Online forms will be unavailable
We are carrying out essential maintenance work which means online forms will be unavailable from 8pm tonight (6 December) until 8am tomorrow morning (7 December).
Do you have money worries or want to make the most of your money but aren’t sure where to go for advice and support? We can help. There is plenty of free, confidential and local advice available to help you:
Advice Portsmouth, supported by Portsmouth City Council, can help you if you are not sure what to do. It is for anyone who lives or works in Portsmouth. It offers free, confidential and local advice on bills, benefits, debt, housing and employment issues. Call 023 9279 4340, text 07789 550593 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Citizens Advice Portsmouth have a team of specialist money advisers on hand to advise and support you with all of your money and debt queries. To speak with a specialist money adviser call 023 9400 6600 or email email@example.com
If you’re a city council tenant, you can get advice on money and benefits from your housing officer, who has access to specialist money advice.
If you are struggling to afford food, there are several local foodbanks and community food projects that can help.
If worrying about money is affecting your mental wellbeing, there are local services that can give you help and support. The mental health charity Mind also has helpful tips and information about how to manage anxiety around bills, organise your finances and understand your money and mood patterns.
A change in your household or your work situation are just two reasons why you may be missing out on benefits support you’re entitled to. Universal Credit and other payments, such as Council Tax Support, are designed to help you when you need them most.
Don’t be put off if you’re unsure how to apply or are confused about the changes to Universal Credit. Help is on hand to check what you could be entitled to and make sure you know how to apply. If you want to find out more:
If you are a city council tenant, you can get advice on claiming benefits from your housing officer
Here are some extra help you might not know you can apply for:
Some deductions from Universal Credit can be reduced if they are causing hardship. Find out what to do about deductions for debt. You can ring the DWP debt management team on 0800 916 0647.
Make sure your benefits aren’t sanctioned. Understand your commitment and make sure your work coach understands your circumstances. See advice on sanctions.
Check your payslip to make sure you are receiving at least the minimum wage for your age. Check your tax code and any deductions being taken from your pay are correct. Find out more about deductions. If you don’t have a trade union but need advice on your rights at work, you can contact the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100.
New skills can lead to better jobs at every stage of life. Discover hundreds of opportunities to learn new skills from essential numeracy to advanced technical qualifications. Many of the courses are free.
Portsmouth’s community learning service provides adult education locally.
If you’re struggling with unmanageable debt, you’re not alone. You might feel like you don’t want to talk about it, but getting help to manage your debts can make you feel a lot better, and let you take back control of your finances. So the sooner you seek support, the better.
You don’t need to pay for debt advice. Don’t borrow more money if you’re struggling to pay your debts; instead, get free advice and get back on track.
A debt adviser will:
Tips for getting on top of debt:
Make sure your plan to clear your debts is realistic and one that you can stick to. Money helper has lots of information and tips to help you regain control of your debts.
If you borrowed money that you could not afford to pay back, you may be entitled to have those debts written off, or receive compensation for the repayments you made. Debt Camel has a useful page on refunds for unaffordable loans, or you can speak to a debt adviser for help with this.
You can check your credit report for free.
Make sure you’re not paying more than you need to on bills and everyday costs, like gas, electricity and everyday essentials
Travel and transport
Here are some ideas for cutting down on transport costs:
Private sector tenants and homeowners
If your landlord is not doing enough to maintain your home, or if you own your own home but cannot afford to bring it up to a decent standard – contact the Private Sector Housing Team for help and advice.
Electric heaters can be loaned for short term emergencies, these are expensive for households to run so should only be used in an emergency. Phone 023 9268 8369 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help for council tenants
If you’re struggling to keep your home warm, or to meet the cost of your energy bills, contact your local housing office. They can check whether any improvements are needed in your home, and give you advice about your bills.
Housing association tenants
Contact your housing association customer service team and ask about help to make your home more energy efficient.
Priority Services Register
Let your energy company know, and ask to be added to their free Priority Services Register.
If you are a homeowner and:
You should also be eligible for a free annual gas safety check. Contact your gas supplier to request one.
Warm Home Discount
This is a one-off payment of £150 towards your electricity bill or meter for people receiving Pension Credit, and for some working age households on low incomes. The scheme for working age households has changed this year and you no longer need to apply, but you may need to contact your electricity supplier if you think you qualify but are not contacted about this during the autumn or winter. Ofgem’s webpage has more information on the Warm Home Discount.
Budgeting can make a big difference – see the tips here.
Do you know how much all of your outgoings come to each week, and how much you have left to spend?
Write down or use the Money Helper online budget planner or the MSE planner to record every penny you spend in a month, including all your bills, like rent or mortgage, council tax, gas and electric, as well as all your shopping for food, toiletries clothes etc.
Then, write down all the money you have coming in, including wages, benefits, pensions etc. When you compare the two, do you have enough money coming in to match what is going out? If not, don’t panic – here’s what you might be able to do:
Set a savings goal so you have a safety net for emergencies.
Money problems? Struggling to afford household essentials, like furniture or food? Use the help for people in financial hardship directory to look for local and national services that could help.