Bills, Budgeting and Finance

Our guide to bills, budgets and finances.

You will find information on:

  • Support funds to help you if you are having severe difficulties
  • Universal Credit which tells you everything you need know about UC and how to apply
  • Other benefits and how you can apply
  • Debt advice, local help and national help; everything you need to know
  • Payment plans, cancelling and setting up direct debits
  • Stockport Credit Union – info on savings and how you could apply for a loan
  • Warm Home Discounts and where to access help if you in energy debt

To find out more, please click on the links below

For further assistance with any of the above, please get in touch with us.

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Support funds

If you’re a Stockport resident, you can apply for Support Funds to:

  • help you when you’re at your most vulnerable
  • provide you with a safety net in an emergency, when there’s an immediate threat to your health or safety
  • support you to live independently in your own home
  • link you to other services that will help and support you
  • make sure that support is joined up
  • give more flexibility about how we meet the needs of Stockport residents

We’ll assess your application and work with you to access a range of support to meet your needs. This support will often be goods and services. Examples of support could be:

  • a food bank referral
  • help to find items that you may need in your home such as a cooker, fridge, washing machine
  • help with secondary school uniform
  • gas and electricity top up for prepaid meters
  • help paying your Council Tax
  • payment of a shortfall in rent
  • help to apply to a charity or trust fund

Eligibility

Support Funds

To be eligible for Support Funds we’ll look at:

  • your household income and expenses
  • if you or your family have any special circumstances such as disabilities or health conditions
  • your local connection to Stockport
  • what steps you’ve taken to resolve the situation yourself
  • how quickly you need help

Help with your rent

To be eligible for help with rent we’ll also look at:

  • the difference between your rent and your Housing Benefit or Housing Element award

Find out more about getting support with your rent.

Help with your Council Tax

To be eligible for help with Council Tax we’ll also look at whether:

  • you’ve been affected by some aspect of Stockport’s Local Council Tax Support Scheme, which has reduced your award or stopped you from qualifying
  • coronavirus has affected the amount of money you have

 

Contact Details – 0161 474 2101 or emailing slas@stockport.gov.uk.
The link to the website where you can apply directly:
https://www.stockport.gov.uk/stockport-local-assistance-scheme

 

Budgeting loans

If you get Universal Credit you cannot get a Budgeting Loan. You’ll need to apply for a Budgeting Advance instead.

You can apply online or using the paper form, if claiming Universal Credit you can apply online or discuss this with your designated coach.

 

What you could get:

The lowest amount you can borrow is £100. You could get up to:

• £348 if you’re single
• £464 if you have a partner
• £812 if you or your partner claim Child Benefit

How much you could get depends on whether you:

• can pay the loan back
• have savings of more than £1,000 (£2,000 if you or your partner are 63 or over)
• are paying back an existing Budgeting Loan or Crisis Loan

 

Apply using the paper form
You will need to fill in form SF500. You can:
download and print the form link to download form: https://www.gov.uk/budgeting-help-benefits/how-to-apply
• pick it up from your nearest Jobcentre Plus
• phone the Social Fund and ask for a form to be posted to you – allow 5 working days for the form to arrive

 

Social Fund
Telephone: 0800 169 0140
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0140
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

 

Return your completed form by post or hand it in to your local Jobcentre Plus.

Benefit contact numbers

Adult social care – 0161 217 6029 Help with paying for care, especially in old age, such as help washing and dressing, is conducted on a council-by-council basis and so the level of assistance depends on where you live.

Attendance Allowance – 0345 605 6055 A tax-free benefit for those aged 65 or over who are physically or mentally disabled and need help to be looked after. There are two rates of up to £71.40 a week.

Bereavement Allowance – 0800 731 0469 A weekly rate of up to £97.65 paid for up to 52 weeks from the date of death of a husband, wife or civil partner.

Bereavement Payment – 0800 731 0469 The £2,000 payment is a one-off tax-free lump sum to a husband, wife or civil partner of somebody who has died and generally who was under the state pension age.

Budgeting Loans – 0800 169 0140 An interest-free loan for those on a low income who need help with certain important costs, such as clothing, furniture and travel.

Carer’s Allowance – 0800 731 0297 A taxable benefit for those who look after someone who is disabled. They do not have to be related to, or live with, the person that they care for.

Child Benefit A universal non-means-tested benefit for parents to claim for their children, but plans to withdraw it for higher-rate taxpayers have proved controversial. Complete the CH2 form to claim Child Benefit for up to 2 children, and CH2(CS) form to claim Child Benefit for more than 2 children. The form is online. 0300 200 3100

Child Tax Credit – 0345 300 3900 Labour’s flagship welfare policy, child tax credits are paid to families with children regardless of whether the parents work.

Cold Weather Payment Paid to people who are in receipt of certain benefits to help with their additional heating costs during winter. A payment of £25 is made for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March – when the average local temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, freezing (zero Celsius) or below over seven consecutive days.

Community Care Grant – 0800 169 0140 Financial help to live independently in the community for those who have, for example, just moved out of care, or to ease exceptional pressure on them and their family.

Constant Attendance Allowance – 0345 605 6055 To help those who need daily care, are 100% disabled according to medical examination, and who receive Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or the War Disablement Pension.  

Council Tax Benefit – 0161 217 6014 Financial help for those on low incomes to pay their council tax bill.

Carers Allowance – 0345 608 432 You could get £64.60 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. … Carer’s Allowance can affect the other benefits that you and the person you care for get. You have to pay tax on it if your income is over the Personal Allowance.

