Financial Arrangements for Young People Leaving Care who are Living Independently
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
Financial support under these procedures will only be paid to young people leaving care who meet the criteria of the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 (see LEAC-01) and who are living independently. This includes young people who have left care and young people who are subject to a care order but are in placement type "Independent Living". These procedures do not apply to young people living in any other type of care placement or who are living with their parents or people with parental responsibility.
Payments are permitted under Section 24 of the Children Act 1989, and the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000, and are exempt from inclusion as income for the purposes of tax or benefit calculations.
For a summary of the permissions and forms that must be completed in relation to this chapter, please see the Permissions List.
1. Making an Application for Planned Support
The Allocated Worker from the Pathways Team will make all applications for financial support on the Financial Pathway Plan. This includes Living Allowance, Top Ups, Accommodation and Special Grants (Setting Up Home Grant, Clothing Grant, and Birthday and Festivity Grants).
All applications for weekly payments should begin on a Sunday and end on a Saturday.
Applications for college/training expenses:
- The Pathway Worker must consult with the Connexions PA in order to be reasonably satisfied that the course is appropriate for the young person. Ideally, young people should progress by a level year on year;
- The Pathway Worker should ensure they have seen the written confirmation that the young person has signed onto the Course. This must include duration of the course, hours per week, the course name, and qualification(s) to be achieved. The young person should also give the Course Tutor's name. The young person should sign the data sharing consent form to allow the Connexions PA to monitor their progress and attendance on the course;
- Before claiming Additional Education, Training or Work Expenses, the Pathway Worker must explore all other possible funding sources, such as grants, DSS benefits, or bursaries.
Applications for Accommodation
- Pathway Workers should ensure they have followed local procedures before facilitating private rental or Bed and Breakfast arrangements for young people;
- Support costs for young people under 18 must be paid by the local authority and should be included in the accommodation costs. Support costs for young people over the age of 18 will be funded by Supporting People;
- Accommodation costs applications should not include charges for utilities or service charges; these should be paid by the young person. It is possible to deduct charges at source from young people aged 16 and 17 who are receiving other financial support from us, and by consent from young people over 18 who are receiving support from us;
- If a Bond is required it should be paid out of the Setting Up Home Grant. Admin fees should be claimed as an exceptional expense on the Financial Support Application Form - Exceptional Payments;
- Where the proposed accommodation does not have a known end date within this financial year, the Pathway Worker should put 31st March of the following year;
- It is acceptable to pay up to a week in advance for emergency accommodation;
- The young person's accommodation must be reviewed at each Pathway Planning Review.
Initial Applications for all financial support will be made in March of each year on the Financial Pathway Plan, to cover the following financial year.
Subsequent applications should be made if a young person's circumstances change. A new Financial Pathway Plan will override a previous one, so Pathway Workers must ensure that all payments for a young person are included on every application.
Applications should be signed by the young person and the Pathway Worker.
2. Making Payments
The Pathway Worker must complete the Payment Arrangements form and give this and the Financial Pathway Plan to the Pathways Team Manager for signature.
The Pathway Worker should then pass both forms to the Administrative Officer - Pathway Team in order to arrange payment. No payments can be made without a copy of these forms being received.The Administrative Officer will take a note of the arrangements and file the Payment Arrangements Form. The Financial Pathway Plan form will be forwarded to the Pathway Team Manager for Authorisation.
Payments to Young People
Pathway Workers must specify on the Payment Arrangements Form whether they require Cash or BAC's payments to young people. Young people will be paid on Thursday, for the week beginning on the previous Sunday. For both cash and BAC's payments, the deadline for receiving applications (or stopping them) is Thursday of the previous week. Young people will not be paid part weeks.
Banks Automated Clearing System (BACS) Payments
- The Finance Worker will set up a BACS payment schedule for the payment according to the Payment Arrangement instructions;
- There will be no part week payments, or back payments on the payment schedule. The BACS schedule must be checked and signed by the Pathways Team Manager.
- The Cash Payment Schedule will be prepared by the Finance Worker on the Thursday prior to payment. The Finance worker will seek the authorisation of the Pathway Team Manager and pass the schedule to the Project Administrator;
- Pay packets for each young person will be made up by the Project Administrator and kept in the safe;
- All cash payments issued will have a numbered receipt. These receipt numbers will be recorded on the Payments Analysis Sheet. In most cases these receipts will be signed by the young person. An exception will be for Christmas and birthday grants. These receipts will be signed by the Pathway Worker who has given the young person the money. Young people will sign a goods received receipt for items bought for them from their setting up home grant;
- The receipts will be retained by the Pathways Team and will be available for auditing.
