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Money and debt

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Are you eligible for financial support?

You may be able to get extra money to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income, care for a family member, friend or neighbour who claims benefits, or you’re over State Pension age.

It’s quick and easy to check what payments you’re eligible for with our free online benefits calculator.

Use our online benefits checker.

 

Pension Credit for those on low income 

You could get extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income: even if you have savings or own your own home.

Check if you’re eligible for Pension Credit 

Beware texts asking you to claim or apply for cost of living help – payments are automatic. If you get a text or email claiming to be from Gov.org or  DWP it's likely to be a scam.  You DON'T need to apply or do anything else to claim the payment, which is initially worth £326. If you're eligible, you'll automatically receive the money straight into your bank account.

NOTE - If you haven’t received your DWP Cost of Living Payment, you can report a missing payment online at Cost of Living Payment - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - this link is legitimate.

 

Payment for carers 

You could get £69.70 a week if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

Check if you’re eligible for the Carer’s Allowance 

 

Cost of Living Payment 

Households on means tested benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Tax Credits, will receive a payment of £650 this year. This will be made automatically in two instalments, one in summer and another in the autumn, and is in addition to the £400 discount on energy bills. 

Find out more about cost of living payments 

If you haven't received your DWP Cost of Living Payment you can report a missing payment online. 

Report a missed cost of living payment 

Beware of texts asking you to claim or apply for cost of living help – payments are automatic. You don't need to apply or contact anyone to claim the payment, if you're eligible, you'll automatically receive the money straight into your bank account. 

Worried you've been scammed?

 

Disability Cost of Living Payment 

People who receive disability benefits will get a one-off £150 payment in September to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport. This is in addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment for disabled people who also receive means tested benefits.

Check if you’re eligible for the Disability Cost of Living Payment 

 

Pensioner Cost of Living Payment 

In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills. This winter, they will also receive an extra one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment. 

Check if you’re eligible for the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment 

 

Social Tariffs for Broadband

Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband.

They’re delivered in the same way as normal packages, just at a lower price. 

Ofcom lists all of the tariffs available on their website. You can apply for most tariffs online, or call your provider and ask to switch. 

Check if your current provider offers a social tariff. 

 

Protect yourself from cost of living scams

As the rising cost of living impacts us all, it is important to be aware of scammers looking to take advantage.

Here are some tips to help you be aware of suspicious activity: 

  • Reject, refuse or ignore contact from ‘Ofgem’ that looks or sounds unusual or asks for your bank or personal details
  • Check the email address carefully, any emails to or from Ofgem always end @ofgem.gov.uk
  • Check branding. The Ofgem logo will always be present in their communications. It should never look stretched, blurry or distorted
  • Only criminals will try to rush or panic you

You can protect yourself with this quick three-step check:

  1. If you’re asked to pay an upfront fee, it could be a scam
  2. If you’re asked to pay quickly, it could be a scam
  3. If you’re asked to pay in an unusual way, such as vouchers or money transfer, or asked for your bank details, it could be a scam

Learn how to spot and avoid scams on the national Take Five website

For consumer protection advice and guidance for Staffordshire businesses, you can visit our Trading Standards website.

Other things you can do to protect yourself.

  • Protect your computer by using anti-virus and firewall software
  • Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically
  • Protect your accounts by using multi factor authentication

 

Free budget planner

Knowing where every pound is being spent is a great first step to managing your finances or getting out of debt.

Use the free budget planner fromMoney Helper.

 

Help with Debt

If you’re struggling to keep up with bills and debt payments, help may be closer than you think. Lots of organisations offer free debt advice and will help you take back control of your finances.  

If you can’t pay your bills don’t put off getting help. Ignoring bills and debts often makes things worse.

These organisations have debt advisers who can help:

  • Citizens Advice offer free, confidential advice about dealing with debt, budgeting and managing on a low income. You can get advice by visiting their website or calling their debt helpline 0800 240 4420 calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

  • Money Helper is the new name for the Money Advice service. They can give you free, confidential and impartial advice about banking, budgeting, paying bills, dealing with debt and pensions.
  • StepChange is a debt charity who offer free, confidential, advice about managing debt. You can use their online debt advice service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year or call 0800 138 1111 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm.

If you need help to legally manage the financial affairs of family member or friend who lacks mental capacity, you can find information and support on our managing finances and paperwork page.

 

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