Help with money and debt

This page provides advice on the range of financial support you may be entitled to which could make a real difference to you and your family, as well as advice on money management and dealing with debt.

Help in a crisis

  • Warwickshire Local Welfare Scheme – a Warwickshire County Council scheme that aims to support Warwickshire residents who are in immediate need of food, heating and access to preventative services such as debt management.
  • Budgeting loans – are tax free loans from Jobcentre Plus for people on certain benefits. No interest is charged but you do have to pay the loan back. Budgeting Loans can help pay for essential things like rent, furniture, clothes or hire purchase debts.
  • New Central Credit Union Ltd loans – low cost loans for New Central Credit Union members.

Loan sharks

There are an estimated 310,000 households across the UK in debt to a loan shark. Loans sharks typically befriend their borrowers before forcing them to pay back above and beyond what they have borrowed and can afford. Exorbitant extra amounts and interest payments are added at random, and items including passports, bank cards and driving licences are taken as security on the loans. As the debts cannot legally be enforced, in many cases the loan sharks will resort to threats, violence and other bully tactics. Do not suffer in silence if you are in debt to a loan shark – report it. To report a loan shark: Call the 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222 Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003 E-mail Stop Loan Sharks: Private message us on

Homelessness and housing worries

Help for veterans and the Armed Forces community

  • All the information you need about housing, education, benefits and healthcare.
  • Veterans Contact Point – provides  a confidential and free service for veterans and their families living and working in Coventry and Warwickshire. They will work with you to help you obtain the right support from those who can best help you —when you need it and for as long as you need it. Veterans Contact Point offer a specialist service to veterans who have come into contact with the Police, Probation or Prison Services or who have a criminal record.
  • Royal British Legion – If you are having financial difficulties, feeling overwhelmed by debt or confused about the benefit system, the Royal British Legion Benefits and Money Advice team can help.

Money Management and dealing with debt

Managing your money can be a difficult enough job at the best of times. The services listed below will give you support and advice on dealing with day to day financial issues such as:

  • Budgeting and managing finances
  • Dealing with debt
  • Mortgages and loans
  • Savings and investments
  • Pensions

Benefits you may be entitled to

There are a number of benefits, grants and allowances that you and your family may be entitled to if you are:

  • bringing up or expecting children
  • in work, out of work or looking for work
  • a lone parent
  • an older person on a low income
  • a sick or disabled or you have children who are sick or disabled

You can download our ‘Financial help fact sheets’ from the Downloads and documents section of the Family Information Service page, which will also tell you what benefits and grants you may be entitled to.

Benefits advice

Universal Credit

Universal Credit will be introduced from October 2013. It provides a single monthly payment if you are on a low income or out of work. It includes support for the costs of housing, children and childcare, as well as support for disabled people and carers. Between April 2013 and the end of 2017, Universal Credit will replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Useful leaflets

Financial help for people affected by disability

If you or a member of your family has a disability, there are a number of benefits and other forms of financial help which you may be able to apply for. This section also includes information on:

  • whether you or members of your family are eligible for specific financial help.
  • how to claim and when to claim benefits and grants.
  • how different benefits are paid.

Financial help if you are bringing up children

Bringing up children can be costly and expensive. The web pages listed below will provide information on benefits, grants and allowances available to working and non-working parents including Tax credits as well as information to help you with the planning, budgeting, managing and balancing of your family finances. Our Financial Support for Parents and Carers factsheet will also give you an at a glance guide of what you may be entitled to.

  • – benefits for families – including information about benefits, grants and allowances that you may be entitled to.
  • – tax credits – are payments from the government. If you’re responsible for at least one child or young person who normally lives with you, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you work, but earn low wages, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit.
  • HRMC – Tax Credits Calculator. – This online tool helps you to work out roughly how much tax credit you are entitled to.
  • Child Maintenance Options – gives advice and support to help parents make the best choices about child maintenance options to suit their individual circumstances.
  • The Child Support Agency – helps tackle child poverty by making sure that parents who live apart from their children contribute financially to their upbringing by paying Child Maintenance.
  • Financial Services Authority – Parents guide to money – aims to help parents and their families learn more about money and managing their finances (pdf, 581Kb)
  • The Money Advice Service – Divorce and Separation – If you are going through divorce or separation, the Financial Services Authority Money Made Clear team can help you with the financial issues you face, providing advice to help you stay on top of your financial situation.
  • Healthy Start – financial support towards food and vitamin supplements for pregnant woman or parents (with a child under four) on certain means-tested benefits.
  • Free School Meals – for school children where a parent or carers is in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

Help with childcare costs

Childcare can be expensive. There are, however, a number of financial support schemes which could help you with the costs of childcare including – Tax credits, childcare voucher schemes and nursery education funding. Find out more about help with childcare costs.

Help with household bills

If you are struggling to pay your household bills, there are a number of schemes available which may be able to offer financial help with paying:

  • Council Tax bills
  • Gas and electricity bills
  • Water bills

The government’s – Cold Weather Payments scheme and the – Warm Front Scheme can also help with paying for heating costs and insulation improvements to your home.

  • Affordable Warmth Grants – If you’re on a low income, or you receive certain benefits, you may be entitled to free home improvements that will reduce your heating bills.
  • – Council Tax Benefit – Whether you are working or not, if you are on a low income and need help to pay your Council Tax bill, you may be able to get Council Tax Benefit.
  • – Housing Benefit – You could get Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent if you’re on a low income. Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances. You can apply for Housing Benefit whether you’re unemployed or working.
  • Severn Trent Water – If you are having trouble paying your water bill because of high water usage or because you are on a low income, this page has useful information on options to help you pay.
  • The British Gas Energy Trust – aims to help those most in need by providing grants to help families pay for their energy charges and other household bills and costs.
  • npower – Spreading Warmth – The npower Spreading Warmth programme offers help to those most in need such as the elderly, low income families, disabled and chronically sick by helping people to manage their bills, keep warm and reduce their energy costs.
  • Act on Energy provides advice on how to save money on fuel bills.
  • Severn Trent Water Sure Scheme  can help you if your income is low and you use a lot of water, which makes managing your account and payments difficult.

Credit Unions in Warwickshire

Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members. If you and your family need financial help, they can offer you savings and great value loans. There are a number of credit unions helping people throughout Warwickshire. If you would like to find out more about credit unions in your local area, the contact details are listed below. Bedworth & Bulkington Credit Union, 7 Leicester Street, Bedworth CV12 8GG Tel: 024 7631 1999

New Central Credit Union (NCCU), 33 City Arcade, Coventry CV1 3HX Tel: 02476 633456

Nuneaton Credit Union, Hatters Space, Upper Abbey Street, Nuneaton CV11 5BT Tel: 024 7664 2480

Rugby Credit Union, CVS House, North Street, Rugby CV21 2AG Tel: 01788 577900

Financial advice for the self employed

  • CAB provides financial information for self employed people.
  • Starting a business. We can provide information sheets on all aspects of starting & running a business. Covering business types and sectors, legal, tax and other essentials.

General advice (inc financial) for victims of domestic abuse

  • Talk2Someone provides general information, including financial, for victims of domestic violence.
  • Refuge provides general information, including financial, for victims of domestic violence.

Further help

For more information about the financial help that may be available to help you and your family, contact the Family Information Service on 0845 090 8044 or 01926 742274.

Help with money and debt was last updated on November 29, 2016.