- If a young person needs to be paid before the first possible payment date, or is entitled to back pay, the Pathway Worker must complete a Cash and Cheque Requisition Form for the money required;
- The Pathway Team Manager must sign the Cash and Cheque Requisition Form, which will be coded to recoverable expenses;
- Where the money is not to be paid to the young person until the following week, the Pathway Worker may ask the Admin Worker to make up the money and keep it in the safe.
Loans and Deductions
- Where young people are being paid a regular allowance it is possible to arrange loans or deductions for bills at source in order to help young people budget their money. For details of circumstances where loans are acceptable, please see Appendix 1: Financial Entitlements Guidance. Loan deductions can be made from both cash and BAC's payments;
- The Pathway Worker will complete the Deductions Form, seek authorisation from the Pathway Team Manager and pass it to the Admin Officer;
- The Admin Officer will ensure that the appropriate deductions are made from the young people's payment schedule.
Payments to Other Accommodation providers
- Pathway Workers will advise accommodation providers that it is preferred that accommodation providers send invoices, but receipts will also be accepted;
- All invoices will be authorised by the Pathways Team Manager;
- Wherever possible they will be paid monthly in advance on the 1st of the month by BACS. The deadline for receipt of applications is the 25th of the preceding month;
- Emergency accommodation payments will not be included in the BACS run;
- If landlords require cheque payments, the Admin Worker will be responsible for raising regular cheque payments.
3. Unplanned Payments
Unplanned payments will include requests for emergency accommodation (e.g. Bed and Breakfasts), requests for emergency living allowance, and any other unplanned payments that are agreed by the Pathway Team Manager.
4. Reviewing, Revising or Cancelling Payments
It is the responsibility of the Pathway Worker to ensure that the young person continues to receive their entitlement and that the payment method remains appropriate. Details of payments being received must be included in all transfer summaries.
Payments should be reviewed at each Pathway Plan Review and details included on the Review form. To amend payments or payment methods, the Pathway Worker will prepare a new Financial Pathway Plan.
To cancel payments, the Pathway Worker should e-mail Admin Officer - Pathway Team, detailing the young person's name, date of birth and the payment to be cancelled. If the young person is receiving more than one payment type, the Pathway Worker should confirm that the other payments are to continue; otherwise all payments will be stopped.
No payments can be cancelled less than a week before payment. It is not possible to change the schedule once it has been completed and signed by the Pathway Team ManagerThe Admin Officer will ensure that the payment is deleted from the Payment Schedule.
Appendix 1: Financial Entitlements Guidance
|Young People Aged 16 and 17|
Young people leaving care cannot claim Jobseekers Allowance until aged 18.
Young people aged 16 or 17 who are living independently and do not work more than 16 hours a week and have reached school leaving age (July 1st of Year 11) can receive Living Allowance. Living Allowance is based on 18-25 years Jobseekers Allowance rate.
Disabled young people are eligible for Income Support at 16 and are therefore not entitled to Income Maintenance.
Young people who are single parents are entitled to Income Support at non-householder level. They are therefore eligible to have this topped up to Living Allowance levels.
Young people aged 16 or 17 are not eligible for Housing Benefit (this includes single parents and disabled young people). Reasonable accommodation costs will be paid in full for all young people aged 16 and 17 irrespective of their earnings. Accommodation costs will also include support costs where appropriate.
Young people aged 16 and 17 are not liable for Council Tax.Young people aged 16 and 17 living in bed and breakfast accommodation are entitled to a daily evening meal allowance in addition to their living allowance.
|16 - 19 Bursary Fund||Students aged between 16 and 19 years who have difficulty paying the costs for full-time education or training may receive a bursary from their school, college or training provider. Those most in need will be eligible to receive a bursary of £1,200 a year. This group includes young people in care and care leavers. Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website.|
|Education Maintenance Allowance||All young people aged 16 or 17 should apply for EMA (Education Maintenance allowance). EMA is paid to young people aged 16 and 17 attending school, college or training full time. Full time is 16 hours or more. EMA is paid directly by the school, college or training provider. EMA can only be paid by BAC's so it is essential that young people have a bank account. Young people in receipt of EMA are not paid top up.|
|Education/ Training Top Up||Young People aged 16 and 17 and not eligible for EMA will remain eligible for Top Up. A young person in part time education/training will receive top up on a pro rata basis in three bands: 2 days, 1 day or half a day.|
|Work Top Up||
Where young people work less than 16 hours per week, they are entitled to Living Allowance.Where young people work more than 16 hours per week their income will be topped up if necessary to the combined value of Living Allowance and Top Up (to include Tenancy Premium if they live independently).
