Our local offer for care leavers

You financial support

Your pathway plan will outline the financial support you will receive and when your payments will occur.

Financial planning is complicated and can be confusing but please be reassured that your Personal Adviser, along with others are there to support you through this. Your Personal Adviser and/or your Social Worker, depending on your age, will meet with you to discuss your financial planning and the financial support you receive will be set out in your Pathway Plan. It will set out the areas of support, amounts to be paid and how often you will receive payments. Your Personal Adviser will continue to support and review your Pathway Plan up until the age of 21

Payments for 16 and 17 years

Financial needs will vary according to the placement that you are in.

Foster Home or Residential Home

If you remain in your foster placement or Residential Placement all your financial needs will continue to be met by your carers.  However, it is still important that your carers prepare you for your future and as part of this process, your carers will encourage and support you to develop your independent living skills in preparation for independent living.

Semi-Independent Living

Between the ages of 16-18 if your plan is to move to semi-independent living, we will be here to support you and help to make sure you have all right support services around you.

You will not be able to claim Universal Credits until your 18th birthday, therefore you will receive a personal allowance from the Leaving Care Service of £57.90 which is equivalent to Universal Credits and is to cover your living costs.

You will have been supported to open a bank account (unless you are a newly arrived asylum seeker).  Your allowance will go into your bank account unless there is a reason why you are not able to manage your own money. Whilst in Semi-independent living, you will be supported to manage your personal allowance so your everyday needs such as food, travel, toiletries, clothing and any contribution to service charges, utility bills and rent are paid. You will have plenty of support to assist you with this.

Tenancy Ready Course

Shortly after your 17th birthday, you will be supported to complete the Tenancy Ready Course which will assist and support you to develop your practical skills in managing a tenancy in the future and provide evidence that you are ready for your own home.  Your Social Worker will discuss this with you and this will be part of your Pathway Planning in your Care Plan Review with your Independent Reviewing Officer. 

Transition planning and being independent can be both exciting and for some young people worrying, it is an important time of your life and one in which we want you to succeed. Your Personal Adviser will work closely with you, your carers and others who support you during this time.

When you reach 18, with your Personal Advisers continued support you will become financially independent whether that be through employment, training, benefits or a combination. Having good financial planning skills is something that you will carry throughout your adulthood and will contribute to your success as an independent adult.

You will be advised throughout by your Social Worker/Personal Adviser and your Targeted Information, Advice and Guidance Adviser. If benefits are necessary, you will be supported to submit a claim for Universal Credits. All the adults around you will support you as we understand that applying for benefits can be complicated, we are here to guide you through that process.

This process of applying for any benefits will start 4 weeks before your 18th birthday, this is so that on your 18th Birthday there is no delay in processing your application. You will have met your Leaving Care Adviser and your Targeted Information Advice and Guidance Adviser.  Your claim will be submitted on your 18th Birthday so that there is no delay in processing your application. We will all work together with you and your allocated Job Coach to support you with your journey to employment or training. Your Needs Assessment and Pathway Plan will clearly record the support available to you as you progress and achieve all your aspirations.

Payments for 18 to 20 year olds

Your Personal Adviser will take over the reviewing of your Pathway Plan with you from your 18th birthday. Your Personal Advisor will work alongside your Job Coach and Targeted Information, advice and guidance adviser to support you to make sure you are claiming the right benefits and are accessing the right support from Job Centre plus and your Work Coach. You will be supported to make a claim for an Advanced Universal Credit payment until your claim is processed. We recognise and understand the applying for benefits can be complicated and daunting, but your Personal Adviser will be there to guide you through the process and make sure that you receive everything that you are entitled to.

Receiving your payments

In the unlikely event that your claim is delayed.

What you would need to do

  • You will need to make the claim for the Advanced Universal Credit Payment
  • You will need to work with your Case Manager from DWP dealing with your claim.
  • You will need to complete all the tasks set and comply with the benefit requirements

What your Personal Adviser will do.

  • If you are not able to claim the Advanced Payment in time your Personal Adviser will make arrangements for a personal allowance to be paid to you of £57.90 per week for up to 3 weeks.
  • Assist and support you in the above and provide you with emotional support as we understand this can be a worrying time.
  • Provide emergency provisions.

