There are many costs associated with SEND such as childcare, school transport, therapies, equipment and accessing support services that can stretch finances.  

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Managing your money

Managing your money can be worrying but it is all about:

  • knowing how much money you have
  • knowing how much money you spend
  • making good choices about how, when and where to spend your money.

How to start

If you’re not used to managing your money, you can practice on small amounts. Start by keeping a record of what money you have and where it comes from and write down items or bills you spend it on.

You can practice with your family budget by asking your parents or carer to help you.

Bank accounts

Once you’re old enough, having access to a bank account can be an important step towards independence.

Having a bank account means you can save and access your own money, pay bills and take responsibility. Think carefully and talk to family, friends and carers about if having a bank account would be right for you, and if it would help you.

Think about your finances

The most important thing to have before you have a bank account, is some money to put into an account, it does not need to be a lot.

It’s also helpful to think about how:

  • much money you need to have in an account so you know what account to choose
  • often you want to pay money in or take money out.

You can talk to your chosen bank about your options at any point, but it is good to have an idea of what you need.

Choose the right bank

Every bank has something different to offer customers in the way they work and support you. Many also have special offers for new customers, like cashback, rail cards or better interest rates (the rate at which your bank pays you to save money with them).

Think about:

  • what you need from a bank - Interest rate, disability support, help setting up an online account. Lots of banks offer support in these areas but not all banks offer everything
  • which banks have branches in your area, can you walk or get a bus there? This is less important if you want to use internet banking
  • how you want to communicate with your bank such as in person, online, on an app.

Choose the right type of account

There may be different kinds of accounts available to you.

  • A current account which you mainly use to pay in money and pay bills or buy things with
  • A savings account where you want to save money and do not want to take money out as often. This account may give you a higher interest rate, which is the amount of money you are paid for saving with them.

A bank account comes with responsibility. Think carefully and talk to your family, friends and carers about whether having a bank account would be right for you, and if it would help you.

Ask the right questions

Most bank accounts are now quite standard and follow strict rules and regulations. But it’s important that you understand:

  • what kind of account you are opening
  • what you can and cannot do with your account
  • if any restrictions or limitations apply and how long they might apply for
  • how your bank will communicate with you about your account
  • if there are any fees or charges associated with your account.

Your bank should always be able to answer these questions and explain them to you clearly and simply. Do not worry about asking too many questions, or asking simple questions. The most important thing is that you are happy and comfortable.

Contacting your bank

A face-to-face conversation can achieve a lot. If you are opening your first bank account, go into the branch and talk to a member of staff about it.

Take a friend, family member or carer with you. Make sure you ask any questions you have and if you need additional support, for example with communication, make sure the person you speak to understands this.

Paying bills

One of the toughest parts of growing up and living independently is paying your bills. It can be a scary thought but it does not need to stop you from working towards the kind of life you want.

Even if you live alone, your friends, family and professionals who support you have gone through the same experiences of growing up and moving out. If you’re unsure a or feel worried about any decisions you are making, talk to someone you trust. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Once you understand how to budget, it is easy to pay your bills. 

What bills you need to pay

  • Rent – The cost of renting your home. Make sure you know how much it is and when it’s due
  • Water - Everyone needs to pay for the water they use but it is often the bill people forget about
  • Council Tax - What you pay the council for services like rubbish collection and maintaining the streets. What you pay depends on your Council Tax band. If you rent a property, your landlord or estate agent can tell you what band you are in
  • Gas and electricity - You need to pay the utility company for electricity to run lights and use electronic items. Your heating and cooking might also be gas or electric depending on your home. You can change utility company if you’re not happy with the cost or service
  • Phone - You are likely to need to pay for a phone landline and internet. You might also have bills for a mobile phone and pay monthly, or top up as you go
  • TV and Internet - Everyone who has a TV has to pay for a TV licence. To have the internet, you need to pay for line rental, which your telephone provider can tell you about. You might choose to have an extra TV package, like Sky or Virgin TV, so it is important to remember this is an extra cost to consider.

How to pay your bills

To stay on top of your bills you need to know:

  • who you need to pay
  • when you need to pay / how often
  • how you pay.

Who you pay depends on your provider. For each of your bills, write down the name and contact information of the company.

Most bills are due monthly but some bills like water, might be paid every six months.

To make it easier you could make a list and next to the name of your providers, write down the date of the month, or frequency your bills are paid and how you pay.

You can pay:

  • in person: you might be able to pay bills like utility and water bills in a post office or newsagents
  • by phone: check your paper or email bill for information on how to do this
  • by Direct Debit: You can set up an amount of money and a date to pay a company for a bill. The money will be taken automatically so you do not have to worry about missing a payment.

Find out more about Direct Debit.

Grants and allowances

You may be entitled to grants and allowances if you are a parent or carer of a child or young person with SEND or you are a young person with SEND.

Grants and allowances include:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who is under 16 and has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability
  • Motability - to help you pay towards a mobility vehicle if you receive the Higher Rate Mobility Component of DLA
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is to help people aged 16 or over with some of the extra costs if they have a long term ill-health or disability
  • Family Fund helps families across the UK who are raising a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 or under
  • Disabled Facilities Grants are for making changes to a home for a disabled child or young person. In Medway, you have to be referred for this by your occupational therapist
  • Access to Work helps to cover the costs of practical support in the workplace
  • Housing Benefit can help you pay for all or part of your rent
  • Universal Credit - for working age people who are on low income or out of work
  • Disability Premiums are extra amounts of money that can be added to your benefits
  • Disability Students Allowance is for young people who have a disability that affects their ability to study
  • Carers Allowance is for people who care for someone at least 35 hours a week who get certain benefits such as PIP or DLA
  • Blind Person’s Allowance means you can earn more before you start paying Income Tax
  • SEN Travel Assistance options are offered by Medway Council for children and young people with SEND.

Find out how to help a person manage their finances or personal welfare.

Help with childcare costs

If you have a child aged two to four you may be able to get a free childcare place for up to 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year.

More about help paying for childcare.