The type of financial help you receive from Achieving for Children will depend on whether you are an eligible, relevant, former relevant, or qualifying young person.
Your social worker or personal advisor can help you to complete a financial assessment as part of your pathway plan. The financial assessment looks at your income and spending, and forms the basis of your budget plan, which they can also help you with. Sometimes, it may be your foster carer, key worker, or someone else who does this with you. It’s very important that you learn to budget as this will help you when you are living independently.
If you end up in debt, it’s important that you let your social worker or personal advisor know as soon as possible. We can help you by referring you to debt support services and developing a payment plan to get you back on track.
There are a number of grants available to care leavers, for example, the Capstone Care Leavers Trust; the Care Leavers Foundation; or Rees. Ask your social worker or personal advisor for more information about this.
If you are a care leaver, even if you would otherwise meet all the qualifying conditions for the benefit, you will not be able to claim:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Housing Benefit (HB England, Scotland and Wales) / (HB Northern Ireland)
Universal Credit, except in limited circumstances.
No one else (for example, a parent/guardian) can receive any extra money in their benefits for you either.
This is because social services have the responsibility for meeting your needs for maintenance, accommodation and support, and so you can’t receive benefits that cover the same things.
You can still get any other benefits that may apply to you, for example Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Carer’s Allowance.
If you are a care leaver and you are struggling, you should ask for help from your social worker, personal advisor, or key worker. If you have a foster carer, they can also help you.
If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says you are a care leaver and social services says you’re not a care leaver, you should get help from an adviser.
As a care leaver, you can claim Universal Credit if:
You have limited capability for work or you are waiting for an assessment to see if you have limited capability for work and you have a fit note from your GP saying you are not fit for work; or
You or your partner are responsible for a child under 16.
You won’t get the housing costs element for your rent.
It is no longer possible to make new claims for Employment and Support Allowance. However, if you are a care leaver who is already getting Employment and Support Allowance, you can carry on getting it if you carry on having limited capability for work.
It is no longer possible to make new claims for Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, but if you are already getting them, you can carry on receiving them as long as you continue to meet the conditions.