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3.11.8 Staying Put: Financial Requirements and Personal Benefits for Young People

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter focuses on the issues around financial entitlements that may be available to young people. It is a complex area that depends upon their circumstances and situation and which can also impact upon the carer financially in terms of any allowances and benefits that are received or are an entitlement. The chapter benefits from template letters (in the appendices) for the young person claiming Housing and Social Benefits.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

HM Government, ‘Staying Put’: Arrangements for Care Leavers Aged 18 and Above to Stay on with their Former Foster Carers (May 2013)

Catch22/NCAS, Staying Put: What does it mean for you? (2014)

RELEVANT CHAPTERS

Southwark Staying Put Policy

Payments and Benefits Issues for Staying Put Carers Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in March 2017 by adding a link to: Catch22/NCAS, Staying Put: What does it mean for you? (2014).


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Housing Benefit for Young People
  3. Liability for Rent
  4. Housing Benefit for Young People - Guidance

    Appendix 1: Southwark Children's Services Living Together Agreement under Staying Put Arrangements

    Appendix 2: Standard Staying Put Arrangement - Housing Benefit Claim Letter

    Appendix 3: Standard Benefit Claim Letter - Young Person in Foster Care


1. Introduction

Young people remaining in a Staying Put arrangement can and are expected to be in employment or to claim a means tested benefit for their personal needs from their 18th birthday (from age 16 yrs, in regard to Employment and Support Allowance). These earnings or benefits replace the:

  1. Pocket Money;
  2. Clothing Allowance;
  3. Personal Element.

previously contained in the foster carers maintenance allowance.

All of the following benefits/allowances (1 to 6) do not have any impact on the Staying Put carer’s welfare benefits, should they be claiming a means tested benefit. Young people commencing Higher Education courses at any age are not eligible to claim means tested benefits, with the exception of certain lone parents and sick and disabled young people.

  1. Disabled young people are able to claim Employment and Support Allowance from their 16th birthday therefore the pocket money (£20.00), clothing allowance (£15.00) and a personal allowance element (£22.35) - £57.35 (2014-2015) in total will cease to be paid (from the Fostering Maintenance Allowance) to the foster carer when the young person receives their first E&SA payment;
  2. Disabled young people can claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (if under 16 yrs) or Personal Independence Payment (if 16 yrs or over and not already on DLA). This is a non-means tested benefit and therefore has no impact on other benefits or the contribution that the young person or the local authority makes towards their rent. If the disability benefit is claimed, the Staying Put carer may be able to claim carer’s allowance;
  3. Lone Parents can claim Income Support until their child is 5 years old, Healthy Start Vouchers and a Sure Start Maternity Grant 11 weeks before the due birth date (the Sure Start Maternity Grant is only provided once for the oldest or first child). From the birth of their baby they will also be eligible to claim Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit. (Eligible and Relevant lone parents aged 16 & 17 can also claim the above benefits, but only from the birth of their baby). (Approximately £156.26 in total per week – 2014-2015);
  4. Young people can claim Income Support under the ‘Relevant Education’ rules if they remain ‘estranged’ from their family and are undertaking a full time (over 12 hours) education or training course which is under the higher education level. Young people can claim Income Support at any point prior to their 21st birthday and will continue to receive payment until the end of the academic year following their 21st birthday, i.e. generally until July following their 21st birthday (Income Support rate - £57.35 - 2014-2015);
  5. Jobseekers Allowance where young people are registered as unemployed and are actively seeking employment (£57.35 - 2014-2015);
  6. A disabled young person in education who gets both Employment and Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance or a Personal Independence Payment may also be eligible to claim the 16-19 year old Bursary – see 16 to 18 Bursary Fund (GOV.UK);
  7. IS, JSA, E&SA and HB are means-tested. The capital limit for these benefits is normally £16,000, with savings over £6,000 meaning a reduction in benefits. However, money held in a trust fund (including Court of Protection) arising from personal injury (e.g. Criminal Injury Compensation Awards) does not count as capital. Criminal Injuries Compensation Awards are only disregarded for the first 52 weeks following receipt of the award.

The Living Together Agreement (see Southwark Staying Put Policy 2015 - 16, Appendix 1: Living Together Agreement) will outline individual arrangements for the management of payments.


2. Housing Benefit for Young People

  1. All young people are expected to claim Housing Benefit (if they are eligible for it) from their 18th birthday which is paid directly to the Southwark Placements budget and is used to cover the rent/accommodation element of the Staying Put arrangement;
  2. Young people living in kinship Staying Put placements (See Placements with Friends and Family Foster Carers (also known as Connected Persons carers)) with sisters, brothers and certain extended family members who are formally approved as foster carers are not eligible to claim housing benefit on reaching the age of 18 yrs. In situations where a young person is not eligible to claim Housing Benefit, Southwark Children’s Care will pay the rent/accommodation element of the Staying Put arrangement;
  3. The rent level and housing benefit claim rate in 2015-2016 is £95.18 per week from 01/04/15.


