Debt and Welfare Advice
Are you having trouble making ends meet? Don't panic - help is available.
There are a number of organisations who can help if you are experiencing financial difficulties.
Money and Debt
- You can contact the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000
- Visit the National Debtline for financial advice.
- Your local Citizen's Advice can help. Visit Citizens Advice website.
- Locally, you can contact Homemaker South West for advice and support.
- A handy budget planner is available at The Money Advice Service
Are you claiming all the benefits you're entitled to? It's worth checking out the Benefits Calculator on the Citizens Advice Benefits website to see if there is additional financial help you can claim.
Benefits and tax credits are not just for people who are sick or disabled; there is help available for families on a low income, pensioners, widowed parents and armed forces personnel and veterans. The Citizens Advice website can provide you with friendly, impartial advice and support.
Our Housing Advice team can also offer help and support. You can ask them about:
- Applying for social housing, affordable rent or rent-to-buy schemes, as well as other affordable homes options.
- Grants for disabled facilities or to help a disabled person relocate.
- How to reduce your fuel bills or make your home more energy efficient, saving you money on your bills.
- Help with funding repairs to your home or property.
- Rental standards that your landlord should adhere to.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Each year, local authorities are given a limited amount of money to provide additional help to those people who are having trouble paying their rental shortfall, or finding enough money to pay the start-up costs of a tenancy (such as a deposit or rent in advance). This scheme is known as the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).
DHP is awarded at the discretion of the Council, and only as a short term measure. To qualify the applicant must be in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
DHP is intended to cover a shortfall between your Housing Benefit/Universal Credit and your rent. It can cover reductions in either of these payments such as:
- Under occupancy restrictions ('bedroom tax')
- Rule restricting rent for single people to a shared room rate
- Changes to Local Housing Allowance rules
- A non-dependent deduction
You cannot claim DHP if your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit has been reduced to cover an overpayment.
When you apply, you'll be asked to provide full details of your household income and expenditure, and proof of the amounts declared. The Council will then decide if you can make up the shortfall in your rent or if you qualify for additional help from the DHP fund. We will write to you to inform you of our decision.