Financial Arrangements for Care Leavers

1. Housing Benefit

It is essential that an efficient system is in place so that the income is maximised from housing benefit claims. 

This document sets out the process for making housing benefit claims for young people aged over 18 who are in supported lodgings. It sets out a consistent approach to getting claims met as well as clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the young person, supported lodging providers and accommodation officers.

All housing benefit received must be paid into Rainer Kent Housing Service. The young person completes a form to authorise this.

2. Responsibilities

Accommodation Officers

  • Holds the responsibility for ensuring that the young person makes the housing benefit claim as soon as the placement begins;
  • Provide training to supported lodging providers on when and how to complete the housing benefit forms with young people;
  • Answer any queries regarding completion of the form and assist with passing on relevant details to supported lodging provider.

Supported Lodgings Provider

  • The provider may with the agreement of the accommodation officer assist the young person to complete the housing benefit form. The provider must liaise with the accommodation officer regarding any communication or correspondence with the Housing Benefit Department.

Rainer Kent Housing

  • Underwrite the expected benefit by paying the supported lodging provider from the date the placement starts;
  • Keep managers and accommodation officers informed of the placements receiving benefit and how much.

Young Person

  • Completes the housing benefit form and the 16plus authorisation form when they commence their placement;
  • Informs the accommodation officer of any communication that the housing benefit department has with them; 
  • Informs accommodation officer/ HB of any changes in situation, which might effect housing benefit payment being received.

3. Tasks to be Completed at the Start of Placement

  1. The accommodation officer ensures that the young person completes a housing benefit form with the young person as soon as the placement starts which is lodged with the Housing Benefit office; 
  2. A letter authorising the 16plus team to handle the claim and be copied in to correspondence will be submitted with the claim in all cases;
  3. The accommodation officer sends a SS7 for the supported lodging fee (currently £190) to the Finance Officer at Rainer Kent Housing Service.

4. Details for the Form

The current rent is £50 per week. Nothing is included in this e.g. no meals or services of any sort.

The landlord is the supported lodging provider.

The agent is Rainer at the Rainer Kent Housing address.

It must be requested that the payment is made to the agent and NOT the young person or the supported lodging provider.

5. Delays in Payments

If the Housing Benefit department is the cause of any delay, no action will be taken against the provider or young person.

If the young person is not co-operating in a way that will affect receipt of housing benefit, the young person could risk losing their placement.

If the supported lodging provider is not fulfilling their responsibility to complete the form, they may be penalised by losing rent payment from Rainer Kent Housing.

All cases will be considered fully before any action is taken. The County Manager will make the final decision.

6. Young People Earning Over the Housing Benefit Level

For young people whose earnings take them over the housing benefit level, they will have to pay towards their rent. The amount of rent will be agreed with the 16 plus Team Manager/Practise Supervisor. In these cases the provider’s payment should be reduced by the amount that the young person pays (by SS7). Should the young person’s circumstances change e.g. they lose their job, another SS7 will need to be completed and a housing benefit claim may need to be made.

7. Personal Money

Rainer Kent Housing Service will not pay personal money for living expenses. It will need to come from earnings, JSA, Income Support etc. dependent upon circumstances.

8. Over 18yrs - Staying in Converted Foster Care Placements

Once a young person reaches the age of 18 should they remain with their foster carer(s) they will need to complete a Housing Benefit form in the normal way. The accommodation officer will discuss this with the young person and the foster carer(s) to inform them of the requirements. A letter is available which informs the foster carer(s) of the process and requirements.