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.
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 independent advocate from the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) (external link).
Advocacy focus (external link) provide advocacy for adults and carers.
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 preparing for adulthood section has information about housing, finance and looking for work. The youth zone also has information for young people on a range of issues like staying safe online and sexual health.
The talkzone advisers are on hand for young people online, by phone and face to face. They support families of children and young people from 0-19 years old and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities up to 25.
Young people aged 16-25 can access the Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Team service independently from their parents.