, or paid to you in cash. This will be discussed with you by your social worker if it is something that is being considered. 

      If you are living in supported lodgings placement, you will receive an allowance of £57.90 per week and £25 of this will need to be given to your supported lodgings provider for food and other expenses, leaving you with £32.90.

      18+ 

      Job hunting and employment

      There are lots of different places you can get help to find a job. We will work closely with the virtual school  who can help you find and apply for jobs and point you in the right direction to other opportunities including apprenticeships, training and work experience. The YES (Youth employability service) can also help you find jobs and help with your CV. 

      Benefits

      From the age of 18, young people who are unemployed or on a low wage may be eligible for housing benefit and other types of benefit as a form of income. The amount you are eligible for will largely depend on your circumstances. 

      The benefits system can be confusing, but your worker will support you by discussing your options with you and helping you access this once you turn 18, if this is appropriate for you. Your worker will help you with attending appointments, filling out forms, and making phone calls amongst other things you may need help with. 


      Different types of benefits

      At the moment, there are different types of benefits that you may be eligible for depending on your situation. 

      Visit the www.gov.uk to find out more information about the different types, to find out if you are eligible and how to apply. 

      Housing benefit

      Housing benefit can help pay for all or part of your rent. You may be eligible for this if you are out of work or on a low wage, but you must be over 18 to claim. The Local housing allowance (LHA) is the name of the housing benefit rates (how much housing benefit you will be paid if you are eligible for this).

      At the moment, all young people under 25 are entitled to housing benefit payments which are equal to the cost of a room in a shared house. However, care leavers between 18 and 21 are currently eligible for a ‘single room or 1 bedroom ’rate instead, which is slightly more than the ‘shared house rate’.  At the moment, this lasts until you’re 22, so it will be important to bear this in mind when you are planning where you want to live. There is a chance that this may be changed to last until you are 25, or may not be the case in the future, so it will be important to check before moving in anywhere. 

      For East Sussex council information on these rates, check which area of East Sussex you are in on this map, and click on the link for your area below  

      •    ROTHER
      •    HASTINGS
      •    EASTBOURNE
      •    WEALDEN
      •    LEWES

      For more information about benefits read Know-your-rights-know-your-benefits 

      Sanctions / job seekers agreements 

      One thing to bear in mind when you are thinking about applying for benefits, or if you are already accessing support, is something called ‘sanctions’ and the agreements you make with the job centre. 

      If people who are claiming benefits fail to do certain things, which will be discussed and agreed with you when you are applying, such as being late for a meeting at the job centre or not updating your CV, or looking for jobs, you can be sanctioned and have some or all of your benefits stopped for a certain amount of time. 

      It is possible to challenge these decisions and if you feel you have been treated unfairly, speak to us and your worker will support you to challenge this.  You may also be able to access emergency payments until this has been resolved. You will also be eligible to access food through ‘food banks’ while this is happening – your worker will be able to tell you more about where in your area you can go to access this.

      Important changes to benefits expected soon and ‘Universal credit’

      The rules around claiming benefits can change regularly, so it will be important to know what’s going on and speak to your worker about these things which you may need help to understand.

      From April 2013 until 2017 some of the benefits (such as housing benefit, income support, jobseekers allowance, employment and support allowance, and tax credits) will be replaced by what is called ‘universal credit’. 

      •    Universal credit is a single monthly payment for those out of work or on low income. It includes help with your rent as well as living costs, and is supposed to be instead of receiving  more than one type of benefit. 
      •    Under universal credit you will have to learn to budget your money, because it will be paid once a month into your bank, rather than every 2 weeks.  
      •    You will also have to pay your rent independently from the money you are given in your one off payment. This is a change from the current arrangement which can allow you to have your housing benefit to pay your rent deducted from source and sent to your landlord before you are provided with the rest. In some circumstances, it may be possible for your benefits to be sent to your landlord, so it is worth asking if this is possible. 
      •    It may also be possible to discuss the way your payments are managed with your local job centre if you think you may struggle to manage these new changes. Speak to your worker about supporting you with this. 
      •    This is due to be rolled out in East Sussex between the late 2016 and early 2017. In Hastings this is now in full effect, but different parts of the county are starting this at different times. 

       More detailed information on universal credit