3. Liability for Rent

All young people living in a Staying Put arrangement have a liability for rent of £95.18 per week which is set on a commercial basis. Young people are expected to pay the rent of £95.18 per week from their earnings or housing benefit, or a combination.

The liability for rent is set out in the young person’s license agreement see Appendix 2: Standard Staying Put Arrangement - Housing Benefit Claim Letter.


4. Housing Benefit for Young People - Guidance

From the age of 18 yrs young people can claim help from Housing Benefit towards their rent where there is a liability to pay rent on a commercial basis.

Where meals are provided within the Staying Put arrangement, the method used to calculate the level of Housing Benefit is the 1996 Housing Benefit maximum rent rules relating to ‘Boarder’ arrangements.

Young People are able to claim Housing Benefit even when their Staying Put carer/s are in receipt of Housing Benefit themselves. However, where carers are in receipt of benefits themselves, the non-section 23C element of the overall allowance will be counted as income from the Staying Put arrangement; this non-section 23C element will be treated as income from a ‘Boarder’. Section 23C money is the element of the payment paid from the local authority fostering service; the non-section 23C portion is all of the other elements, some of these other elements may still be paid through the local authority fostering service, for example, where Housing Benefit for the young person is paid directly to the local authority. (See section – ‘Section 23C Payments and Benefit Issues for Staying Put Carers’).

In circumstances where Housing Benefit is based on the maximum rent rules, it is possible to request a Pre-Tenancy Determination in advance of the Housing Benefit claim being submitted, in order to determine the level of Housing Benefit that will be paid on a given property. Pre-Tenancy Determinations are carried out by the Local Rent Officer.

Where Housing Benefit is paid under the 1996 Housing Benefit rules Children’s Services Staying Put Schemes can request that the Housing Benefit payments are paid directly to Children’s Services as agents (sometimes deemed a third party claim) of the carer/s.

As fostering regulations cease when a child reaches the age of 18 the primary framework governing these arrangements is tenure law. Young people are deemed excluded occupiers on a license.

The standard letter (Appendix 2) should be issued and signed by the Staying Put carer as evidence of the young person’s liability to pay rent and is used as the license agreement in circumstances where a young person is expected to claim Housing Benefit. The letter sets out the full costs of the arrangement broken down into:

  • Rent;
  • Support;
  • Utilities;
  • Food/Meals.

The rent liability for young people living in a Staying Put arrangement in Southwark is £95.18 per week, excluding food, utilities and support. The £95.18 rent figure is based on the Local Housing Allowance rate for a room in a shared house.

NOTE:

In circumstances where young people claim Housing Benefit and the Staying Put carer/s are in receipt of a means tested benefit, the young person’s benefit claim will result in the Staying Put carers benefit being reduced. This reduction will be off-set by the local authority (Southwark) paying an amount equivalent to the level of the benefit reduction as a section 23C compensatory payment.

(See "Staying Put": Arrangements for Care Leavers aged 18 and above to stay on with their former foster carers, Benefit Issues for "Staying Put" Carers', DfE 2013).


Appendix 1: Southwark Children’s Services Living Together Agreement under Staying Put Arrangements

Click here to view Appendix 1: Southwark Children's Services Living Together Agreement under Staying Put Arrangements.


Appendix 2: Standard Staying Put Arrangement - Housing Benefit Claim Letter

License to Occupy – License Agreement

Staying Put Carers Address

Southwark Benefits Service
2 Great George Street
Southwark LS2 8BA
Young Person (TENANT): D.O.B:

N.I. NUMBER:
CURRENT ADDRESS:
TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION AND TENANCY:
Previous Foster Care Placement (Staying Put Arrangement) – Excluded Licence
The Staying Put carer is deemed the landlord
Name of Landlord Foster Carer/Staying Put Carer
Agent for the Landlord Southwark Children’s Social Work Service


Dear Sir/Madam,

This letter is provided to confirm that (Add Full Name) was previously a foster care child placed in my household. (Add Full Name) has now reached the age of eighteen and will be remaining as an ‘independent adult’ in my house to complete his/her education or due to his or her vulnerability under a Staying Put arrangement. (Add Full Name) is liable for rent costs of £64.00 per week excluding meals and utility charges. Southwark Children’s Social Work Service will continue to provide an allowance to meet the support costs of (Add Full Name). As (Add Full Name) is provided with meals and is a care leaver I understand (he/she) is eligible to claim Housing Benefit under the 1996 Housing Benefit maximum rent rules relating to ‘Boarder’ arrangements.

As (Add Full Name) was previously ‘Looked After’ and remains vulnerable I would request that the Housing Benefit is paid directly to Southwark Children’s Social Work Service as an agent of the carer/s. Southwark Children’s Social Work Service will continue to pay the carer/s the combined accommodation and support cost to avoid any disruption to the carer/s payments.

