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Information for electors voting in the General Election 2024.

A UK parliamentary election has been called for 4 July 2024. Deadlines for registering to vote, and applying for a postal vote, have now passed. To apply to vote by proxy, you have until 5pm on 26 June 2024: GOV.UK: Apply to vote by proxy (opens new window)

Overseas electors may consider applying to vote by proxy. For more information see the General Election 2024 page.

Support if you are worried about money

Guidance to direct you or somebody you care about with financial hardship to the right kind of support.

What can we help you with?

  • I suddenly have no money - this could be due to a lost job, reduced hours, unexpected costs or a relationship breakdown
  • I'm waiting on my first payment of Universal Credit - helpline and payment advances
  • I'm worried about debt - rent or council tax arrears, bills, credit cards and other forms of debt
  • Other support - food banks, housing, homelessness and support for asylum applicants and refugees

I suddenly have no money

If you are of working age or pensionable age you may be eligible for one or more of the following benefits and support. 

  • Universal Credit (opens new window) - a monthly payment to help with your living costs if you are of working age. You may be able to get it if you're on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.
  • Housing Benefit - financial help with paying your rent. Most people eligible for Housing Benefit receive it through Universal Credit (opens new window), but you can apply for Housing Benefit separately if you have reached state pension age or live in supported, sheltered, or temporary housing.
  • Council tax discounts and exemptions - Discounts are available for eligible groups such as carers, student nurses, apprentices and people who live alone.

You may be struggling because:

  • lost job or reduced hours
  • lost money or have an unexpected expense
  • your money was stopped e.g. failed a medical
  • relationship breakdown
  • disaster e.g. flooding

More options to consider: 

 

I'm waiting on my first payment of Universal Credit

If you need financial help while you are waiting for your first payment you should contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

If you are waiting on a Universal Credit payment or decision you can request to receive an advance of your benefit earlier than usual to pay for things like rent or food. An advance is a loan, not a grant which means you will need to pay this back through money deductions from your Universal Credit. More information at GOV.UK: Guidance - Universal Credit advances (opens new window)

If you want to speak to someone else on the phone for more information and advice on benefit advance, you can speak to Citizens Advice National on 0800 144 8848.

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.

Rent arrears

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 (opens new window).

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

Water

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.              

Court fines

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.

Advice agencies

These agencies are established organisations that offer free, confidential advice and support.

Increase your income

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 (opens new window).
  • 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 (opens new window).

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 (opens new window).

Further financial support

Practical help

Acorn Community Bank helps people to get on top of their finances by encouraging them to save when they can and making low cost loans. They also offer money advice courses
Website: Acorn Community Bank (opens new window)

British Legion helps members of the British Army Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families. The Legion can advise on managing money, benefits, housing, finding a job and more.
Website: Royal British Legion (opens new window)
Call 0808 802 8080 - lines are open from 8am to 8pm daily.

Food banks are available throughout Wiltshire. Find your nearest one at The Trussell Trust: Find a food bank (opens new window).

Soldiers, Sailors, Air force and Families Association (SSAFA) supports people who have served in the Armed Forces (British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, including Reserves), or are the immediate family of someone who served. It can help with a rage of problems including dealing with debts, claiming benefits, housing and mobility aids.
Website: SSAFA (opens new window)
Call 0800 220 6767

Support for asylum applicants and refugees

Asylum applicants and refugees - support services and guidance including asylum support and housing.

Housing advice

Housing advice - help with housing costs, looking for a home, veterans housing and support for young people.

Homelessness 

If you are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, please contact us (details can be found on Homelessness) as soon as possible.

Citizens Advice

Citizen’s advice Bureau (opens new window) offers free impartial advice and support online, over the phone and in person.

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