There are many independent organisations which provide useful benefit checking and budgeting advice tools which may be helpful if you are struggling with your finances. If you need help in your home or on your scheme you can visit our help and support page to find out about the services we offer.
Citizens Advice provide free independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. The website features a postcode checker to find your nearest centre.
Money advice service
The Money Advice Service website has been set up by the government, and offers free and impartial advice to help people manage their finances.
To make sure customers are getting the support they're entitled to, this page has lots of links to information on extra support available for people on low incomes. This could be winter fuel payments, funeral payments, free school meals, etc.
There is also a useful budgeting tool to help people planning their Christmas spending.
The benefits section of the gov.uk website has links which direct people to free to use, anonymous, independent benefits calculators.
Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship access welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services.
The benefits calculator on the entitledto website can be used to check which means-tested benefits customers may be able to claim.
StepChange Debt Charity provides free debt advice and a debt remedy tool which can help you work out your options if you are in debt: www.stepchange.org/Debtremedy
For older customers, Age UK (www.ageuk.org.uk) and Independent Age(www.independentage.org.uk) both provide a wide range of advice and support for older people, including money advice and benefits calculators.
Independent Age also has a Christmas budgeting calculator.
Help to pay your rent
You could get Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent if you’re on a low income.
Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances.
You can apply for Housing Benefit from your local authority You can find your local council by visiting the local authority finder website – just click here.
You may also get extra help from your Local Authority called a ‘discretionary housing payment’ if your Housing Benefit doesn’t cover your rent.
You can also apply for ‘a discretionary housing payment’ if you are receiving the housing element of Universal Credit and it doesn’t cover your full rent.
Universal Credit includes a housing element that will replace Housing Benefit and is being rolled out across the country over the next few years. You can find out more about it here,