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Hertfordshire County Council

Money advice for young people leaving care

Banking, benefits, budgeting and bills – here's a little advice to get you started.


Money advice factsheets

Get good advice you can rely on about benefits, budgeting, jobseeking and rent from our Money Advice Unit.

Benefits

Use the benefits calculator to get an idea of what you're entitled to.

  • If you're 16 or over and looking after your own child, you can get income support, child benefit and child tax credit.
  • If you're 16 or over and have a disability, you might be able to get personal independence payment and employment and support allowance.
  • If you're in these situations and 18 or over, you might get housing benefit too.
  • If you're in full time education up to GCSEs (non-advanced education), from the age of 18 you may be able to get income support and housing benefit.
  • If you're working or an apprentice, you may still be able to get housing benefit (or universal credit when its fully in place).
  • If you're a student doing A-Levels (advanced education), you can get student finance as well as help from us.


You'll have a review meeting when you're around 17½. Your personal adviser will be there to help. A work coach from the Job Centre may also attend.

With your permission, we'll share your details with the work coach to make sure you get all the help you need to get a job, training, some education or general help with money.

If you're not in education, employment or training when you leave care

If you're unemployed, you may be able to get Jobseekers Allowance (soon being replaced by Universal Credit).

We'll set up a review meeting when you're around 17½. A benefits officer and your personal adviser will be there.

With your permission, we'll also share your details with the Job Centre to make sure you get all the help you need to get a job, training or education.

Visit the TURN2US for more money advice.


Banking

All young people should have a bank account by the age of 16. This helps when you get allowances and to keep your money safe.

If you haven't got a bank account, speak to your worker.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has some great advice about:

Opening a bank accountCredit cards – pros and cons

 

Savings and bank accounts for children and young people – a leaflet with a bit more detail about junior ISAs and long term savings.


 

Pre-paid cards

Pre-paid cards are used when a young person can't set up their own bank account. 

It's a debit card with a chip and pin that can have an agreed amount on (up to £500). You can check your balance and transactions online. We can also check the transactions, if needed.

There's no overdraft facility and there are restrictions on what can be bought (for example, you can't use it for gambling or petrol / diesel).

Speak to your worker for more information.

Budgets – managing your money

You need to make sure your income is more than your expenses.

Work out your budget with the Citizens Advice Bureau budgeting tool.

Shopping and bills

Shopping on a budget can be tricky. But Money Saving Expert has some brilliant tips to save money:

Top tips to save money on your food bill

It can be easy to lose track of what bills to expect. Here's a basic list of monthly bills you can expect:

  • gas / electric – you might get a combined bill or 2 separate bills, depending on how it's set up.
  • council tax 
  • TV licence 
  • internet / phone / TV – most of the time you'll have a 'package' with all 3 together in one bill.
  • home contents insurance
  • water 
  • rent.

 

Your allowances and money should be discussed and agreed between you, your carers and workers. That should happen when you move into a new
placement.

How you get your allowances, and how much they are, should be set out in your placement plan.

Pocket Money

You'll get weekly pocket money paid to you by your carer or keyworker. How you get this will usually depend on how old you are and how well you're able to manage your money.

This is how much you should get:

 
 Age Amount

0–4

£4.80

5–7

£5

8

£5.30

9–10

£6

11

£6.30

12

£7.50

13

£8.50

14

£9.50

15

£11.60

16–18

£12.70

If you're working or receiving benefits (16-17 year olds), you may receive less pocket money. This reduction starts when you have more than £80 per week to spend after expenses. This is part of helping you to understand how to budget and use your money effectively.


Managing your Money

In certain situations, pocket money can be withheld for a while or only spent when you're with your carer or keyworker.

That's if it hasn't been spent well (for example, buying cigarettes, alcohol or too many sweets). It might also be if your carer or social worker feel that you're struggling to manage your money safely (for example, if you're being bullied for money).