Staf CEO Jo Derrick has today welcomed proposals for a new benefit to support young people moving into work, which include changes called for by Staf to better support care leavers. However, Staf has also reiterated calls to ensure no care leavers miss out on the benefit.

In February Staf responded to the government consultation on the Job Start Payment following discussion at our Care Leavers into Employment Focus Group. As well as ensuring ‘care leaver’ was carefully defined in eligibility rules, Staf called for an extension to the application window; ensuring 16 and 17 year old care leavers don’t miss out; and the ability to make repeat applications.

The Scottish Government has responded to these calls by extending the application window from 14 days to three months and will now allow repeat applications for all young people. However, no change will be made to the eligibility criteria for 16 and 17 year olds, meaning some care leavers could still miss out.

In response to the announcement, Staf CEO Jo Derrick said:

“We are pleased that the Scottish Government has taken on board changes to the Job Start Payment proposed by Staf members at our Care Leavers into Employment Focus Group.

“In particular, the decision to allow repeat applications will particularly benefit care leavers who often face additional barriers to accessing and maintaining employment.

“We are, however, disappointed that the Scottish Government has chosen not to extend eligibility to ensure that 16 and 17 year old care leavers who are supported by local authorities can receive the Job Start Payment. Staf will continue to make the case for this to be changed.”