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Get help and advice

You can get free information, advice and guidance on welfare benefits, debt, employment, and housing matters.

There is also advice and information available about where to get support for food (such as foodbanks), utility bills, if you have a shortfall in your rent, free school meals, Healthy Start vouchers and general help around money.

Have a look at what is available, and who to contact, in your area:

Where to get help in the Coalfields area

Where to get help in the East area

Where to get help in the North area

Where to get help in Washington

Where to get help in the West area

Additional Government Support with Cost of Living Pressures

The government had announced for help with energy bills via the Council Tax Energy Rebate  which meant households  in council Tax Bands A-D would receive a minimum £150 payment or £170 where the household received Council Tax Support  , and with a discretionary scheme to cover other circumstances . If you have not already received your payment you can apply here.

As well as the above the government confirmed on 26 May that it will be providing additional support to households to help them meet extra costs. Many households will qualify for more than one type of support and these support payments should be made automatically if you qualify  - so you do not need to apply for these

  • Energy Bills Support Scheme doubled to a one-off £400 instead of £200 and this will not now have to be repaid - this support starts from October 2022:
  • £650 one-off Cost of Living Payment for those on DWP means tested benefits/ Tax Credits ( see list below) : 8 million households are expected to benefit from this support
    • Universal Credit
    • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Working Tax Credit / Child Tax Credit
    • Pension Credit

These payments will start to be made from 14 July and will be made in two stages with the second payment due in the autumn

  • One-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment to be paid in addition to the normal Winter fuel Payment and this will benefit another 8 million Households
  • £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment to be paid to those that receive Disability Living Allowance , Personal Independence payment , Attendance Allowance and equivalent War Disablement and Armed forces Independence Payments

Here contains more details and the Government have also included this information on a new webpage here. This will provide updates on when payments will be made and also includes sections on

  • Supporting your income
  • Help with bills
  • Help with childcare costs
  • Housing support
  • Help with transport costs
  • Help finding work

Household Support Fund 2 ( June - September 2022 )

A second phase of Housing Support Fund funding (HSF2) was announced in the Chancellor's Spring Statement with a third phase also being confirmed by the Chancellor on 26th May with this to start from October . The additional help detailed below is being administered by the council using HSF 2 funding and help is also being provided to foodbanks and other crisis food support providers to help them manage increased demand

Support via local Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) organisations

The Council is working with VCS organisations / networks in each local area to provide support to vulnerable households that are struggling financially and facing increased cost of living pressures.  All support is being provided as a contribution towards these additional costs and will be based on households providing the required information . All awards are discretionary and based on available / remaining Household Support Fund2 funding. Support available in your own area is listed below

Local VCS Organisations supporting the delivery of Household Support Fund 2 (HSF2) (PDF) [440KB]

Normally only one HSF2 award can be made to a household between June and September. VCS organisations that are making HSF2 awards and the Council will have access to a shared record of all households that have received awards to prevent duplication. Access to this shared record is secured and only available to authorised staff, under rules contained in an information sharing protocol that ensures your household information is used in accordance with data protection law.

Support for Vulnerable Pensioners

The Council intends to make automatic awards to Pensioners that receive council commissioned Adult Social Care services as well as providing help to pensioners that receive both Pension Credit and Council Tax Support.  Pensioners in these situations do not need to contact the Council as the Council will be contacting them between June and September - and where possible will make automatic awards but it may need to confirm some details with households before it can do this . Other Pensioners can still apply for support via the VCS  (see above).

Targeted Support for FSM Families

A one-off voucher for each qualifying child (£60) will be distributed via schools in July in advance of the school holidays and ahead of the planned HAF programme which will offer activities with food across the summer months. This is in addition to the general support that families can access through the VCS and LWP schemes.

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