Who can help me this month?
Applying for a short-term benefits advance
If you’ve applied for benefits but need money before your first payment you can apply for a short-term benefits advance.
Find out how to apply for a short-term benefits advance on the Government website. Or get in touch with Jobcentre Plus for advice.
Help when you can’t pay gas, electricity or water
If you’re struggling with payments for a gas, electric or water bill, contact your supplier to let them know. They’ll discuss your options to help you repay the arrears. Find out more about dealing with utility bills.
In some situations, they’ll have further support available for customers who are struggling with money. Help varies between suppliers, and you can find a useful summary of the different energy schemes available around the country (PDF) here.
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.
It’s important to contact your suppliers if you’re struggling, as gas, electricity and water bills are priority payments. This is because of the actions your suppliers can take to get you to repay arrears. If you miss payments to gas and electricity bills, your providers could cut your supply off.
If you miss payments to water, gas, and electricity bills your suppliers can start court action to get you to repay them, or in some cases deduct money directly from your benefits.
Social fund budgeting loans
If you’ve been on certain benefits for at least 26 weeks and have an unexpected expense you need to cover you may be eligible for a budgeting loan to cover the costs. The amount you can apply for depends on your situation but the smallest amount you can get is £100. Repayments to a budgeting loan are deducted from your benefits.
You can use budgeting loans to help pay for things like:
- Moving costs
- Maternity expenses
- Travel costs
What to do if you can’t pay your rent
If you’re unable to pay your rent, it’s important to get in touch with your landlord to let them know the situation. You may be able to come to a payment arrangement that’ll help you to pay off your arrears.
In this situation you’ll need to find out what kind of tenancy you have, so you can find out what your rights are. If you’re unsure contact Shelter for help. They also offer specialist housing advice if you’re facing eviction.
You may also be eligible for housing benefit. You can check this by using our online benefits calculator. It’ll let you know if you’re entitled to any other benefits too.