Finances - What are you entitled to and when?
1. Budgeting support
Your Social Worker or Personal Adviser can support you to complete a ‘financial assessment’ which looks at your income and spendings and forms the basis of your budget plan which they can also help you with. Sometimes it may be your foster carer, keyworker or someone else who does this with you. It’s very important that you learn to budget as this will help you when you are living independently.
You can also be supported by the Welfare Reform Team who can provide budgeting advice and support. You can contact them by emailing email@example.com
If you end up in debt, it’s important that you let you Social Worker or Personal Adviser know as soon as possible. We can help you by referring you to debt support services and developing a payment plan to get you back on track.
2 Welfare Benefits, universal credit, JSA, Income Support etc
Sutton operate on the welfare system of Universal Credit. It’s important that prior to applying for benefits you have an open bank account and all of your identification documents. You need to apply for Universal Credit online and your Social Worker, Personal Advisor, foster carer or key worker can help you to do this. You will need to know your National Insurance Number to make this application online.
After your online application is submitted you need to attend two appointments at the Jobcentre office before your claim is live. The first appointment is to confirm your identity, so you will need photo identification and the second is to agree to the conditions of benefits, such as whether you have to look for work. Your Social Worker of Personal Advisor or key worker can support you to these appointments. From the point you submit your application it will take 6 weeks before you receive any money. It’s important that you carefully plan for this period to ensure that can manage during this time.
Universal Credit is has replaced the old benefit system and you will now receive a monthly payment, just like a wage. It is your responsibility to spend your money appropriately and ensure you have enough to cover all of your expenses for the month, including bills and rent. If you are worried about paying your rent you can ask to set up an Alternative Payment Arrangement which will mean the housing element of your Universal Credit Payment will be paid directly to your landlord. This needs to be renewed after 3 months and you need to meet the eligibility criteria. Your Social Worker or Personal Advisor can help you with this.
It is your responsibility to communicate with the Job Centre and update your online journal if you receive Universal Credit. If you miss appointments and don’t speak to the Job Centre about this you may be sanctioned. This means that you won’t receive a full payment of you Universal Credit for the month which may impact on your budgeting for the month. If you receive a sanction you can challenge this decision and ask for it to be overturned. You can ask your Social Worker or Personal Advisor for support to do this.
If you are living in Supported Accommodation you will need to apply for Housing Benefit to cover your rent, Universal Credit won’t pay this. You apply for Housing Benefit online (https://www.sutton.gov.uk/info/200468/council_tax_and_benefits) and you can ask for support to do this.
3. Setting up home allowance
When you move into your own tenancy you are entitled to £2000 Setting Up Home Allowance. You will be supported by your Personal Advisor to select and purchase items for your home, including white goods and flooring. This budget may not get you everything you needs so it is important that you look for items on sale and begin saving for your flat prior to moving. Friends and family may also have items they don’t need anymore which you can use to stretch your budget further.
4. Food Vouchers
If you find yourself in a crisis and need support with getting some groceries you can ask you Social Worker or Personal Adviser if you could be provided with some food vouchers. We offer food vouchers for Sainsburys Supermarket. Your worker would speak to a manager who you have to agree this provision.