Can I get any financial support from the government?
Check you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to
Every year people in the UK miss out on billions of pounds worth of benefits and tax credits. You might be missing out on benefits payments and also a range of discounts and support. Check what you're entitled to by using our free benefits calculator.
The government no longer offers crisis loans. They now encourage people to apply for a budgeting loan instead. You may be eligible for a budgeting loan if you have an unexpected expense and have been on one of the following benefits for at least 26 weeks:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credits
You can use budgeting loans to help pay for things like:
- Moving costs
- Maternity expenses
- Travel costs
The amount you can apply for depends on your situation. Repayments to a budgeting loan are deducted from your benefits.
You can apply for a hardship payment if you or your family don't have enough money for essential bills due to a benefits sanction.
Hardship payments apply to the following benefits:
- Universal Credit (UC)
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Read our guide about hardship payments and how to apply.
Short-term benefit advances
You may be able to apply for a short-term benefit advance. This is when the benefit is paid early. The advance is then repaid by deductions from future payments, usually over 12 weeks.
You can get a short-term benefit advance if:
- You need money before your first benefits payment is made
- You need money urgently before your benefits are increased
- Your benefit will not be paid on its due date, for example because of technical problems
Most benefits can be applied for through your local Jobcentre Plus.
Read our guide to claiming benefits.
Can I stop my creditors chasing me for money?
Ask for a payment holiday
Taking a payment holiday can be a good way to ease your short-term money worries if you have a mortgage, credit card, loan or hire purchase agreement.
Missed payments during a payment holiday are usually treated as arrears, and interest and charges may continue to be added to your debt.
You can use our template letters to contact your creditors. If you need any help dealing with the people you owe money to, get in touch with us for free help with your debts.
Breathing Space to deal with your money worries
You may be able to apply for Breathing Space, so your creditors stop calling or writing to you while you deal with your debts. If you’re eligible, you could get up to 60 days' break from interest, fees and court action.
Also known as the Debt Respite Scheme, Breathing Space is only available in England and Wales. In Scotland, the moratorium is a similar scheme, available for up to six months.
Read our guide to Breathing Space and find out if you can apply.
Some bills are classed as priorities because the impact of not paying them are greater. You should pay bills and arrears like your council tax, rates, rent or mortgage first.
Learn more about which debts to pay first
I can’t pay my utility bills, what can I do?
If you’re struggling with payments, contact your supplier to let them know. They’ll discuss your options to help you repay the arrears.
Energy arrears are priority debts. We can work with you on a plan to make the repayments and avoid being disconnected.
Energy companies also have lower tariffs available. These are usually called ‘social tariffs’. They also offer services like hardship funds and priority services registers for people who need further help.
If you have a pre-payment meter, some foodbanks can also help by giving you a small top-up if you’re out of credit.
We’ve put together a guide to dealing with energy bills, covering:
- What to do if you owe the supplier money
- Making sure you’re treated fairly
The Energy Saving Trust has a lot of useful information on saving money on your energy bills and where you can apply for financial support.
Water suppliers have further support available for customers who are struggling with money. These are often available for people who are on low incomes and/or benefits, but it depends on their situation.
Help varies between suppliers - find out more about support from water companies.
I can’t pay my mortgage, can I get help?
If you’re struggling to make your mortgage repayments, there is help. You should speak to your mortgage provider quickly.
Your mortgage provider will help you set up a plan to repay what you owe, or may offer other options, including:
- Taking a payment holiday
- Switching to an interest only mortgage
- Extending the length of your mortgage
- Help with an assisted voluntary sale scheme
You might be able to get help form the government if you are on a benefit.
Find out more about dealing with mortgage arrears