Help with finances overview video


 

New Supporting You service

We've launched a new holistic service to support those who are struggling with the cost of living. This is delivered by a dedicated team of trained advisors - our Supporting You team - who are able to support people with a range of challenging issues at once. You can contact the
team on supportingyou@chichester.gov.uk or 01243 534860. For more information, read our news article.

 

Can I get help towards my energy bills?

Over the last few months, we've been busy issuing thousands of £150 payments to households in council tax bands A-D. This is all part of a Government support package to help people with their energy bills. We've also been allocating funding to help people in properties in bands E to H who also receive a means tested benefit, such as a council tax discount Council Tax Reduction, Universal Credit or Pension Credit or who receive a disability benefit such as Personal Independence Payments, Carers Allowance or Attendance Allowance, and extended our Discretionary Energy Rebate Scheme to support residents with utility arrears.

The Government has also announced further plans to help households. Measures include introducing an  energy price guarantee. . All households will also be given a one-off £400 discount on their fuel bills this winter. This will be applied automatically to your energy bill.

In addition, £650 will be paid to more than eight million low-income households who receive many benefits or tax credits. In the winter months, pensioners could get between £100 and £300 in Winter Fuel Allowance to help pay heating bills. In addition, this year all pensioners will also receive an extra one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, and payments of £150 to disabled people will also go ahead. These payments will be made automatically by the  Department for Work and Pensions.

If you are on a low income, then the  Government's Warm Home Discount  could save you £140 off your electric bill during the winter months. Check with your electricity provider to see if you are eligible.

In very cold weather, people may be eligible for extra support. If you're in receipt of certain benefits and the weather drops to zero or below for more than seven days, you may be able to apply for a 'cold weather' payment from the Government.

Individual energy companies often have support and advice schemes to help customers struggling with energy costs and energy debt, some of these are listed. If your supplier is not listed, you could try contacting your supplier to ask if they have support schemes.

Ofgem, the UK's independent energy regulator, also has lots of information on  getting help if you can't afford your energy bills.  and the Energy Saving Trust website provides  free energy tools and calculators to help you see how much you could save.

In addition, Electrical Safety First offers advice on saving money on energy bills while keeping your home electrically safe . This includes tips on using portable heaters, shopping for electrical goods online safely, things to look out for when shopping for second-hand goods, and advice on running appliances at cheaper times.

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).

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).

What is Universal Credit and housing benefit?

If you are a resident on a low income, are out of work or cannot work, then you can claim Universal Credit. This monthly payment is intended to help cover living costs, such as rent and bills. This is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions and you can find out more at:  Universal Credit or call 0800 328 5644 (Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm).

If you receive Universal Credit and your circumstances have recently changed, it's also worth updating these details through your online account as this may mean you can access more support.

If you are of state pension age, and/or live in supported sheltered or temporary accommodation, then you won't be eligible for Universal Credit but can instead apply for housing benefit.

An easy way to find out what benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit you are entitled to is by using the Government's benefits calculator .


I still can't meet my rent payments. Is there any extra help I can access?

If you already receive the housing payment through Universal Credit or housing benefit and are still unable to meet the cost of your rent, you might be eligible for a top up payment. You can find out more about this under 'discretionary housing payments' at: Benefit forms.
 

Is there help available towards council tax payments?

We're urging those who claim Universal Credit to check if they are also eligible for help with their council tax, by applying for our Council Tax Reduction scheme. Council Tax Reduction is a means tested benefit and does not take account of outgoings. 

You won't automatically receive this, so if you think you may be eligible, visit My Account.

Whatever your situation, please contact us if you're struggling to pay your council tax bill by emailing taxation@chichester.gov.uk as there are different ways in which we may be able to help you. You can find out more at Council tax discounts.
 

My income has changed - do I need to let you know?

If your income has changed and you receive Housing Benefit, a council tax discount, or any other benefit, please make sure that you tell us of any changes to your income.

 

What is Pension Credit?

Pension Credit is a tax-free payment for people of state pension age. This support can top up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £182.60 a week for single pensioners or £278.70 for couples.

If you or someone you know, are of state pension age, we'd encourage you to use the Government's Pension Credit calculator to find out how much you could be eligible for.

There are a few myths around pension credits, so it's important to mention that people can still access this support even if they:

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


What am I 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.

 

Can I access help to manage my debt?

If you're worried about debts or missed payments, we'd recommend you contact Money Helper, which is a free and independent debt advice service sponsored and supported by the Government.

Money Helper brings together some of the country's best known debt advice providers to offer confidential and trusted help straight away. You won't need to pay for the advice you receive and using the service won't affect your credit rating.

To find out more and to use the service, visit  the Money Helper website. . If you are worried about paying a council debt, please get in touch with us.

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]

What is the cost of living payment?

Households on means tested benefits will receive a payment of £650 from the Government this year. This will be paid automatically.

Individuals on disability benefits will have received a one-off £150 payment 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.



Is there support available to help with my household bills?

We have pulled together a range of infirmation around the support available to help people who are struggling to pay their bills, including energy, water, food, phone, and broadband bills. You can find all of this information on our Help with Household Bills web page.
 

I'm a carer — is there any extra support available to me?

You could get £69.70 a week Carers Allowance  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.

Are there any other organisations that can help me?

There are a range of organisations and support schemes, that can help you.

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).

We also have a designated page with advice on accessing food, essentials and help with household bills.

Supporting You leaflet

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