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Support & Advice

​​With so many changes to benefits, it's understandable if you're a bit confused. But our dedicated Support Team is here to help.

Our dedicated Team who can offer you help, advice and support to help you cope with the changes to Welfare benefits. Our specialist UC / Benefit advisors are available every step of the way. From making your claim and managing your money to helping you find jobs or training opportunities.   If you need help, they're the people to talk to. 

Our UC experts are here to help


1
. Making a claim
It’s all done online but we can help you sort it in a few simple clicks

2. Managing your money
You’ll be surprised at how we can maximise your monthly benefits and help prioritise your bills

3. Finding a job
We can help you meet your Claimant Commitment and get back into work

Get in touch, simply email ucsupport@gght.org.uk or call 01925 452452.

  
Accordion Description
  
If you are affected by the changes to benefits, you may need to make up the shortfall if any of your entitlements have been reduced. There are different ways you can make the most of the money you have and also increase the income coming into your household and mange your money.
  
​With changes to benefits, such as Universal Credit, you may find that money becomes tighter. We have helpful tips, including:
  • Money Saving Tips
  • Reducing Your Fuel Bills
  • Budgeting & Managing Your Money
  • Setting up a Direct Debit
  • Opening a Bank Account

Contact our Money Advice Team if you need more help.
  
​These are interest free loans from the DWP to help you pay for essentials such as furniture, clothing, removal expenses, expenses to help you start or prepare for work. If you have already bought the item on hire purchase or credit you can ask for a budgeting loan to repay this.

You can apply for a budgeting loan if you are currently getting and have been receiving Income Support or Income Based JSA or Income Related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit for at least 26 weeks.  You will normally have to repay the loan from future benefits over a period of 104 weeks.

To apply, get form SF500 from your local Jobcentre Plus or download it from gov.uk. It is important to explain your circumstances and why you need it.

You can apply for a budgeting advance if you are currently getting Universal Credit and have been receiving Universal Credit for 6 months – although time claiming Income Support or Income Based JSA or Income Related Employment and Support Allowance will count towards the 6 months*.  You also have to have earned in total less than £2600 (single claimants) or £3600 (couples) in this 6 month period, and be able to show you can afford to repay it. You normally have to repay the loan, out of your Universal Credit, over 12 months.  

*It can be less than this if the loan is needed for a necessary item for employment.

Contact your work coach at the Jobcentre to apply. 
  
​If you're affected by Bedroom Tax, you may need to move to a smaller property. There are different options to finding a new home such as Mutual Exchange (Swapping Your Home) or through CHOOSEaHOME, if you need more information contact our CHOOSEaHOME Team for more information.

You may wish to consider taking in a Lodger or looking at a Sharing Scheme, find out more about Sharing Schemes here.
  
​Finding a job can help you increase the income coming into your home. But it can also help your personal development; you can learn new skills, meet new people and build on your career.  Our specialist employment services can offer you help and support to find work.  Click here to discover how our employment team can help you.
  
​If you're applying for Universal Credit, you will need to claim and manage your payments online. There are lots of community IT suites and computer access with free WiFi in Warrington as well as many FREE courses to help you get on line.  Click here to find out more about computers and IT courses in Warrington.
  
​Food banks have been established to provide crisis support for families in the most need. Families visit their local food bank and are given an emergency food parcel usually to last a few days. At some food banks volunteers are on hand to talk to families over a cup of tea or free hot meal and are able to signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem.  Find out about Warrington Foodbank here and get more information on opening times and referrals etc.
  
​​Gas and electricity prices keep rising and now present a large chunk of the household budget but there are ways to minimise this expense.  Check to see if:
  

​​There are several ways to reduce water bills and there are several different schemes available to help people with the cost of their water bills and any arrears. Whether you can reduce your water bill will depend on whether you have a water meter or pay water rate, and may depend on your income.


If you pay your water by way of a water meter you should:
  • Check to see if you qualify for the WaterSure scheme or contact your water supplier.
  • Consider where your surface water goes and claim a rebate if appropriate.
  • If you are a low water user, check to see if your supplier has any special tariffs that you could qualify for or look into installing a water meter.
  • Ensure you are using all the water savings products that are available for free.

The WaterSure scheme
If you or someone in your household receives certain benefits or tax credits and you live in a property with a water meter, there are government regulations to protect you.
To qualify for WaterSure you must have either:
  •  At least three or more children up to 19 years old in full time education who live with you, and for whom you claim Child Benefit, or
  • Someone in your household who has a medical condition which means they use a lot of water.
If this applies to you, you do not have to pay more than the average bill for domestic customers on a water meter and could save money. Check on this website ​for the average in your area.  

If you pay water rates you should:
  • Check to see if it would be cheaper for you to have a water meter fitted.
  • Consider where your surface water goes and claim a rebate if appropriate.
  • If you are in arrears with you water bill you should:
  • See if your supplier has a restart scheme or similar.

Not connected for surface water drainage?
If you think that the rainwater from your property does not drain to the public sewer, then you may be entitled to a surface water drainage allowance.​  Find our more on the United Utilities leaflet.​
  

As part of the welfare reforms, the government has abolished Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants from April 2013 and asked local authorities to set up replacement schemes.  The Local Support Scheme is here to help you after an emergency or disaster, or when there is an immediate threat to your health or safety. It also provides help for people who need support to live independently in their communities.  The Local Support Scheme does not provide any cash, but can help by providing you with:

  • food parcels
  • essential appliances for your home, for example, a washing machine
  • essential cooking tools
  • essential furniture for your home, for example, beds and bedding
  • heating appliances for your home
  •  clothing for expectant mothers and babies
  • utility cards to help you pay for utility bills at the Post Office.​

Find out more on the WBC website​ or on the Local Support Scheme leaflet.​
  

​If you are looking for work, or you are expected to do some work related activity or work preparation, you may be able to get some help from the Flexible Support Fund towards the extra costs connected with these activities. This could be things like travel costs or child care costs to enable you to attend a job interview or training that will improve your chances of getting work, or suitable clothing to attend job interviews. 

Your work coach at the Jobcentre has access to this fund, so let him/her know if you need extra financial support with this type of cost.