Your Finances

Find out about managing your finances  

Finance policy

Budgeting

Council Tax

How to set up or switch bank account

Benefits 

Claiming benefits if you are seeking asylum

Do you have a disability or additional needs?

 

Care Leaver Finance policy

There is a finance policy which is a written statement that outlines what money and support you can expect to receive.  You should receive a copy of this policy before you turn 18 and your personal adviser should use it with you to understand and apply for the funding that you are entitled to.

This policy is reviewed annually, and you should receive any updated version of the policy when it is available.  Should you have any questions or would like a copy of the finance policy please speak to your personal adviser.

The current policy is available here (PDF, 405KB).

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Budgeting 

Some useful websites to help you manage your money

Money Saving expert- More about budgeting and planning on how to save money.

Money Advice Service-All about making the most of your money and saving money in everyday life.

Citizens advice-Information all about benefits i.e. income support, housing benefit and job seekers allowance.

GOV.UK- This is a careers advice website and it helps you with a range of things but in the money area it helps you with savings, benefits and tax.

If you are having problems with your finances you can find help and advice via Citizens advice and you can also talk to your PA who will be able to support you. 

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Council Tax 

As a Milton Keynes care leaver you are entitled to a council tax exemption until your 25th birthday. Your PA can support you to ensure this is set up.

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How to set up or switch bank account

How to set up a bank account?

As the name suggests, a basic bank account offers a place for you to store your money and pay your money from.  Most basic bank accounts will give you a debit card, so you can make payments in shops and online, and all allow you to set up direct debits - which is great, as this can make paying bills easier.

To find out which bank account is right for you, you can visit sites like:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/

When opening a back account and to confirm who you are, you'll usually need one (original) of the following:

  • Full, current passport
  • Current European Union member state identity card
  • Current UK photocard driving licence or UK full paper driving licence
  • Identity card issued by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland
  • Benefit books/benefit entitlement letters; includes pension, child benefit, income support, disability and jobseeker's allowance
  • HMRC tax notification or assessment letter

Banks publish their own lists of acceptable ID so you should check these. You'll also need proof of address.

If you can't provide any of the accepted forms of ID on the list, it's best to contact the bank to explain the situation - it'll be able to tell you if any other ID is acceptable.

How to switch bank accounts?

Sometimes switching bank accounts can offer you better benefits including:

  • Higher rates of interest
  • Cashback and rewards on spending
  • Competitive overdraft rates

There are a wide range of banks and building societies to compare. If you would like to switch your bank account look at sites including:

Which-how to switch your bank account guide 

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Benefits 

What are benefits?

This is a provision from the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP or Job Centre) for people either ‘looking for work’ or on a low income.  There are a number of different benefits:

  • Universal Credit (UC) – this is a monthly payment to encourage you to get into paid work
  • Job Seeker Allowance (JSA) – also to encourage you to take a paid job, as you have to ‘sign on’ and show what you have been doing to look for work
  • Income Support (IS) – if you are at college, in full time no advanced education (level 3 or below) you can claim Income Support, and this is a right for care leavers till age 21
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – for people who have a health or other problem that prevents them being available for work
  • Housing Allowance or Housing Benefit

If you are looking for work, at college or on a low income there is help paying the rent.  For people receiving Universal Credit this can be paid as part of the UC total which means you have to pass on the rent to your landlord.  You can also sign a form to have the rent paid directly.  If you are not getting UC, the housing allowance or housing benefit can also be paid direct to the landlord.  You can talk to your Personal Advisor about all of this.

Other help

Young people receiving benefits can also get

  • Free prescriptions if you are receiving housing benefit or prescription exemption on grounds of low income (please ask your chemist for a form)
  • Basic dental care (though you may need to pay something towards treatment)
  • Optical care (though you may need to pay something towards treatment)

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Claiming benefits if you are seeking asylum

If you are a young person (under 18 years of age) and have arrived in the UK on your own or in a group and wish to seek asylum, it is likely that you will be looked after by the local authority and receive discretionary leave to remain until you are 17 and a half years old.

When your discretionary leave to remain expires it will affect your rights to receive state benefits.

To be able to claim benefits you will need to have been granted refugee status, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, or indefinite leave.  If you have been granted one of these statuses, you will no longer be classed as an asylum seeker.

You must apply for an extension of discretionary leave to remain before it expires to be able to claim benefits.  Your Personal Adviser will link you with a solicitor to support you with your application for an extension for discretional leave to remain before it expires.  Remember only those qualified can give immigration advice.

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Do you have a disability or additional needs?

If you are a care leaver, aged 16-17 and have a disability or additional needs, you may be entitled to claim benefits.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) started to replace disability living allowance from April 2013 for people aged 16 – 24 with a health condition or disability.  To qualify for PIP, you must have a long-term health condition or disability and have difficulties with activities related to daily living and/ or mobility.  You must have had these difficulties for 3 months and expect them to last for at least 9 months.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability.  The rate depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

You’ll need an assessment by an independent healthcare professional to work out the level of help you get.  This may be a face-to-face consultation - you’ll get a letter explaining why and where you must go.  You may get the daily living component of PIP if you need help with things like:

  • preparing or eating food
  • washing and bathing
  • dressing and undressing
  • reading
  • using the toilet
  • communicating
  • managing medicine and treatments
  • making decisions about money

You may get the mobility component of PIP if you need help with going out or moving around.

If you think any of this applies to you, find out more information from the Benefit Enquiry Line (0800 169 0190) and speak to your carer or personal adviser who will support you in making a claim.  If your claim is successful, your rate will be regularly reassessed to make sure you’re getting the right support.  The decision about your claim is based on the results of the assessment, your application and any supporting evidence you include.

Education, Health and Care Plans

Education, health and care (EHC) plans look at all your needs and brings together education, health and care services to support you in your transition into adulthood.  The focus is very much on what is important to you – what they and you want to achieve now and in the future.

If you have an EHC plan and are between 19- 25, it will be reviewed annually.

The plan must include outcomes which should enable you to complete your education and training successfully and move on to the next stage of your lives.  This will happen at different stages for individual young people and EHC plans extended beyond age 19 but may not remain in place until 25.

For young people with more complex needs who are likely to continue to need specialist support in adult life, services will need to work together at a local level to plan and fund a smooth transition. These include:

  • children’s services
  • adult social care
  • housing and health

This will enable a young person to transition successfully to adult life and receive the right support from adult services where needed.

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Last Updated: 16 November 2020