Young People

What finances are you entitled to?

Knowing what financial support you are entitled to and what provisions you can apply for can be complicated and leave you feeling confused. Here you will find guidance to understand what help you may be entitled to, depending on your age and circumstances.

You have the right to be supported. Unfortunately, support is sometimes organised in a confusing way so it is hard to know what you can get.

You may not be aware of all the financial support that is available to you as a care-experienced person. Without this information you may not be receiving the money you are entitled to which can contribute to financial hardship. Understanding what your circumstances are and how this affects what you can apply for and receive is the first step in knowing what is out there for you. You should be supported by the adults involved in your care to access the provisions you are entitled to. However, the information and guidance for care experienced individuals can be confusing and overwhelming and difficult to understand for you and the people who are responsible for your care. This may mean that young people with care experience are not receiving the financial support that they should. You can ask for your pathways plan, if you have one, to be updated to support you to access financial support. It is difficult for anyone to make sense of the care system and welfare systems criteria for financial support which is why you should be supported to help you best understand and apply the knowledge to access the support you require.  

Even though the information might be difficult to navigate, you should not give up, often the application for support is worth it.

The support you are entitled to is actually set in law. That means it cannot be changed by a local authority or a single support worker. The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (as amended) set out that local authorities have a legal duty to:

  • Provide advice and assistance to young people who have ceased to be looked after on or after their 16th birthday. Local authorities are legally required to provide aftercare support until the care leaver turns 19, and to assess any eligible needs for aftercare support until they turn 26 (or beyond in some cases

Support available to you over the age of 16 includes:

  • Leaving care grant – Government guidance states at least £2000
  • 16-18 bursary – If in education you will receive £1,200 each academic year.
  • Higher education bursary – In higher education? You are entitled to £2000 over the course of your studies.
  • Assistance with costs for education, training and employment – Your council should have a financial policy for care leavers and can update your pathway plan to highlight the support you need, such as driving lessons costs.

If you are under 18 you can usually only 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 for your rent. However, you can still get any other benefits which may apply to you, for example Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Carer’s Allowance. If you are over the age of 18, you may be entitled to Universal Credit. There are many factors that affect what you may be entitled to – you can use a benefits calculator to give you a better understanding of what you can apply for.

If you are a care leaver, you can continue getting help from social services in some cases until the age of 26. If you are in need of help, get in touch with social services to find out what support they can offer.

You may be eligible for financial support through grants such as - Care Leavers Foundation

There are many grants available to people with care experience for different things you can find a list of available grants here.

The best place to start to see what you are entitled to is on this factsheet –on entitlement for care leavers.

Care leavers and benefits – what you need to know.

Benefits calculator

Financial Entitlements

You can also find further support and advice through Citizens Advice Scotland .

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