- help you apply for benefits you might be entitled to – such as housing benefit and universal credit
- help you get an exemption to, or discounts on paying Council Tax
- provide you with a living allowance for 16 and 17 year olds – depending on your circumstances and what type of care leaver you are
- In some circumstances we might be able to provide emergency financial support if there is a problem with your income – for example if your benefits are delayed
More information and resources about benefits
You can find out what you might be able to claim for on the Benefits calculator
Universal Credit – Somerset is a Universal Credit (UC) Full Service area, which means anyone in Somerset who is over 18 and would normally have made a claim to either Jobseekers Allowance (income based), Employment Support Allowance (income based), Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Housing Benefit will now need to claim Universal Credit.
You can do this online
The exception to this is if a family with more than 2 children needs to claim. These families must claim a legacy benefit – from the benefits listed above.
UC is paid every month, on the same date each month. There is a 5 week wait until you receive the first payment. UC includes housing costs and covers up to 85% of child care costs for working parents.
In Somerset we have a Care Leaver protocol between the Care Leaver teams and Jobcentre Plus. This makes it safer for a Care Leaver to claim UC and receive their entitlement on time. It includes
- Alternative Payment Arrangements – more frequent, split between household members rather than into one bank account or direct payment of housing costs to the landlord.
- The offer of an advanced payment – up to 100% of the first month’s award paid when you request it. It must be repaid over 12 months and you can now apply for it online.
- Referral for careers advice, if you need it
- Referral to the ‘Work and Health’ programme if it’s appropriate
- If there is a health issue, there is more help available from our Disability Employment and Small Employer Advisers.
Your local council can support you to make a UC claim online, as well as providing Personal Budgeting Support.
If there is a liability for Council Tax, help may be available from your local council.
They will also be able to offer support with finding suitable accommodation and access to their ‘Discretionary Housing Payments’ – for people who cannot manage to pay their full rent.
You can work out your benefit entitlement on the ‘entitled to’ website