You should have a bank account by the age of 16. This helps when you get allowances and keeps your money safe. If you decide to go to college, you will need a bank account to receive the education bursary and if, at 18 you are making a DWP claim you will need a bank account.
To open a bank account you will need to have identification (ID), one document saying who you are and another saying where you live. Speak to your social worker or Personal Advisor about this if you need more information.
Wakefield Council may have set up child ISA for you when you came into care. There is some information about this in the welcome pack you received at 16 about Next Steps.
A letter about your ISA will arrive at Next Steps after your 18th birthday. You can decide what you want to do with the ISA at this stage.
During the next two years the people who support you will give you more information about what will happen at 18, and the steps you will need to take to ensure you have some money to live on.
If you complete the finance section of the independence skills assessment, you will see what you know so far and what you need to learn. Here is a brief guide about money at 18:
When you are 18, the local authority is no longer responsible for your living costs because you are an adult and no longer a Child in Care. You are still eligible for a service, it is mainly the finance that changes.
Next Steps has a good relationship with DWP who run the Job Centres. DWP signed up to the Care Leavers Covenant, which means they have looked at ways they can support Care Leavers.
Near your 18th birthday you will make a claim for benefits if you are not working or at college. The claim is called Universal Credit and this looks at your support costs (food/electric etc) and your housing costs. To make a claim you will need your NI number. You usually go to the Job Centre for your first appointment and you will have a job coach. Your PA will support you with this and wherever possible attend the first appointment with you.
The claim is online and is set out as a journal. Once you become used to it, it is quite easy to use. If you don’t keep your journal up to date and do what it advises you to do, you are at risk of being sanctioned.
When you work you will receive a wage slip to let you know how much you are going to be paid. When you receive your first wage slip you might find you are taking home less than you expected. Money is taken off the money you earn in Tax and National Insurance. You also might pay money into a pension. Below is a little information about Tax & National Insurance:
You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension.
You pay mandatory National Insurance if you’re 16 or over and are either:
- an employee earning above £183 a week
- self-employed and making a profit of £6,475 or more a year
You need a National Insurance number before you can start paying National Insurance contributions.
If you earn between £120 and £183 a week, your contributions are treated as having been paid to protect your National Insurance record.
For more information and links https://www.gov.uk/national-insurance
If you would like more information on any of the above, please speak to your Personal Adviser who can signpost you. There are also links in the Useful Links section.