Young People

How to access financial support

Knowing how to access financial support is just as important as knowing what support is out there. Here you will find some advice and information on how to access the finances you are entitled to.

So you know that there is support out there. But the forms seem difficult and endless. Sometimes it feels they make it hard on purpose for you to receive support. Do not worry, many people feel the same. However, it is worth applying for what you are entitled to. The fact that the sources of support are there means that they should be used.

It might take several steps to access support, you might need a bank account for example. It is important that you ask early on how long the process should take, so that you can set your expectations and do not experience difficulty when the wait is long. this support can be confusing – you may need to open a bank account, fill in physical forms or apply online. Knowing what the requirements are for specific financial support can help you save time and complete forms/applications more efficiently.

It can feel difficult to fill in the forms with all the personal details or to disclose to strangers that you are care experienced. But it might be useful to disclose, if you are comfortable with disclosing your care experience, because there are specific sources of support for you. There are provisions and grants available to you which may require an application/interview as part of the process. There are places that offer support in filling in forms if you struggle with this.

To receive financial support you must have an account that the money can be sent to. This can be a bank account or a credit union account. Banks offer lots of different accounts depending on your circumstances. Some of the accounts they offer are:

  • Student account
  • Current accounts
  • Saving accounts

You can also open a credit union account – credit unions are a great alternative to bank accounts but can be less accessible than bank accounts. Credit union accounts can help you manage and save your money.

To open a bank or credit union account you will need an address and I.D. If you don’t have any of the official documents, banks should accept alternatives such as a benefits letter; immigration status document; or a letter from a prison governor, care-home manager, homeless shelter or place of study. Contact different banks to see what their requirements are. If you do not have I.D and want to access some you can apply for some photo I.D such as:

  • Provisional driver’s license
  • Passport
  • I.D card

You can access support to help with accessing photo I.D from citizens’ advice Scotland. You can apply for a citizen card if you are over 18 here.

To access financial support through universal credits you will usually need to apply online. You can ask someone to help you with this. You may need to attend an interview at a job centre as part of your application. You can check the universal eligibility page to see if you are eligible before you apply.

Also, you can always bring a person with you to any appointment at the bank or any other office.

Now that you know some of the basics of how to apply for a bank account and financial support, you can take the first steps towards accessing those supports.

Remember that it is totally fine to take your time and to ask for help.

Here you can find information on the different type of bank accounts.

Credit union accounts and how to open one

Check if you are eligible for universal credits.

My Bnk offer accredited training and information on financial support for care leavers.

Help with application for benefits.

Application for universal credits.

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