Lets Talk Money
With Universal Credit, it will be your responsibility to pay your own rent and manage your money.
If you need help understanding bills, benefits or your bank account or you want advice and support on how to save money, reduce spending and budget effectively, please contact your rent officer who will arrange a fast track appointment for you to attend the Citizens Advice Surgery at the Housing Office or you can contact Citizens Advice Direct at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/staffordshire-south-west/
Help with Budgeting
Do you need help with budgeting or want to set up a personal budgeting plan? We have a free online budgeting calculator which can help you manage your money. Click here to access the online budgeting calculator.
There is also free and impartial budgeting online money information and advice that you can access by clicking here.
You can Create your own personal budget plan. Our user friendly budget planner is free to use and should only take minutes to complete if you have all your financial information to hand. Access the budget planner below..
Manging your Money
If you need help understanding bills, benefits or your bank account or you want advice and support on how to save money, reduce spending and budget effectively, please contact your rent officer who will arrange a fast track appointment for you to attend the Citizens Advice Surgery at the Housing Office or you can contact Citizens Advice Direct at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/staffordshire-south-west/ or telephone 03444 111444
Income & Expenditure Worksheet
Where can you go for help?
The Housing Department is working in partnership with the Local Citizens Advice to provide advice on maximising income and managing debt.
If you are having financial problems and you are having difficulty in paying your rent, please contact your Income Management Officer and they will be able to make a fast track appointment for you at with Citizens Advice .
To book an appointment with Citizen Advice please contact the Income Management Team by:
Phone: 01543 462621
or directly with Citizens advice to talk or arrange an appointment
- By phone: 0808 278 7874
- Self refer on their website at www.citizensadvicessw.org.uk
- email and web chat www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Help with Water Debt
We know that sometimes finding the money to pay your water bill can be difficult so it is very important if you are struggling that you contact South Staffs Water (www.south-staffs-water.co.uk) immediately on 0800 09 30 610. If you are struggling to meet your payments they have a range of options available to help support you
The Assure tariff can help tenants who are on low incomes and struggling to afford their water charges. Customers with a household income of less than £16,105 (excluding income from Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance), may qualify for a discount of up to 60% on their water charge. This tariff applies to both metered and unmetered properties.
If you do not qualify for Assure, South Staffs Water will see if you qualify for Watersure.
Watersure is a tariff which helps some people with their bills, you have to be on a certain benefit and need to use a lot of water either for medical reasons or because your household has a certain number of school age children. You do have to be on a water meter to qualify for Watersure. Customers on Watersure pay for the water they use up to a fixed maximum which won't be higher than the average household water bill.
Charitable Trust- you can apply to the South Staffordshire Water Charitable Trust if meeting the cost of your water bill is causing you hardship. The Trust is a registered charity that operates independently of South Staffs Water and aims to assist those customers who are in need or who are suffering hardship or other distress. The Trust tales applications from people experiencing hardship or difficulties who are in arrears with their water and sewerage bills. For more information on Charitable Trust please ring 0800 09 30 610 or visit http://www.sswct.org/
Water Direct- In some circumstances South Staffs Water can arrange for water bills to be paid out of benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions. This scheme is known as Water Direct. The scheme is designed to help tenants who have arrears on their water charges and are in receipt of qualifying benefits.
Find out more by visiting https://www.south-staffs-water.co.uk/household/extra-help/help-with-paying here you can click on the links to the tariffs and download the form or call 0800 09 30 610 for a form to be sent out.
Click on the document Application for Assure Tariff below, Print and complete the form, then scan or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everything you need to know to apply for Universal Credit
Before you apply for Universal Credit, you’ll need to gather some information together. This will help make sure you only have to do the application once, and help you to get Universal Credit as quickly as possible if you’re eligible.
Don’t start your application until you have all of the following details for you and your partner with you:
- your postcode
- your National Insurance number - you can find this on a payslip or letter from HMRC -call the helpline on 0300 200 3500 (text phone 0300 200 3519) if you can’t find it
- details of your bank, building society or credit union account. If you don’t have a bank account, you’ll need to open one or use simple payment (https://www.gov.uk/simple-payment, the payment can be made a post office account
- the type of accommodation you live in and who is living with you, e.g. a 1 bedroom flat etc., son and daughter over 18 years old- make sure you check this before you apply
- how much rent you pay - this can be found on your tenant agreement, rent statement or your annual rent letter; ask us ( Cannock Chase Housing Services) for a copy if you don’t have one
- our address – Cannock Chase Council, Civic Centre, PO Box 28, Beecroft Road, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 1BG- this can be found on letters we have sent you.
- our phone number- 01543 462621
- details of any savings you have and any other ‘capital’ investments, e.g. shares or property that you don’t live in
- details of any income that’s not from work, e.g. from a pension or insurance plan
- details of how much you earn from work, e.g. recent payslips how much you pay for childcare (if you want to claim for childcare costs)
- details of any other benefits you’re getting, i.e. what benefit and how much you get
- child benefit reference numbers for any children you have if you get child benefit - this can be found on letters to you about child benefit, it will start with 'CHB' and is made up of 8 numbers and 2 letters, e.g. CHB12345678 AB - phone the Child Benefit Office on 0300 200 3100 (text phone 0300 200 3103) if you need help
You’ll need evidence for all these details for when you go to your Job Centre interview, so you’ll need to gather all the documents together, e.g. tenant agreement, rent statement, payslips, bank statements etc.
If you need any help please contact the Income Management Team on 01543 464288.
Broadband deals for low-income families — how to get a social tariff on universal credit
Having strong, reliable broadband connection is as essential as every other household utility. It’s crucial for children as a learning tool at home, it's extremely useful for job hunting, checking on your benefit claims or access online portals to view your rent account, helpful for getting shopping done, communicating with the Council, and keeping in touch with loved ones.
Some broadband providers offer bespoke deals, known as 'social tariffs'. This allows tenants on low income to afford a broadband connection and to get the same access and opportunities online as others. With the cost-of-living crisis and broadband price hikes driving up everyone's bills, it's never been more important to see if you can reduce your monthly outgoings.
What is social tariff broadband deals?
Social tariffs are a way to get broadband for Tenants receiving Universal Credit and other types of benefits. The broadband deals are much cheaper than the standard monthly rate for the service and are reserved for these customers to help them afford the usual monthly price of a broadband connection. The broadband packages still usually the same speed, quality and like other home broadband deals. For more information, Ofcom publishes what options are available and https://www.uswitch.com/broadband/guides/broadband-deals-for-low-income-families/
Can you get free broadband?
While the UK does not offer free broadband, Universal Credit receivers can qualify for heavily discounted broadband deals from a number of broadband providers.
In fact, TalkTalk recently announced a collaboration with Jobcentre Plus to offer six months of free broadband to those that are eligible. If you're not eligible but still on Universal Credit, your best bet would be to choose a specific low-income broadband deal offered by a UK home broadband provider.
So even though there is no free internet for Universal Credit customers, there are many ways you can make your broadband bill a lot easier to manage.
Are there other cheap broadband deals available?
Some of the social tariff contracts may have data limits and/or may not include phone service. Depending on your household requirements, it may be better to look for a standard unlimited cheap broadband contract. Broadband comparison services such Broadband Genie, https://www.uswitch.com/ and Broadband.co.uk offer free impartial advice to help you find a contract to suit your needs. There are many low-cost broadband deals to choose from. They aren’t as cheap as social Tariff, but they come with some of the lowest monthly prices you could find on the broadband market.
Here are some examples:
TalkTalk- FREE average 38Mb speed broadband only (no line) for six months
Who can get it? Technically not a social tariff, it's for jobseekers on universal credit who don't have an internet connection. Eligibility is determined by Jobcentre staff.
BT Home Essentials broadband & line-£15/month (£9.99 upfront) for average 36Mb speed- £20/month (£9.99 upfront) for average 67Mb speed
Last Updated: 27/10/2022