7. Financial support

Knowing what you are entitled to can be confusing, but we are here to help you.

We will help you open a bank account and access the financial support you are entitled to. We can also offer advice around how to handle your money and budgeting.

The financial support you will receive is dependent on your individual circumstances and will be set out in your pathway plan.

What financial support is available?

A personal allowance – if you are 16 or 17 and are an eligible or relevant young person, you are no longer entitled to claim Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or Housing Benefit. Instead, we have duty to meet the costs of your accommodation and pay you a personal allowance in cash or kind up to £57.90 (equivalent to local Job Seekers Allowance). The amount is dependent on age, needs and means tested.

Relevant young people who have successfully returned home for a period of six months or more are exempt from this duty are able to claim benefits.

Care leavers aged 16 or 17 who are lone parents or have a disability can also claim benefits but we must meet your housing costs.

Benefits – Once you are 18, if you are not in employment or full-time education, you can claim benefits. The benefits you can get depend on your circumstances, for example, if you are working, are disabled or have children.

We will offer you advice and help you to apply for all the benefits that you are entitled to. We may also give you financial assistance depending on your circumstances (means tested).

Top-up payments – Top-up payments are agreed on an individual basis and dependent on your circumstances, whether you are in college, university or seeking employment or undertaking voluntary work. Examples of top-up payments include:

  • Setting up home allowance (leaving care grant) – eligible, relevant and former relevant care leavers can access a setting up home allowance. This is based on need and up to a maximum of £2000.
  • Discretionary payments – after an assessment, you may be entitled to discretionary payments. Examples include money towards driving lessons, bus passes, passport and cold weather payment and Council Tax.
  • Removal costs – we will arrange transport for approved moves to new accommodation.
  • Storage costs – where possible, we will provide support to you to store furniture and also keep personal possessions secure for a time limited period.

Care leavers in custody - if you are 16 or 17 and are an eligible or relevant young person in custody, we will pay a weekly postal allowance up to £5 per week. This will be paid to the prison to distribute.

Care leavers with children – if you are an eligible, relevant or former relevant young person you will receive a £15.00 allowance for your first child, whilst caring for your child independently.This will be until the child reaches 12 months old and can be paid in kind by the purchasing of baby products required. If you are living in a parent and baby cared placement, this will only be activated when you living independently.

Care Leavers at university– If attending university, where agreed, we may pay your accommodation costs and give you a weekly living allowance (dependent on means testing). This financial support includes the one off £2000 Higher Education Bursary, that is provided to new students starting University. You will also be expected to claim grants and loans from student finance. Other payments may be made, for example money towards books and equipment.

If your university accommodation is not 52 weeks a year, vacation arrangements will be agreed as part of your pathway plan.

Travel costs will be funded on a three times a year basis if the university is a significant distance from Oldham. Young people will be provided with the loan of a laptop computer for the duration of the course.

Annual festival payments e.g. Christmas and Eid allowances

If you are 16 or 17 and are an eligible young person in care, you will receive a festival allowance, in line with the agreed boarding out allowances (April 2015).

If you are 16 or 17 and are a relevant young person, your festival allowance will be an agreed amount, but reduced by 50% if in custody or you are not accessing or engaging with support services given.

If you are 18 years or older and you are a former relevant young person, festival allowances will be discussed on an individual basis and dependent on if you are engaging in education, employment or training.