Supporting You leaflet

The pandemic and the rise in the cost of living has impacted on all of us in many ways. Whether you are struggling to pay bills, feel isolated, or are concerned about rising energy costs, the council and our partners are here to help.

We have produced a new leaflet called Supporting You, which aims to highlight key information. This includes support for the vulnerable; help with finances; and energy tips, and you can read this here.

Supporting You leaflet

Help with the cost of living 

The Government is offering a number of schemes to help with the cost of living . These include help with rising energy costs, particularly for those who are disabled or receiving a means tested benefit. Some of these will be paid automatically with your benefit payment from the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Help with your bills or rent

You can  apply for Universal Credit if your earnings have changed because of covid-19 and you are unable to pay your bills or rent.

You can apply for universal credit if:

  • you are working less hours; or,
  • you are self-employed and are not earning the same as you could before covid-19

Information is available if you or someone you know is worried about their energy costs this winter. One of the schemes that we have introduced to help keep people warm and well is the Chichester Warm Homes Initiative. This scheme is for residents on low income living in a property with poor energy efficiency, and could contribute towards the installation of an efficient heating system, as well as loft and wall insulation. If you know someone who may benefit from this, please encourage them to get in touch with our delivery partners by visiting Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice service  or calling 01243 974063. 

Pension credit

Pension Credit tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £177.10 per week for single pensioners or £270.30 for couples. It is a tax free payment for those who: 

Someone may still get Pension Credit if they: 

  • have not paid National Insurance contributions
  • have savings or a small pension
  • live with their grown-up family
  • own their own home

Use the Pension Credit calculator to find out how much Pension Credit you could get. 

Changes in your income

If you receive Housing Benefit, a Council Tax Reduction, or any other benefit please make sure that you tell us of any changes to your income.

Discretionary housing payments

If you already receive housing costs element of universal credit or housing benefit, but are still unable to meet the cost of your rent, you might be eligible for a discretionary housing payment.

Help with your mortgage

The Government can offer  help towards the interest payments on your mortgage  and some other loans. Alternatively, you could speak to your mortgage or loan provider and ask them about payment holidays.

Help with paying your council tax

If you are struggling with the cost of your council tax we encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss your account so that we can try and work out how we can help you. Please visit our Council tax payment difficulties page, or contact taxation@chichester.gov.uk and arrange for an officer to contact you.

If you are issued with a council tax reminder, final notice or summons you may be invited to complete a TellJo wellbeing assessment by text message or email. The results of this assessment are shared back to us to help us better understand your personal situation and consider whether any additional support needs to be offered. If you receive an invite we encourage you to complete it so that we can offer additional help and signpost to further support that might be helpful, including Council tax discounts

You may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction. Please view our benefits calculator or make an application for benefits.

What are you entitled to?

To find out what you might be able to claim for, please visit the  Entitledto benefit calculator and enter your details. You will then receive an estimate of your entitlement to benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit.

Help with energy bills

If your energy costs are high, your household income is low and your home isn't energy efficient, you may be experiencing fuel poverty. West Sussex residents can get help from Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice service. You can call the team on 01243 974063 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm).

Individual energy companies often have support and advice sachems to help customer struggling with energy costs and energy debt, some are these are listed. If your supplier is not listed contact you could try contacting your supplier to ask if they have support schemes or if you need help to do this contact Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice service. 

On the 3rd February the Chancellor announced that payers in Council Tax bands A to D will receive a one off payment of £150 to support households with energy costs £150 energy bills rebate 2022.

Help with food, water and other essentials

  • You can apply for support with food and other essential items via the Community Hub at West Sussex County Council
  • Free school meals in all West Sussex County Council maintained, and free schools and academies, are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of a qualifying benefit. It is important to register for free school meals if you are eligible, even if your child is reception or years one and two who get a free school meal regardless of income. This is because free school meal eligibility may automatically mean that you get other support.  
  • Pop-Up Pantries offer affordable food and advice locally to those who may need a little support. Bring a bag, choose the food you need and donate to pay. NourishEd events and classes also offer education to help people make the most of their food. 
  • The Healthy Start Scheme offers help to provide healthy food and milk, including vitamins in pregnancy and breastfeeding. The scheme is available to those who are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of 4 who are in receipt of a qualifying benefit. 
  • Southern Water offer support to financially vulnerable customers to assist with water bills, including reduced tariffs and other hardship schemes . They also have a priority register so that vulnerable customers can access support in the event of a disruption to supply. You can check your water supplier using the postcode checker .
  • If you are having difficulty paying for phone or broadband you should speak to your provider, some have social tariffs for broadband and phone services  which offer cheaper packages to some customers depending on their circumstances. 

Help with debt

Chichester District Council is committed to supporting our customers who experience money worries. We are doing all we can to help our customers, and we recognise there may be other debts that you need help and advice with. If you are worried about debts or missed payments, there is free and independent debt advice available. The government sponsored Money Helper  can help you find support, including a money navigator tool. This tool provides guidance and support for customers whose income have been impacted by Coronavirus.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice can help with budgeting, debt, accessing grants, increasing your income and more. They offer advice over the phone and online, or you can drop into their Chichester office Mondays and Wednesdays. Home visits are available for disabled people and carers.

  • General advice on debt, benefits, housing, employment, and more - call 0808 278 7969 (Mon-Fri 10am-4.30pm, freephone), book a video appointment or start a Citizens Advice Bureau web chat . Drop into East Pallant House Mondays and Wednesdays 10am-4pm.
  • Energy advice - their dedicated team can help you save money on your energy bills and access emergency fuel support, as well as improve your energy efficiency. Call the team on 01243 974063 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm).
  • Citizens Advice - Getting extra support from your energy supplier - If you find it hard to deal with your energy supply company or want to find out about getting priority services because you are vulnerable.
  • Getting online - if you'd like to learn how to shop safely and save money online, 'Technology Doesn't Byte' may be able to help you. The Digital Money Coach can help you find and fund a device for getting online, as well as looking at ways to pay for your Internet connection. Call 01243 776528 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.30pm) and ask for an appointment with the Digital Money Coach.
  • Universal Credit - if you're new to claiming benefits or unsure if you're eligible, speak to the Help to Claim team on 0800 144 8 444 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm).

Christians Against Poverty CAP 

Christians Against Poverty offer a free debt counselling service for anyone struggling with unmanageable debt. The service is completely free, always providing a solution and route out of debt, working with creditors and providing support throughout the journey to debt freedom. Book an appointment by calling 0800 328 0006 or by visiting the CAP website. 

pdf icon Weighed down by debt leaflet [1007kb]