Financial support

When you leave care you may be able to get some financial support to help you live on your own, but what you get will depend on your own specific circumstances.

See our  definitions of care leavers if you don't know what a 'relevant' or 'former relevant' child is.

Support when leaving care

Managing your money can be challenging when it’s not something you’ve experienced before, so your personal advisor will help you to develop a budget plan. Things you will be doing for the first time include:

  • Paying rent, Council Tax ( unless you're under 25), energy bill and TV/Broadband
  • Buying your own food, clothes and toiletries
  • Paying for transport
  • Choosing and buying furniture for your home
  • Washing your clothes and cleaning your home
  • Funding your own hobbies (sports, clubs etc.) and entertainment (cinema, meeting friends, eating out).

Exemption from Council Tax

If you’re a care leaver, under 25 years old and living in Wigan or Greater Manchester, you are exempt from paying council tax, so you will not have to pay until your 25th Birthday.

Relevant care leaver (16-17 years old)

If you do not have an income and are unable to claim financial support from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the leaving care team will support you with the equivalent living allowance of £59.10 per week. However, there may be some extra support following advice from DWP regarding the impact of COVID-19, please speak to your Personal Advisor.

You will need to budget this allowance the same as you would your benefits. Payments are usually made every fortnight and can be made into your bank account, if you do not have a bank account we can help you to open one.

If you’re eligible to claim universal credit or ESA your personal advisor can help you set up a claim. The DWP can offer you an advance of up to the full monthly claim so you have access to money on the same day.

You will also receive a birthday present on your 18th birthday.

Children’s ISA (Individual Savings Account)

If you have been looked after for more than 52 weeks you are eligible for a Children’s ISA, this is managed by the Share foundation. We recommend that you find out about this as soon as possible, ask your personal adviser.

You cannot access the ISA until you reach 18 years old, but you or your carers can contribute to your savings regularly so you have money available when you leave care.

Extra support in a crisis

We recognise that at times you may experience difficulties and need extra support. We have developed strong links with our community and can signpost you to voluntary organisations/charities that will provide you with:

  • Food parcels
  • Money for gas and electric
  • Second hand furniture along with other items.

Ask your personal adviser for more information.

We also have people that can help you in times of crisis - see local welfare support.

Higher education bursaries

If you’re at college or further education and aged between 16-19 years old, you are entitled to a bursary. If you have any questions speak to your college or ask your personal adviser for support - find out how to claim the bursary (external link).

If you’re going to university, the leaving care team will provide you with a bursary of £2000 to help you with purchasing books and equipment. The payment is made in equal instalments over the term of your course.

You may be eligible for other financial assistance, ask your personal adviser what extra support you can access.

Vulnerable young person’s bursary

All universities offer care leaver’s access to the vulnerable young person’s bursary. Amounts vary depending on which university you decide to attend. Your personal adviser can help you apply for this.

If you’re living in student halls and have nowhere to live during the holidays, the leaving care team can support you to secure accommodation so that you’re not homeless during holidays.

Setting up homes grant

If you’re a relevant/former relevant care leaver you are entitled to a one-off ‘setting up homes’ grant of £2300 to help you purchase furniture for your first home.

Your personal adviser will help you to choose your items as we need to make sure your grant stretches as far as possible.

Struggling to access the internet?

If you do not have access to the internet or Wi-Fi, there a number of places across the borough where you can use one and get support.

© Wigan Council