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Turn2us Benefits and Grants update September 2015

Read the latest news about benefits, grants and useful resources.

Turn2us Find Benefits and Grants information

Contents


Benefits

Carers Credits

Thousands of carers across the UK are missing out on Carer's Credits that could boost their pension by hundreds of pounds a year. New government figures show that only one in twenty (five per cent) out of an eligible 200,000 have signed up.

The credit fills the gap in a carer’s national insurance record caused by the fact they have had to give up work or cut their hours. Without it, the carer risks missing out on the full State Pension of £115.95 a week when they retire. Signing up for the credit can particularly help older women. Women make up 130,000 - or 65% - of those who could be eligible. Two-thirds of those with caring responsibilities who could apply are estimated to be over 50 years old.

For further information and to get a Carer’s Credit claim form, contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0345 608 4321.

Read the Turn2us Carers Credit information

Education Maintenance Allowance

We have noticed that a lot of people searching on our Grants Search use the keyword Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

This is a financial scheme available to some students aged 16-19 who wish to continue in education after compulsory school leaving age. It is available to people studying or permanently resident in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - each country has its own scheme.

For people who live in England and plan to study in England, the scheme is now closed. However schools and colleges have funds to award bursaries to people aged 16-19 who need help. If a student lives in England but plans to study in Scotland or Northern Ireland, they can apply for an EMA in the country where you are studying. It is not available if they plan to study in Wales. 

You can find out more by reading our Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) Benefit Guide.

Tax Credits

MPs in the House of Commons have backed Government plans to cut spending on tax credits.

The Chancellor’s flagship proposals to cut spending on tax credits, announced in the Summer Budget, were approved on 15th September 2015 by MPs in the House of Commons, amid warnings that help must be offered to the poorest working families.

The Commons approved plans from April 2016 to lower the earnings level above which tax credits are withdrawn from £6,420 to £3,850 and speed up the rate at which the benefit is lost as pay rises.

These cuts to tax credits from April 2016 could see some households losing out on more than £1,000 in annual income.

Read the Turn2us news story about the tax credit cuts - Parliament has voted: Must charities take up the slack

 

Grants

Fashion & Textiles Children's Trust (FTCT)

If anyone you support works, or has previously worked within the last nine years, in the UK fashion or textile industry (including supermarkets that sell clothing, manufacturers, wholesalers, soft furnishings and more), the Fashion & Textiles Children's Trust may be able to give a grant to help them buy new school uniforms and other items for their children (0-18 years).

Two types of grants are available, providing the parent or carer meets the charity's eligibility criteria.

Small Grant Application (up to the value of £250)

For anything up to the value of £250, the FTCT small grants are there to help the parent and carer cover the cost of specific items such as school uniforms, learning tools, bedding, clothing, furniture etc. This is a fast-track application, and FTCT does not require a full financial statement.

Education Grants

If the family needs a substantial grant, they can apply for an education grant to cover the cost of high-value items including specialist tutorial support, learning tools (including specialist tools, books and course equipment), school necessities (including uniform and sports equipment) and transport cost.

Find out more

Please note: It is vital the parent or carer has evidence of their trade connection before FTCT can get the enquiry underway.

For more information, see the Fashion & Textiles Children's Trust website or call the FTCT grants coordinator, Dora, on 0300 123 9002 (Calls cost no more than your standard rate).

You can also make an enquiry to the Fashion & Children's Trust using the Turn2us Grants Search.

Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation

Helping charitable funds to extend their reach was one of the key reasons we developed our Turn2us Grants Search. One such charity is the Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation, an educational charity helping children of merchant navy seafarers, professional sea-going fishermen and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew members with school fees, textbooks, computers and other educational needs.

This long established charity was set up in 1827 to provide board and lodging for children whose fathers had been killed serving at sea. It has changed the help it provides over time according to the needs of people working in the merchant navy. 

Seafaring has been integral to the UK for centuries. Yet general awareness of the merchant navy and the important role it plays in British trade and commerce is now at an all-time low. Consequently, RMNEF has found it difficult to reach the several thousand children who could potentially benefit from its help.

Find out more about the charity and how to apply by reading the Turn2us Grants Search Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation's profile or looking at the Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation website.  

Source: Guardian article (25 August 2015): Wanted: 51,000 children to benefit from our charity by Charles Heron-Watson

September Turn2us Charity of the Month

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Useful resources

Citizens Advice launches 'Talk about Abuse' campaign

Citizens Advice has launched a 'Talk about Abuse' campaign to encourage people to look for signs of domestic abuse among their friends and family, to talk about it, listen and support and suggest further help.

The Citizens Advice Adviceguide website has comprehensive information on domestic abuse and other forms of gender violence (make sure you read the information relevant to the country of the UK you live in by choosing it from the drop-down menu).

Find out more about the Citizens Advice 'Talk about Abuse' campaign

How to get financial help in an emergency

Gingerbread, the national charity that supports single parents, has produced a video and tips about how to get financial help in an emergency