If you are struggling to afford food, there are several local foodbanks, community meals and pantries that can help.
DWP Short Term Advance or Universal Credit advance
- Advance payments for new benefit claimants in hardship who are either:
- awaiting their first payment of benefit
- their payment has been delayed
- there has been a change of circumstances that will increase their entitlement
- Ring to request an advance, or apply using your online account if you have applied for Universal Credit
- Info taken in telephone interview will be passed to a decision maker, who will ring the claimant within 24 hours and confirm the decision
For a short-term benefit advance: visit the short-term benefit page on Gov.UK or call 0345 608 8545.
For a Universal Credit advance: visit the Universal Credit advance page on Gov.UK or call 0800 328 5644
DWP Hardship Payments or Universal Credit Hardship Payments
- Payments for claimants who have been sanctioned, are in financial hardship (unable to afford food, heating, rent or other basic needs) and cannot borrow from friends or family
- Ring to request. Applicants will need to explain what they need, how the money will be used, and how long it will last
- Info will be passed to a decision-maker, who will ring back within 24 hours
- Universal Credit hardship payments are a loan and must be repaid
For a DWP Hardship Payment call 0345 608 8545.
For a Universal Credit Hardship Payment call 0800 328 5644.
- Reduced bills for people who are struggling to afford the cost
- Visit Portsmouth Water online or ring Portsmouth Water to find out about Helping Hand
- Help is also available if you are behind on your bill
To discuss help with Portsmouth Water bills, call 023 9249 9666.
To discuss help with Southern Water bills, call 0800 027 0363.
Gas and electricity costs
- If you have a pre-payment meter and have no money to top up, contact your supplier to request emergency credit.
- If you have gas or electricity debts you are repaying, ask your supplier to reduce or temporarily stop the deductions.
- For help with any problems with gas or electricity, including ways to reduce your energy bills, visit the council’s Switched On Portsmouth website or call the Freephone helpline on 0800 260 5907.
Mobile phones, broadband
Money Saving Expert has excellent resources to help you find a cheaper deal on mobile phones, broadband and other essential costs.
There are reduced prices for broadband, called ‘social tariffs’, for people who are eligible for certain benefits. Check if you are eligible and if you could save money by switching, or by asking your current provider to put you on their social tariff.
If you are on a means-tested benefit such as Universal Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit, contact your mobile phone provider to find out if they offer a social tariff, or any cheaper deals for people on low incomes.
Portsmouth Leisure Card
- If you receive a means-tested benefit, you may be eligible for the Portsmouth Leisure Card, which entitles residents to discounts at Portsmouth City Council facilities as well as some other services.