Support if you are worried about money
I'm worried about debt
Dealing with debts
If you have a number of debts or cannot afford to make payments we recommend using an advice agency. Their staff can help you negotiate with multiple creditors and deal with high levels of interest. They can also advise on debt solutions which may see some or all of your debts written off. More information at Advice agencies.
If you can usually afford your rent but have got behind, work out whether you can make extra payments to catch up. Offer a regular amount to your landlord and see if they will accept it. It's important to stick to the payments so offer an amount you can afford.
Check whether you can claim any help with your housing costs. More information at GOV.UK - Housing Benefit.
Heat and light
If you have unpaid bills, talk to your supplier. Check that you are on the best deal and offer a repayment plan. There is a Code of Conduct and your supplier must consider how much you can afford to pay and how much energy you use. Your supplier may suggest:
- Fuel Direct - this takes money direct from benefits
- A prepayment meter as an alternative to disconnection. You pay in advance and the meter takes something for arrears as well as current use
If you fall behind with your water payments, the company can't disconnect you. It can start court action to get the arrears back, and may apply to deduct money straight from your benefits.
If you are finding it hard to pay court fines, contact the court and explain the situation. There should be details of how to do this included on correspondence from the court.
These agencies are established organisations that offer free, confidential advice and support.
Check if you are entitled to benefits
- check whether you can claim any benefits. The government website has details of what benefits to claim, how to claim them and what happens if you start work. Go to Gov.uk Benefits Advice.
- local welfare provision may provide limited, short-term help and assistance with one-off household goods. There is a limit to the number of applications that can be made each financial year. More information at Help in a crisis.
- discretionary housing payments (DHPs) may help with housing costs. You can apply for these if you receive housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit, and the benefit does not cover your rent. DHPs can sometimes cover other costs too. Payments are limited. See extra help with rent on Housing Benefit.
- council tax reductions may be available. More information at Council tax reduction (CTR).
Could you find extra work?
This may affect means tested benefits so check any benefit conditions. You can do this at Gov.uk Benefits Advice.
Consider taking in a lodger
This means sharing your home and doesn't suit everyone. It could affect benefits or insurance. You may need permission from the landlord or mortgage company. More information on taking in a lodger at Citizens Advice: Subletting and lodging.