Preparing for adulthood
Between the ages of 16 and 18, young people start a transition of services affecting:
The following information is to help you as a parent or carer to plan for this time.
At 16, your child can claim benefits in their own right such as Employment and Support Allowance (external link). They can get this if they have a disability that means they are unlikely to get a job. Eventually, this will be replaced by the new Universal Credit (external link).
If your child stays on in education, you may have a choice. Either you can carry on claiming for them as part of your family or they can claim for themselves as a disabled adult. But, if they do, any benefits or Tax Credits you get for them will stop. You need to weigh up which option is best for your family.
If you get the maximum rate of Child Tax Credit or you get Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance you could be a lot worse off if your child claims benefits in their own right.
Each family's circumstances are different, so it is important to get advice before your child turns 16. To find out what benefits you could get and how to claim you can use an independent online benefit checker like TURN2US or entitledto. However if you have any specific questions or queries please contact the Welfare Rights Service.
If your son or daughter is unable to manage their own benefit payments as an adult, you can apply to become an appointee (external link) to help them.
Grants and funding
The finance section has information about services that provide grants to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families.
Your child may still want your support to make decisions, or need you to continue to make decisions on their behalf.
The ability to make decisions is called mental capacity. If your child lacks mental capacity when they become an adult, you can apply to become a deputy (external link). As a deputy, you’ll be authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.
If you are a deputy or care for someone who can’t make decisions for themselves you should be aware of the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice (external link). The Mental Capacity Act 2005 protects an adult's right to make their own decisions and to be involved in any decisions that affect them. The code of practice provides guidance and information about how the Act works in practice. It also says what you must do when you act or make decisions on behalf of someone else.
Young people approaching 18 years and undergoing an assessment to access support from adult services can request an advocate from The Children’s Society in Lancashire (external link). You can contact the service on:
- Freephone 0800 0856 324
- Telephone 01772 759 233
From the age of 18 a young person will be transferred to adult social care services. If your child has complex needs the Transition Service will support them throughout the transition to adult social care so they are prepared before their 18th birthday.
Safeguarding adults is about protecting adults who may not be able to protect themselves from abuse. The adult safeguarding section explains what to look out for and what to do if you think someone is being abused.
Carers of disabled children aged 17 are entitled to a child's carer's assessment 'in transition'. The assessment will look at whether you are likely to be eligible for support after your child turns 18.
If you would like to talk to someone about your social care needs call us on 0300 123 6720.
Find out what support you could get.
The activities and transport section has information about things to do, places to go and getting around.
The youth zone has information about housing, finance and looking for work. There's also information for young people on a range of issues like staying safe online and sexual health.
The young people's service have advisors on hand for young people online, by phone and face to face. They support young people aged 12-25 who have special educational needs or a disability. They also provide lots of inclusive events for young people and SEND specific activities and events for young people.
- The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities - Information to help families plan ahead, including; making decisions, the Mental Capacity Act, building support networks, housing, and emergencies.
- Mencap - information and advice about writing wills and setting up trusts for the benefit of someone with a learning disability
- NHS choices - Guide to the Mental Capacity Act.
- hft - Hft is a national charity that provides services for people with learning disabilities, they have a guide to the Mental Capacity Act for family and friends of people with learning disabilities.
- YoungMinds – Information about transition from child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services.
- Preparing for adulthood - Mental capacity act/making decisions easy read guide
- Council for Disabled Children - Decision making toolkit designed to be used in partnership with young people.
- NHS Choices - Practical guide about care homes.
- UK - Safer Internet Centre e-safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe on the internet.