Bills, Budgeting and Finance

Our guide to bills, budgets and finances. You will find information on:

Stockport Local Assistance scheme and budgeting

Universal Credit which tells you everything you need know about UC and how to apply

Other benefits and how you can apply

Debt advise 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

Stockport Local Assistance Scheme

The aim of the Stockport’s Local Assistance Scheme is to:
• provide a safety net in an emergency, when there is an immediate threat to health or safety
• to help people to settle into new accommodation after for example, a stay in hospital or temporary accommodation
• to help support people to continue to live independently when they are facing difficulties

To be eligible for support from the SLAS applicants need to undergo a four stage application process that determines:
• their age, household type and benefit/income status
• whether or not they have a local Stockport connection, or if one is needed
• their qualifying circumstances or need for immediate assistance
• the priority of their need and whether there is sufficient money in the budget or not

 

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.

Universal Credit

Apply for Universal Credit linkhttps://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644

1. Gather everything you’ll need to apply.
2. Set up an online account.
3. Use your account to start a claim.
4. Arrange an interview at the Jobcentre within 7 days of starting your claim

 

You will be asked for:
• your email address
• your telephone number
• your postcode
• your National Insurance number
• proof of your nationality
• your housing details
• details about people who live with you – such as your partner, children you are responsible for, or lodgers
• Child Benefit reference numbers, if you receive Child Benefit
• employer details, if you or your partner are working
• details about any earnings or other income you or your partner have
• details of any savings, investments or other capital you or your partner have
• details of any other benefits you receive
• information about your health
• Details of the account your payments will go into, such as a bank, building society or credit union account. This will need to be a current account, not a savings account, and should be in your name. If you don’t have one, the Money Advice Service website can help you choose the account that’s right for you.

 

You can’t receive Universal Credit and tax credits at the same time. If you start getting Universal Credit your tax credits will stop.

 

You’ll get your first payment around 5 weeks after applying online if your application is successful. When you apply, you can ask for an advance if you need help sooner.

 

The link to apply online: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

Citizens Advice Stockport offer support with submitting your online claim http://stockportcab.org.uk/advice/digital-support

and have a NEW, free dedicated Universal Credit support line available: 0800 144 8 444

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

Stockport Credit Union is a savings and loans co-operative, with loans from £50 to £7,000 at competitive rates. We have loans and savings for new and existing members. If you live or work in Stockport.

Joining: Stockport Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, volunteers or studies in Stockport.

E: mail@stockportcu.com

Tel: 0161 430 5808 

http://home.btconnect.com/stockportcu/join.html

Address: First House, 367 Brinnington Rd, Brinnington, Stockport SK5 8EN

 

Benefits of saving:
• No minimum amount to pay in. (The maximum you can save is £15,000.)
• Your money is safe with us
• Life savings insurance is included on money paid into your account before your 80th birthday (there are some T&Cs, please ask us).
• There are many ways to save: by standing order through your bank, by cash or cheque at any of our collection points and by bank transfer (cash payments in are limited – please use bank transfer for large amounts), or by payroll deduction if you work for some local employers (listed here)
• As a member of Stockport Credit Union, you share in any annual dividend paid by the credit union.

The forms you need to set up these arrangements are available here. If you work for some local employers you can save straight out of your pay each month. Click here to learn more about Payroll Savings

Share Account
The Share Account is the main way to save with the credit union. For adult savers (over 18) there is a low membership fee (currently £1.20) and you will also need to pay at least £1.00 into your share account to get started. You will also need to show two forms of identification – one to prove who you are and one to prove where you live. Acceptable forms of ID are listed on the application form.
You need to apply in person at any of our collection points. Follow this link to find out where the collection points are located and when they operate. You can also download an application form. Take your completed form and payment to one of our collection points together with your ID documents.

Xmas Saver Account
Helps you budget for Christmas! Existing members can open an Xmas Saver Account which is kept separate from your share account. You can save as much or as little as you like up to Christmas. Withdrawals are only allowed between 1st November and 31st December to make it easy to build up a Christmas fund. Click here to download more information and an application form.

Young Saver Account
A Young Saver account can be opened for saving only on behalf of a child or young person up to 18 years old. There is no joining fee for young savers. An adult needs to be responsible for the account and can nominate a second adult to be able to draw money out on behalf of the young saver. Click here for more information.

To open any of these accounts, just fill in the relevant application form and post it to us (Payroll members only) or bring it to a Collection Point with your ID, joining fee (over 18s only) and your first savings amount.

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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