The payment should be made to Southwark Children’s Social Work Service, Reference Staying Put – Housing Benefit – Account Number 00000000, Sort Code 57 12 72. If you require any further information regarding payments please contact: Placement Service Payments Team, PO Box 837, Southwark. LS1 9PZ. Telephone 0113 2478640

Southwark Benefits Service Creditor Number is 224976

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully,

SIGNED BY FOSTER CARER/STAYING PUT CARER


Appendix 3: Standard Benefit Claim Letter - Young Person in Foster Care

ADD SOUTHWARK  COUNCIL LOGO

Southwark Children’s Social Work Service

ADD ADDRESS
CLIENT NAME: D.O.B:
N.I. NUMBER:
CURRENT ADDRESS:
TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION AND TENANCY:

Previous Foster Care Placement (Staying Put Arrangement) – Excluded Licence
Name of Landlord Foster Carer/Staying Put Carer
Agent for the Landlord Southwark Children’s Social Work Service


Dear Sir/Madam,

This letter is provided to verify the identity of the above named young person and to confirm and clarify his/her circumstances.

The above named young person was previously placed in foster care at the above address. As the young person has now reached the age of eighteen (he/she) is no longer in foster care and (he/she) is remaining with (his/her) previous foster carers under a Staying Put arrangement due to (his/her) vulnerability/education needs. The young person is now deemed ‘independent in (his/her) own right’ and is liable for accommodation costs of £64.00 per week, excluding meals, utility and support charges. The information provided below sets out (his/her) legal status and financial circumstances.

I can confirm that (Add Full Name) was previously an ‘Eligible’ child, or an ‘Eligible’ and ‘Relevant’ child and became a ‘Former Relevant’ child on (Add Date) as defined by the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations and Guidance 2010 and Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010.

  1. I can also confirm that (Add Full Name) was previously ‘Looked After’ by Southwark Children’s Social Work Service and was ‘Accommodated’ under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989;
  2. I can also confirm that (Add Full Name) was previously ‘Looked After’ by Southwark Children’s Social Work Service and was subject to a Section 31 Care Order under the terms of the Children Act 1989.

(Add Full Name) ceased to be ‘Looked After’ on (Add Date) and will continue to receive practical support and, in specific circumstances, financial help from Southwark Children’s Social Work Service under Section 24 of the Children Act 1989 or Section 23C of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010. Section 23C and Section 24 payments must be declared when claiming benefits but are not be counted as income for welfare benefit purposes. Whilst (Add Full Name) is establishing his/her welfare benefit claim he/she will be provided with a £57.35 allowance under these powers.

  1. As (Add Full Name) has now become a ‘Former Relevant’ child and ceased to be ‘Looked After’, I believe he/she will be entitled to claim Jobseekers Allowance at the rate of £57.35 per week and full Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
  2. As (Add Full Name) has now become a ‘Former Relevant’ child, has ceased to be ‘Looked After’ and is engaged on a traineeship at the rate of £57.35 per week, I believe he/she will be entitled to claim full Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
  3. As (Add Full Name) has now become a ‘Former Relevant’ child, has ceased to be ‘Looked After’, remains estranged from his/her parents and is covered by the relevant education criteria, I believe he/she will be entitled to claim Income Support at the rate of £57.35 per week and full Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
  4. As (Add Full Name) has now become a ‘Former Relevant’ child, has ceased to be ‘Looked After’, remains estranged from his/her parents and has been given a ‘Fit Note’ by his/her Doctor, I believe he/she will be entitled to claim Employment & Support Allowance and full Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
  5. As (Add Full Name) has now become a ‘Former Relevant’ child, has ceased to be ‘Looked After’ and is earning a low income, I believe he/she will be entitled to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. Please find attached relevant wage slips/prove of income.
  6. As (Add Full Name) has now become a ‘Former Relevant’ child, has ceased to be ‘Looked After’ and is temporarily unable to submit a claim for means tested benefits, Southwark Children’s Social Work Service will provide a £5.00 allowance under Section 23C of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010. As this payment will constitute a low income, I believe he/she will be entitled to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

As (Full Name) was ‘Looked After’ on/or after his/her sixteenth birthday he/she is exempt from the single room rent restriction.

As (Add Full Name) was previously ‘Looked After’ and remains vulnerable I would request that the Housing Benefit is paid directly to Southwark Children’s Social Work Service as an agent of the landlord. Southwark Children’s Social Work Service will continue to pay the landlord the combined accommodation and support cost to avoid any disruption to the landlord’s payments. The payment should be made to Southwark Children’s Social Work Service, Reference Staying Put – Housing Benefit – Account Number 00000000, Sort Code 57 12 72.

If you require any further information regarding payments please contact:

Placement Service Payments Team,
PO Box 837,
Southwark,
LS1 9PZ
Telephone: 0113 2478640

Southwark Benefits Service Creditor Number is 224976.
(Add specific information)

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours faithfully

Approved Signatures
Team Manager

Assistant Team Manager
* Please complete, or delete, either section A or B, complete the bold text sections and the relevant sections 1 to 6. All other sections must be completed.
Information about disregarding Social Services payments to care leavers.

Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook; Child Poverty Action Group: 2010/2011

End