We all struggle financially from time to time so it’s good to get expert advice and support, accessing up-to-date information which is practical, realistic and related to your own specific circumstances.
To help you understand your finances and keep yourself on track, why not give one of the Governments’ benefits and budgeting calculators a try!
Our financial inclusion coordinators are on hand to assist you with all things financial and hold a weekly ‘Money worries’ drop-in, every Monday from 9AM to 12PM, at the resource centre, which is next to our offices in North Street. You can also contact them by calling 01903 703 110, or emailing them. Our Energy adviser is also available at the ‘Money Worries’ drop-in. She can give you lots of useful information and tips about reducing energy and water use or even help you get a better deal on your fuel bills.
The financial inclusion team have put together the following downloadable factsheets to help with any questions you may have:
- Universal Credit advice
- Universal Credit 1st appt checklist
- ‘Sort out your debts’ advice
- Reducing fuel costs advice
- Saving factsheet
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) advice
- Moving home advice
- Lodgers and boarders advice
- ‘How employable are you?’ advice
- Home insurance factsheet
- Water charges advice
- Money, debts and benefits advice
- Dual Housing Benefit factsheet
- Disability Living Allowance for children advice
- Carers Allowance
- Benefits advice for over 65s
- Retirement benefit changes advice
- ‘Opening a bank account’ guide
- Advice for residents in Arun
- Advice for residents in Adur and Brighton
- Advice for residents in Worthing
- ‘Disability Living Allowance is ending’ factsheet
For help with managing and saving your money, take a look at Boom! Credit Union – a credit union for people who live or work in West Sussex, Surrey or Kingston. They give local people access to fair and affordable loans, savings accounts and prepaid cards. If you would prefer to see them in person you can find them at: 129 Montague Street, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 3BP.
You can also get help from your local job centre – to find your nearest one visit the Jobcentre Near Me website.
Benefit and welfare advice
From July 2018, the Adur, Worthing and Arun areas will see the introduction of Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is the new benefit for working age people which replaces six of your current benefits including:
- Jobseekers Allowance;
- Employment & Support Allowance;
- Income Support;
- Working Tax Credit;
- Child Tax Credit; and
- Housing Benefit.
It does not replace Council Tax Benefit, so you still need to claim this from your local council.
To find out more about Universal Credit and what it could mean for you visit ‘Understanding Universal Credit’,
Check your benefits
You can check if you’re getting all the right benefits and amounts by using one of the following benefit calculators:
For general advice on benefits, take a look at the Citizens Advice benefits page page as this will give you information on the various different benefits and includes links to other calculators.
You could also speak to Turn2us, a national charity that helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services – online, by phone and face-to-face, through partner organisations and our volunteers.
Facing up to debt is never easy, but it is important. You don’t have to panic about debt problems, but you must not ignore them either – they won’t go away!
Late payment charges and interest payments can make your debts increase, not decrease, so seeking advice and sorting things out as quickly as possible is essential. So gather up all your financial information and contact an experienced sympathetic adviser from one of the following organisations:
The Money Advice Service
Whatever the situation with your finances, it’s good to know you’re on top of things and are making the most of what you have.
The Money Advice Service is here to help. It offers clear and unbiased money advice and information to help you make the most of your money, whatever your circumstances – and it’s free.
The Money Advice Service is independent and unbiased so it won’t recommend any particular products or try to sell you anything. It was set up by government and is funded by a levy on the financial services industry.
You can access their services in three ways:
- on the Money Advice Service website;
- over the phone: call the number below and speak to a money adviser for unbiased advice on your money issues (call rates may vary); and
- face-to-face: if you find that speaking to a money adviser online isn’t enough, you can request a face-to-face appointment by calling the number on their website.
The Money Advice Service website also has a free debt advice locator tool.
MAS Money Health Check
A good place to start when looking at your money situation is the Money Advice Service ‘Money Health Check’. It takes less than 10 minutes to answer some easy questions about your attitude and behaviour – no need for bank statements or any other paperwork – and you’ll get an action plan with three high priority actions and a list of others to take when you are ready. Each action has a drop down telling you how to do it, not just what to do.
Why not have a go right now – visit the MAS Money Health Check page.
Stepchange debt charity
If you are looking for some help to become debt free, visit the Stepchange Debt Charity website.
Stepchange are a registered charity who have been providing free debt advice to people all over the UK for more than 15 years.
To find out how they could help you, use the Stepchange online debt remedy tool for an instant assessment of your current debt situation, complete with a personalised budget.
PayPlan debt advice
PayPlan have been helping people in debt situations for over 20 years, and during that time they’ve developed a wide range of practical, long-term solutions that can not only help to manage your debt, but also enable you to live your life.
Why not start by filling out their online self referral form to see how they can help you!