As a care leaver, there are many benefits that are available to you and here you will find a selection of these.
Council Tax Discount
Slough Borough Council has offered full council tax discount to its care leavers aged 18 to 25 where they are the named tenant for a property and where they have eligibility.
In these instances it is important for you and your personal advisor to notify Slough Borough Council of you being care leaver and eligible for the full discount.
It is also important you let the council tax team know if you are moving and the address you are moving to.
The Leaving Care Team is supporting all Slough care leavers in this manner even if you do not live in the borough. You with your personal advisor need to make sure you fill out and sign the application so our council tax team can work with the borough in which you live to make sure your discount is applied.
Universal Credit Claims
The amount of universal credit you can claim will depend on your circumstances and it can be complicated.
Your PA will help you with your initial claim applications. You will need identification documents and a bank account for the benefits to be paid into. Your social worker and personal advisor will help you get these in place before your 18th birthday, and support you to apply for universal credit before your birthday so that everything is set up to reduce any delays in payments.
Slough Jobcentre Plus does make it easier to claim universal credit; however, you will need to inform them that you are a care leaver so that they can provide extra support and address any potential issues at a early stage.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has a website that can help www.adviceguide.org.uk and full benefit details can be found here.
What if you don’t make a claim?
If you fail to make a Universal Credit claim and/or refuse to take our support in helping you to do so, the Leaving Care Service will review its commitment to providing you with financial support.
The Leaving Care Team may decide that it has done what is can to support you access benefit and may end any ongoing commitment to providing financial support
If there is any sanction applied to the claim the Leaving Care Team will do what it can to support you make an immediate claim to Hardship via the Jobcentre, if your rent is paid as part of your Universal Credit payment, we will support you in contacting the Jobcentre to resolve the issue.
The Leaving Care Team will not see you destitute but it will do what it can to make sure you have exhausted all possible avenues for support.
The Leaving Care Team will not continue to provide financial support indefinitely as our goal to empower you and enable you to become independent and financially secure in your future.
If you urgently need money for basic living costs you should talk to your social worker or personal advisor. If your universal credit has stopped your social worker or personal advisor can help you to contact the Jobcentre to resolve any problems. This may take some time, so your social worker or personal advisor may be able to arrange some support for you over a short period of time.
If you are having an issue making ends meet there are a number of local charities who can help with basic living needs e.g. Slough Foodbank.
Loans, Debts and Fines
We will notify you of workshops to help you understand how best to manage your budget and we would strongly advise you to avoid taking out loans or credit cards. However, if you do and you run into any problems, we can help you get advice from debt advice organisations. We will not be able to help you repay your debts.
If you are fined for a civil or criminal offence, we can help you negotiate with the relevant organisation for a manageable way for you to pay your fine.
Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
If you currently receive any of these benefits, you cannot claim Universal Credit at the same time.
Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK. You do not need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances.
Please note that if you do not undertake the supporting actions required for Universal Credit e.g. miss appointments, leave a job without a good reason, or are dismissed, you may be subject to a sanction. In order to avoid this, your personal advisor can help with your job search, appointments at the Jobcentre, and fulfilling the other commitments.
If you are expecting your first baby or having a multiple birth, and you are in receipt of Universal Credit, you can apply to the Job Centre for a Maternity Grant. This would be available for up to 11 weeks before your baby is due until three months after the birth. The grant is worth £500 for buying essential items for your baby. Essential items are:
- Sets of bedding
- Sets of clothing
- Sterilisers and bottles
- Buggy, rain cover and cosytoes
- Baby bath
- Baby wipes and baby toiletries
- Nappies (disposables or re-usables)