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Your Money Rights

Which benefits

Claiming benefits is something many people from all parts of society have to do sometimes. However, there are loads of different types – so see what is right for you. Your carer, social worker, or personal advisor, will be able to help you think about what benefits you may be entitled to.

Universal Credit

By 2017, Universal Credit will replace some individual benefits including Jobseekers' Allowance and Housing Benefit with a single payment that considers all your financial needs. Universal Credit is being rolled out across the country in stages so it may not have been rolled out in your area yet. You can read more about Universal Credit here and check here to see if it has arrived in your area yet.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

This is a benefit for people who are unemployed and looking for work. To qualify you must be 18 or over and actively looking for work, or working less than 16 hours a week. To see if you qualify, or to make a claim, go here.  As of 2017 Universal Credit will replace this benefit (See above). 

Housing Benefit

If you’re on a low income, whether you’re working or not, you might qualify for help to pay all or part of your rent. For more information or to see if you qualify, go here. As of 2017 Universal Credit will replace this benefit (See above).

Council Tax Benefit

If you’re on a low income, whether you’re working or not, you could qualify for help to pay your council tax. For more information and to see if you qualify, go here.

Income Support

This is extra money to help people on low incomes, who don’t have to sign on as unemployed. You might qualify if you’re over 16, on a low income, work less than 16 hours a week, not in full-time education*, don’t get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment Support Allowance, and don’t have savings over £16,000.

*If you’re 16 or 17 and in full-time education you may qualify for Income Support if you’re a parent, if you don’t live with a parent or carer, are at serious risk of violence or abuse or you’re a refugee learning English.

 To find out more, or to see you if you qualify, go here.

Carers Allowance

This is a benefit to help if you look after someone who is disabled. You don’t have to live with or even be related to the person you’re caring for, but you do have to be over 16 and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for them. To find out more go here.

Tax credits

These are payments from the government for people on low incomes. If you have a child you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you’re working you may get Working Tax Credit. For more information and to see if you qualify, go here.

Child Benefit

If you have a child or children you will get this tax-free benefit, paid every four weeks into your bank account by the government. The amount you get depends on the number of children you have.

Disability Living Allowance

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64. Look here for more information.

Employment and Support Allowance

This provides financial help to those unable to work because of illness or disability, as well as personalised help to disabled people who are working. For more information go here.

Save with a Junior Care ISA

The Junior Care ISA is for children who’ve been in care continuously for over one year. If this is you, an account will be opened in your name containing £200, for you to access when you’re 18.

You need to be under 18, but not born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011 (if you are you’ll have a Child Trust Fund instead).

The Junior Care ISA is a long-term tax-free savings account, which will grow with interest the longer the money is in there. The Junior Care ISA scheme is run by the Share Foundation.

Is it my money?

The money in your Junior ISA belongs to you, but you can’t take the money out until you’re 18. If you don’t take the money out at that point, the Junior ISA will automatically become a regular ISA (basically the same thing but for adults).

Can Share Foundation answer my Junior ISA questions and give me control of it?

At 16 you can take charge of the account. This means you can decide which funds or shares you want to invest in or change your Junior ISA provider. Yes, but your details are protected. So you need to ask your local authority to contact the Share Foundation and authorise them to help you with your ISA. You can ask your social worker or carer/key worker for help with it.

Can I save my own money in the Junior ISA?

Yes, that's a good idea. It will help to build up its value. In fact, anyone can put money into the account, but the total amount that can be paid into a Junior ISA in one tax year (6th April to 5th April) is £4,080.

Can I get more than £200?

Yes, yes you can. You can earn additional payments of up to £1,500 for your Junior Care ISA by taking part in their Stepladder of Achievement scheme.

Leaving care – your financial entitlements

The leaving care grant is an amount of money your local authority gives you when you first leave care to help you set up in a home of your own.

How much?

The amount varies from one area to the next. It could be anything from £800-£2,500.

Extra support

There are lots of costs associated with moving house that are unexpected to people who have never done it before. Make sure you keep talking to your social worker, former carers, or personal advisor, who will be able to help you find the extra support that you may need.

How can you get it?

You can speak to your social worker, carer or independent reviewing officer if you want to find out about the leaving care grant in your area.

What and When?

You’ve read loads about finances, but there are some things you can’t do until you’re a certain age. Here is a look at what you can do and when.

What age can I open a bank account?

Most banks offer basic accounts that you can open at any age. They come with a card for taking money out of cash machines but which you can’t use in shops.

Many banks also offer current accounts to people under 18, which will come with a debit card, but they won’t give you an overdraft facility until you’re 18.

What age can I borrow money?

Money lenders won’t lend you money if you’re under 18 because you can’t legally be held to a contract and so they wouldn’t be able to take you to court if you broke the terms of the loan.

What age can I get a credit card?

Age 18. You’ll be refused a credit card if you apply when you’re younger, for the same reasons as above.

What age can I claim benefits?

Age 16 certain benefits – income support, housing benefit, tax credits, carers allowance, employment and support allowance.

Age 18 – Jobseeker’s Allowance.

What age can I get a job?

You can get a part-time job from the age of 14, but if you’re under school-leaving age (usually 16) there are restrictions on the number of hours you can do.

You can’t work:

  • before 7am or after 7pm
  • during school hours on any school day
  • for more than two hours on any school day, or more than 12 hours in a school week
  • for more than eight hours on Saturdays or holidays (five hours if you’re under 15), two hours on Sundays
  • for more than 35 hours a week during holidays.

You’re also entitled to rest breaks: one hour for every four hours you work and two weeks a year during your holidays when you don’t work.

When you’re 16-17, or over school-leaving age, you can work full time, but not more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week; you must have 12 hours’ rest between each working day, and two days off a week; you’re entitled to a 30-minute break after you’ve worked for four-and-a-half hours. You’re also entitled to some paid time off for training or study until you’re 17.

If you’re still at school your local authority might say you can’t do certain jobs.

When you’re 18 or over you shouldn’t work for more than 48 hours a week (there are some exceptions to this in certain jobs – see your contract of employment); you must have 11 hours’ rest between each working day and at least one day off a week; you’re entitled to a 20-minute break for every six hours you work.

What age can I get a mobile phone?

You can’t have a contract until you’re 18, but you can buy a pay-as-you-go phone at any age.

For loads more information on what you can do and at what age then click here.