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Get money help if you're a young person leaving care

Depending on your age and how long you were in care, you could get financial help from social work or apply for benefits.

If you’re 16 or 17

Social work must support you financially if you:

  • are under 18

  • have been in care for a total of at least 13 weeks from the age of 14

  • have been looked after at some time while you were 16 or 17

They'll be responsible for the cost of:

  • your rent

  • food and utility bills

  • clothing

  • travel costs for education and training

  • pocket money

Social work will look at your income and savings to help them decide how much money to give you.

If you’re moving home after being in care, social work may still have to help you with money, but this could be limited.

Check if you can get benefits

You cannot get Universal Credit to pay your rent until you turn 18. Social work should pay for this if you need it.

You could get Universal Credit for other costs before you turn 18 if either:

  • you or your partner are responsible for a child

  • you cannot work because you’re ill or disabled

You may be able to get other benefits. Use the Turn2Us benefits calculator to check.

If you’re 18 to 21

You can get Universal Credit when you turn 18. Social work will not have to give you any financial support.

You can still ask for help from social work if you need it for things like:

  • advice and support

  • living expenses

  • a deposit if you find a home to rent

  • paying a shortfall in your rent

  • expenses connected to your education or training

It’ll be up to social work to decide if they’ll continue to support you and for how long.

Contact Citizens Advice for help with budgeting and benefits.

For help to reach your goals and to get community support, contact Who Cares? Scotland.

Check if you can get any grants

Grants are money that you do not have to pay back.

Use the Turn2Us grant search to find grants in your area.

If you're a full-time undergraduate student, you could get a Care Experienced Students' Bursary from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

To help with big costs or in an emergency, check our advice on:

Last updated: 28 April 2024

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England