Books and Stationary
Essential Uniform or clothes for training.
|These amounts are maximum amounts for each College year. All other financial support options should be explored (e.g. College Bursary funds). Partial payment will be considered for part time courses.|
|Tenancy Support Premium||Young people living in their own tenancies who are engaged in education and training will receive Tenancy Support Premium.|
|Young people in Prison who are serving more than 6 months||Young people who are engaged in education training or work will receive an incentive allowance in addition to their pay.|
After 3 months of living in the community any young person aged 16 or 17, may apply for a clothing grant. Clothing grant is paid quarterly thereafter until a young person reaches their 18th birthday. It includes Maternity clothing, Interview clothing, and clothing needs arising from theft or fire. Expenditure must be supervised.Where young people are in prison and detained over 12 months a small amount of clothing grant may be applied for. A further clothing grant may be applied for on release up to the maximum for one year. This applies to young people aged 16-21.
|Birthday Allowance||One Weeks extra Living Allowance at 17th and 18th Birthday. Young people in foster/residential care up to their 18th birthday will receive an 18th birthday allowance through their placement. (Under Review)|
|Festival Allowance||One week's extra Living Allowance at the religious festival of the young person's choice in their 16th and 17th year. (Under Review)|
|Setting Up Home Grant||
The maximum figure in the financial year that a young person is 16 will be the maximum they can expect even if the rate increases the following year. Young people can claim their Setting Up Home Grant at any time between the age of 16 and 21. Setting up Home Grants can be held over up to the age of 25, providing that this has been agreed in the pathway plan prior to the young person's 21st birthday.
Setting Up Home grants cannot be used to buy furniture from a young person's parents. Where young people want to buy second hand furniture from friends or relatives, this will be subject to the approval of the Pathway Team Manager. Nor can Setting Up Home grants be used to provide furniture for the young person's return home to their parents. This must be agreed through Section 17 funds.
Where a young person is in supported accommodation up to the age of 21 the maximum amount of Setting up Home grant paid out will be discretionary.
If a bond is required for privately rented property, it should be paid for out of the Setting Up Home Grant.
Where damage to rented property results from malicious or careless or intentional action from the young person, and is not reclaimable through insurance the young person may need to reimburse the landlord themselves, from their setting up home grant.Setting up Home Grants can only be used to purchase household items or bond, unless specifically agreed by the Pathway Team Manager.
|Young People Aged 18 and Over|
Young people over 18 and not in employment can claim Job Seekers Allowance.
Young people aged 18+ who are single parents or are long term sick or disabled can claim Income Support. Disabled young people may also be entitled to a number of other benefits and expert advice should be sought to ensure they receive their full entitlement.
Young people aged 18 to 20th birthday in full time further education or training can claim Income Support.
Young people aged 18+ in part time education can claim Job Seekers Allowance.
Young people aged 18+ in higher education and aged 20+ in further education are not eligible for Income Support and are entitled to Living Allowance.
Young people aged 18 and not in Work, can claim Living Allowance for a further 2 weeks following their 18th birthday, to compensate for the delay in processing Income Support and Job seeker claims.
Young people experiencing delay in payment of benefits for other reasons (e.g. being laid off work, or release from prison) may receive up to 2 weeks Emergency Living Allowance (or per day pro rata). Young people may only have one episode of Emergency Living Allowance per year. These payments will be at the discretion of the Pathway Team Manager, and proof will be required that the young person has taken the necessary steps to remedy their situation.
Living Allowance for first week provided that:
Living Allowance for a second week provided that:
Young people over 18 who are claiming Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, disability benefits or are low waged are eligible for Housing Benefit.
Young people in full time higher education aged 18+ and young people in further education aged 20+ are not eligible for Housing Benefit. Reasonable accommodation costs will be paid in full (Accommodation costs will also include support costs where appropriate).Young people in receipt of Housing Benefit or in Full time Further Education are not liable to Council Tax.
|Tenancy Support Premium||Former Relevant young people in receipt of EMA or Top Up will also be eligible for Tenancy Premium.|
|16 to 19 Bursary||Young people in care and care leavers can apply for a bursary from their school, college or training provider.|
|Young People Living at Home Aged 16 and 17|
|Living Allowance||Young people (both eligible or relevant) living with a parent or person with parental responsibility will not be eligible for regular income maintenance. If young people return home after school leaving age, they can receive Living Allowance for up to 3 months whilst they settle in, in order to give them time to become engaged in education, training or work.|
|16 to 19 Bursary||Young people in care and care leavers can apply for a bursary from their school, college or training provider.|
|Other Leaving Care Allowances||Young People living at home with parents are not entitled to any other leaving care allowances. Young people would become entitled should they leave the parental home before they reach the age of 18.|
|Young People who Return Home After the Age of 18|
|See "Young People aged 18 and over"||The allowances received by young people will not be affected by a return home post 18.|