If you receive a Sanction to your Benefit

If this happens and you do receive a Sanction, we understand that this will be a difficult time and its important that you work closely with your Personal Adviser who will support and assist you through this.

You should not receive any sanctions in relation to your Universal Credit claim until the Job Coach or Case Manager has spoken to your Personal Advisor.  If this happens please let your Personal Advisor know immediately so that we can work together to resolve this.

If you do receive a sanction in relation to your universal credits, once your claim is up and running and is beyond your control, you will receive a personal allowance of £57.90 for up to 4 weeks.  A further assessment will need to take place should your benefits continue to not be reinstated after the 4 weeks.

If the Universal Credit sanction is owing to you not complying with benefit requirements emergency support will be considered at a reduced rate. It is important that you seek guidance and assistance and we work together with DWP to resolve this.

Moving into your own Tenancy

When you move into your own home you will be provided with a Leaving Care Setting Up Home Allowance to help you buy essential items to a value of £2000. Your Personal Adviser will help get you the best deals on carpets, white goods and other essential household items.

Council Tax

Barnsley Care Leavers can claim Council Tax Exemption to the age of 25. Your Personal Adviser will be able to support you to claim this benefit.

Your Personal Adviser will keep you informed about relevant money management courses, this will be in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Citizen’s Advice Bureau and outreach Tenancy Support Services.

You will also be able to access Tenancy Support through Berneslai Homes, Tenants First or Centre Point to ensure that you have ongoing help to manage your new home and meet all your new financial responsibilities.

Payments for 21 to 25 year olds

Should you require continued support from your Personal Advisor you will be able to opt back into service at any time from the age of 21 to 25 years old where your needs will be assessed

Additional financial support

Your Personal Adviser, Targeted Information, Advice and Guidance Adviser and Job Coach will support you to look for employment or access the right financial support to enhance your continued study.

If you require financial support always discuss it with your Personal Advisor.

Travel passes

You will receive support to purchase a Travel Card to attend college or training. Usually travel passes are available from your further education/training provider, sometimes support is available from Job Centre plus, please discuss this with your Job Coach. If not or if you are having difficulty getting to your training or appointments, talk to your Personal Adviser who will undertake an entitlement assessment.

Funding for Interviews

Funding is also available through Job Centre plus in relation to interview clothes, there also may be other funding that your Job Coach can help you with. If you are having difficulties speak with your Personal Adviser.

Junior ISA

You will have access to your junior ISA or child trust fund at the age of 18 years. A letter will be given to you after your 18th Birthday by your personal adviser who will support you to access this fund.

Bank Account

Your Social Worker or Personal Advisor (dependent on your age and circumstance) will offer support to open a bank account.

Identification Documents

Your Social Worker or Personal Advisor (dependent on your age and circumstance) will support you to gain important identification documents before you are 18 years such as a copy of your birth certificate or your first passport including check and send.

National Insurance Numbers

When you are 16 years your Social worker will support you to get your National insurance number.

Emergency payments

If you find yourself in an emergency where you have no food, gas/electricity or have difficulty travelling to appointments, it is important that you get in touch with your Personal Adviser immediately.  Your Personal Advisor will undertake an assessment of your needs. The support offered may include emergency financial support and will include signposting to other services and/or providing direct work to help you budget better in the future.

Financial gifts

If you are living in semi-independence you will receive a gift to the value of £30 for your 17th and 18th birthday.

On your 19th, 20th and 21st birthdays you will receive a gift of £30 regardless of your circumstances.

Festival allowance

At 16 and 17, if you are living in semi-independence you will receive a £30 gift towards a celebration such as Christmas or Eid.

From the age of 18 to 21 years, you will receive a gift to the value of £30 towards a celebration such as Christmas or Eid

In custody

If you are an eligible/relevant/former relevant care leaver in custody or on remand you will receive a postal order or online payment of £40 per month if you are under 18 years and £20 per month if you are over 18 years of age.


During the pandemic, the Government has agreed an additional £20 per week to all claimants of Universal Credit.

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