Disability Living Allowance (pip) – 0345 850 3322 A tax-free benefit for disabled people, including children, who have difficulty walking and who need somebody to help look after them. Daily living – standard rate £57.30 Daily living – enhanced rate £85.60 Mobility – standard rate £22.65 Mobility – enhanced rate £59.75

Employment and Support Allowance – 0800 600 072 / 0800 328 5644 The successor of Incapacity Benefit, it is paid to those with an illness or disability but aims to get them into some kind of work. Statutory Sick Pay A standard rate of £79.15 a week, it is paid by employers for up to 28 weeks if somebody is unable to work because of illness.

Sure Start Maternity Grant A one-off payment of £500 for each baby to help those on low incomes pay towards the cost of a new baby.

Pension Credit – 0800 991234 Pension Credit is an income-related benefit made up of 2 parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Aids and Adaptations – -0161 218 1220

Stockport Jobcentre – 0800 169 0190

Debt advice

Stockport Debt Advice
They provide a specialist debt advice appointment service which is available if you have queries about multiple debts, insolvency options or if you need urgent advice about an emergency issue such as a warrant of eviction.

For information about debt problems and how to resolve them you can visit Better Off Stockport. You can also visit The Money Advice Service where you can find advice as well as other free debt advice services.

Link to do referral : https://www.stockport.gov.uk/debt-advice

Stockport District Citizens Advice Bureau (phone 0844 826 9800) provides confidential and impartial advice on a wide range of topics including debt problems.
You can also make an on line referral via the Stockport Council website.

Stockport Homes (phone 0161 474 2854) offers its tenants help with a wide range of money management and debt problems, as well as housing.

Welfare Rights (phone 0161 474 3093) offers benefit and tax credit advice and representation at Social Security Appeal Tribunals. They also have a dedicated Debt Advice service. They have advisers at Fred Perry House, in Stepping Hill Hospital and in the Advice Centres in Reddish and Brinnington. Appointments are offered for complex benefit problems such as appeals

 

Other National Debt advice services

Step Change Debt Charity – 0161 233 6919
Is a national charity focused on helping you deal with debt. They have a free phone line and they provide confidential help online (a 20 minute service).
http://stepchange.org

Debt Advice Foundation
Is a national charity that offers debt advice? There is a free phone line and an online ‘Debt Analyser’ that will help you find a targeted answer to your problem.
http://debtadvicefoundation.org

National Debt line
Offers impartial and confidential advice on how to deal with debt and has a free phone line you can call.
https://mymoneysteps.org

Christians Against Poverty
Offers debt counselling and advice 
https://capuk.org/

Direct Debits

Cancelling Direct Debit

To cancel a Direct Debit, contact your bank or building society on the phone, via secure online banking, or visit your local branch. Direct Debit payments can be cancelled at any time but a bank will require at least 1 days’ notice before your next payment date.

 

How to set up direct debits

The organisation collecting the payments will tell you what to do. Usually you fill in a form and send it to them, or set it up online or over the phone. They’ll let your bank know. You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by contacting your bank and sometimes through online banking.

 

Payment plan

Plan for paying any outstanding debts. Different types of financing involve payment plans including mortgage loans, vehicle loans, and student loans. Within a payment plan, the borrower agrees to payback a certain amount of money each month to repay the debt.

Stockport Credit Union

Cancelling Direct Debit

To cancel a Direct Debit, contact your bank or building society on the phone, via secure online banking, or visit your local branch. Direct Debit payments can be cancelled at any time but a bank will require at least 1 days’ notice before your next payment date.

 

How to set up direct debits

The organisation collecting the payments will tell you what to do. Usually you fill in a form and send it to them, or set it up online or over the phone. They’ll let your bank know. You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by contacting your bank and sometimes through online banking.

 

Payment plan

Plan for paying any outstanding debts. Different types of financing involve payment plans including mortgage loans, vehicle loans, and student loans. Within a payment plan, the borrower agrees to payback a certain amount of money each month to repay the debt.

Energy debt and Warm Home Discounts

• Energy advice Manchester 0161 672 1234
• Check with your Energy supplier for eligibility criteria and dates.
• The Warm Home Discount (WHD) is a government scheme aimed at tackling fuel poverty in Great Britain. You may be eligible for £140 discount if you are on a low income or in receipt of pension credit or benefits click below for more details:
https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
• Under the scheme, energy suppliers support people who are in fuel poverty or are at risk of it. Some smaller suppliers also voluntarily participate in part of the scheme.
• If you are an individual struggling with your utility bills please call us on the above number or send an email to: energy@citizensadvicemanchester.org.uk

 

How we can help?
Our Energy Advice Service is dedicated to helping combat fuel poverty and provides one-to-one advice and support to people experiencing difficulties with their energy costs or who are at risk of fuel poverty.
Dealing with fuel debt, including negotiation of affordable payment arrangements and grant applications to Charitable Trusts for arrears and essential household items.
Accessing grants for insulation and other energy efficiency measures
Finding the cheapest supplier and tariff
Budgeting for ongoing energy consumption
Understanding your bill & setting heating controllers

 

Grants to help pay off your Energy Debts
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off. The following energy companies offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone – and you don’t have to be a customer!

There are also companies who offer grants specifically for their customers:

Npower Energy Fund
Scottish Power Hardship Fund
OVO Energy Fund
EDF Energy Trust
E.O.N Energy Fund

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