As you leave care, and move into adulthood, we will support you to become a financially independent adult. We offer a range of practical support and advice, as well as direct financial support to help you make a successful shift from care to independence.
It’s really important that you know how much money you have and to plan for the essential things you have to pay for. Organisations like Citizen’s Advice can help you with this. Your personal adviser can also help you with this, including support for budget planning, prioritising payments and opening a bank account.
We will support you to make contact with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to make sure you are accessing the benefits available to you if you are on a low income. Personal Advisers (PA) are your personal link to the DWP, if you want or need one. They can help you to set up your benefits and act on your behalf if you’re having problems with your benefit claims. Your PA can support you to do this 4 weeks before your 18th birthday to ensure there are minimal delays in you receiving your benefits. They can also help you to get hold of your National Insurance number if you don’t have one or don’t remember it. Don’t forget to give your consent for your PA to act on your behalf with the DWP at your Leaving Care Interview.
You can also check out whether there is any financial support available to you using this website www.entitled.co.uk
We understand that managing money when you first leave care isn’t easy and that sometimes things go wrong. If this happens to you, please get in touch with your personal adviser as soon as you can and we will help you to sort things out. This can include providing additional financial support if you need it. For example, if your first benefit payment is delayed or if you have a gap between you last benefit payment and your first payday.
If you choose to live independently, with your own tenancy, we will support you financially in a number of ways. We will give you a Home Establishment Grant. This can help to pay for things such as your first year’s contents insurance, furniture and a TV.
We’ll also help to pay for your actual move, so things like a removal van, furniture storage and boxes. Sometimes we can help to top up your electricity or gas meters when you first move in and perhaps pay for your first month’s rent and deposit (if private renting is right for you). Your personal adviser will help you with all of this, as well as looking into any grants, discounts or other sources of funding that may be available to you in your particular circumstances. For example, on household bills such as water - you could be entitled to up to 90% reduction on your water bill with Severn Trent. This scheme will also help you clear any debts you have with Severn Trent. Talk to your personal adviser about this, go to www.coventrycitizensadvice.org.uk/project/big-difference-scheme/ or call 02476 252600 to find out more.
If you are aged 16 or 17 and living in a supported or semi-independent home, we will provide you with a regular allowance to meet your needs.
You will have a Child Trust Fund or Junior ISA bank account from when you were in care. It is made up of money paid in by the government and sometimes Nottinghamshire County Council and/or your carers over the course of your time in care. You can access it when you turn 18. You can choose to leave it where it is, take it out or transfer it to another bank account. Your social worker or PA will be able to tell you more about your account, including where the savings have come from, and help you to fill in the form when it arrives (this may be before or after you leave care).
We will support you financially whilst you are at university or in higher education. We will contribute £3465 per year towards your fees (you will be expected to use the student loan and maintenance loan to cover the rest). We will pay for your accommodation all year round and provide you with a grant of £2000. We will also help you to apply to any care leaver grants or bursaries that may be available to you at your university.
We will support you to access the financial support you are entitled to if you are at school or college. This may depend on your age, type of course and other circumstances.
We will provide you with the following financial support for your course until you are 21, or over 21, or until the end of your programme of education or training as long as it is in your Pathway Plan
- Registration and Examination fees
- Textbooks and software specified as essential
- Activities essential to meet course requirements
- Public transport between home and place of learning
- Transport to open days and interviews
- Specific clothing, including clothes for interview and essential equipment relating to the course
If you are 20 or over, they can also help you to access other sources of funding to support you into education and training.
If you are 18/19 and in full-time education you may be entitled to the 16 to 19 bursary fund. This can be up to £1200 per year. Care leavers are a priority group for this funding. https://www.gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund.
If you are under 20 at the start of your college course, you may be entitled to help with childcare costs while you study under the Care to Learn scheme. You can get up to £160 a week. www.gov.uk/care-to-learn
If you have children under 5 you may get help with the cost of childcare. See page 17 INSERT LINK for more information
If you are on a low income, you shouldn’t have to pay for healthcare costs such as prescriptions, dental care or glasses. If you do need help to pay for healthcare costs, please talk to your personal adviser as we may be able to help.
We will always look at other ways of supporting you financially in ways that fit your individual circumstances, such as providing you with a phone card to call relatives that live outside of the UK. We’ll also help you access other sources of funding. Please speak to your personal adviser if you need help with something important to you that you are struggling to pay for.