It can be difficult to keep up-to-date with the continual changes to the benefits system; however, benefits are not usually paid to young people under 18.
There are some exceptions:
- disabled children and young people
- children and young people who are ill
- care leavers
- young carers
- young people with a dependent child.
Young people will usually qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16, i.e. they live with them or contribute at least the same amount as Child Benefit towards looking after them. They do not need to be the child’s natural parent; however two people can’t get Child Benefit for the same child.
Universal credit replaces six existing benefits. You usually have to be over 18 and not in full-time education to apply for Universal Credit; however, there are some exceptions. 16 and 17-year olds can apply if they are expecting or are responsible for a child or are living apart from their parents and are not in care. Disabled young people and young carers can also apply. Helpline: 0800 328 5644.
Housing benefit is one of the benefits which is being combined in Universal Credit.
Since April 2017, there is no automatic entitlement to the housing costs element of Universal Credit for young people aged 18 to 21 who live in areas where the full digital service has been rolled out. In Wales, this ‘roll-out’ will be complete by the end of July 2018.
Some 18 to 21 year olds claiming Universal Credit will still be able to get help with their housing costs. Those who are claiming Housing Benefit will not be affected until they stop claiming it and later make a claim for housing support through Universal Credit.
Exceptions include young people who are responsible for a child and those who had no option but to leave their parents’ home for reasons of safety or mental well-being.
Disabled children and young people, those with a long-term health condition or terminally ill children may be eligible for non means-tested benefits to help with everyday costs.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is payable to children from three months to 16 years who need extra help with daily living tasks or getting about.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is for disabled people over 16.
Young carers aged 16 and 17 who are not in full-time education and are not earning over a certain amount each week may be eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance.
If a young person is caring for a family member always check first because their application for Carer’s Allowance might affect the looked-after person’s own benefits. Helpline: 0345 608 4321
No fixed address
Benefits cannot be refused because a young person has no permanent or temporary address. Payment is generally through a bank, building society, credit union or post office account nowadays.
Delays in benefits
If a young person is experiencing financial hardship as a result of benefit delays they could be eligible for emergency financial help.
Turn2Us provides information about benefits for young people in different circumstances, including a benefits calculator.
Entitledto also has a free calculator so you can check someone is not missing out on their benefits.
Citizens Advice has online help to assist with benefits applications: