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:
Support available to you over the age of 16 includes:
If you are under 18 you can usually only claim Universal Credit if:
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.
Managing your money is important for everyone - regardless of financial circumstances. You do not need to be a financial expert to learn some basics of finance and budgeting. Taking control of our finances and learning better ways to manage your money will help you not only now but for future decisions.