Financial help

Maximising income and help with benefits

People on a low income of working age, whether in work or not, could be entitled to Universal Credit?

As well as paying for daily living costs, Universal Credit can help pay for additional things like paying rent or the cost of raising children. If someone is receiving Universal  Credit but is still struggling, they may be missing some elements they are entitled to. On top of the standard allowance, a person might get additional allowances including child element, childcare costs element, limited capability for work-related activity component (LCWRA), carer element, and/or housing costs element.

If a member of the public wants to make a claim for Universal Credit how can I help?

There is a nationally-funded project which helps applicants apply for Universal Credit. Call 0800 144 8 444.

If a member of the public needs help understanding their potential benefit entitlements how can I help?

Comprehensive information on benefit entitlements, and how to claim them, can be found on the government’s website.

The benefits system can be complex and confusing – anyone who seems uncertain or distressed needs to access independent specialist advice.

To seek specialist local help please contact Coventry Independent Advice Services on 024 7652 1101 or Coventry Citizens Advice on 0800 144 88 48.

If a member of the public needs help to understand, manage or challenge decisions made about their benefits how can I help?

Local independent community-led advice providers – such as Coventry Citizens Advice and Coventry Independent Advice Service– are best placed to provide one-to-one (and in-person in some cases) advice to vulnerable service users.

Who can help me with welfare benefit appeals and sanctions?

If you have been told you are not entitled to welfare benefits; have made an appeal against that decision or your benefits have been stopped or reduced because your benefit has been sanctioned; then Central England Law Centre offers specialist legal advice and can provide advocacy and representation with appeals. Please visit the below website for further information about how Central England Law Centre can help.

Managing money and debt

If a member of the public needs help with budgeting how can I help?

Basic information on budgeting effectively is available from a national independent advice provider – Moneyhelper. Call 0800 011 3797.

Local independent advice providers such as Coventry Citizens Advice and Coventry Independent Advice Service also deliver money management support.

If a member of the public needs help with managing their debt(s) how can I help?

Providers of debt advice must be accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Providers of money or budgeting advice, as referenced above, do not need this accreditation.

Coventry Citizens Advice has a large dedicated Debt Advice Team providing one-to-one expert advice on debt issues. Coventry Independent Advice Service also delivers an accredited debt advice service in Coventry.

National Debtline (0808 808 4000) and Stepchange (0300 303 5300) are the two most well-known national providers of telephone debt advice.