Money and Benefits
Managing your money
Managing money can be very daunting for young people; it can be more concerning for young people who are living away from home and their parents. Young immigrants too often are targets of crime or victimized by predatory lending and other high-cost financial services. For newcomers to the UK who are working hard and contributing to communities, access to basic banking services is a key to full participation in society. For everyone in the community access to mainstream financial services makes communities safer and positively impacts the financial health of UK society.
Money in the UK
The UK has its own and currency which is made up of pounds and pence (£ and p). One pound (£1) is made up of 100 pence (p). Coins are issued for £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p. There are notes for £5, £10, £20, £50.
For you to open a bank account you will need a form of identity such as a valid passport, a UK driving licence or a benefits book. You will also need proof of your address, which can include a bill for electricity, gas, water or phone or a Council Tax bill or a local council rent card or your tenancy agreement. Different banks have different requirements so you should check what you need first.
A Credit Union is a locally run organisation where you can save money and can be used if you can’t open a bank account. A Credit Union can transfer money (see below). Usually you need two pieces of evidence to open an account – proof of your address and a formal document with your signature on. You can start saving with as little as £1.
Sending Money Home
Many Diasporas frequently need to transfer money between the UK and their home country. If you want to send money outside the UK, or receive money from abroad, you can do this safely using the authorized and registered money transfer companies or Money Gram at the main post office. Money Gram will transfer money instantly to post offices or banks in most countries around the world. You can also transfer money from a bank account here to a bank account in another country. There is a charge for these services.
You will usually have to pay bills for services you use in your home such as gas, electricity, telephone and water. If you live in some rented accommodation, this may be included in your rent but you should check what you need to pay. Other services that people must pay for are Council tax and television licence.
Legal advice and benefit information for migrant workers
Knowing where to obtain Legal Advice and how to Claim benefits is very important information for young diasporas when arrive in the UK. You can get free advice about your rights and benefits as a Migrant worker free of charge from the Citizens Advice Bureau and there are Bureaux in most towns in the UK. Job centre Plus is the place where you need to go to make a claim for benefits. There are offices in all major towns.
If you have just entered Great Britain, it is important to check whether your visa allows you to claim benefits or not. The benefits migrants get will depend on one or more of the following:
- National Insurance contributions
- Whether you are living or usually live in Great Britain
- Why you have come or returned to Great Britain
- Whether your entry to Great Britain is subject to limitations
If you are a migrant worker and have not lived and worked in the UK, you will not normally have paid National Insurance contributions here and so will not usually be entitled to benefits. However, there may be some circumstances where you may be able to get some benefits.
For more information visit the Department of Work and Pensions website www.dwp.gov.uk
In order to claim any benefits in the UK that you qualified for in another country you will need to take certificate E301 or E303 (from the social security office in your own country) to the Jobcentre Plus office to make a claim for benefits. This includes benefits because of unemployment, illness, invalidity and maternity.