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Money and Benefits

In this area we have listed resources for you to get help and information about benefits, and about managing your money and finances.

If you are experiencing problems with debt we have also compiled some advice and guidance about how to get debt free, to see this information click here.

Who can help you:

Benefits

The social security system is very complicated so it is impossible to produce easy guidance about who is eligible to receive payments. It is, though, easy to say who should check if they are eligible or not. Benefit entitlement changes, so it is worth doing a benefit check annually to see if your entitlement has changed.

You may be entitled to benefits if you:

  • are on a low income
  • are out of work
  • have children
  • are pregnant
  • are sick or disabled
  • have been bereaved
  • are a carer

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There are two sorts of benefits:

1) Means–tested benefits. These are paid even if you have not paid enough national insurance contributions, you will not get them if your income and/or savings are above a certain amount

2) Non means-tested benefits. You have a right to these benefits if you paid enough national insurance contributions. It does not matter what other money you have.

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Who Administers Benefits?

Different organisations administer different benefits. Most benefits are paid by a Government department, for example:

  • Pension Service, the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue and Customs
  • Some benefits are paid by your local council
  • Your employer pays some benefits, then claims the money back from the Government

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Unclaimed Benefits and Backdating

The benefits system is very complicated and many people do not know what they are entitled to. It is estimated that billions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed each year. Even very small increases in the money you have coming in could make a big difference to you. Remember if you have the right to a benefit, you might be able to backdate your claim. To check what benefits you are entitled to, click here.

To find a local adviser through the Turn2us website click here.

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Checking Your Benefit Entitlement

Direct.Gov has a comprehensive Beginners Guide to Benefits which includes what benefits you might be entitled to, how to claim, appealing against benefits decisions and much more. To access this information click here.

Direct. Gov also has a benefits advisor service which helps you see what benefits and credits you might be eligible for. You can access this by clicking here.

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The Turn2us website has an excellent benefits checker that helps ensure that people are receiving all of the benefits  they are entitled to. Turn2us helps people access the money available to them – through welfare benefits, grants and other financial help.

To access the Turn2us Benefits checker click here.

If you are unable to access the online benefits checker, Turn2us also operate a helpline which is a free, confidential and independent service that helps people in financial need access available welfare benefits and charitable grants. You can contact them by calling freephone 0808 802 2000 (8am-8pm Monday-Friday). You can then speak to one of the Turn2us helpline staff, who can:

  • check your entitlement for welfare benefits and provide information on how to apply
  • undertake a grants search to find charitable funds that may be able to support you, based on your personal circumstances and background
  • support you with a grant enquiry and making an application to a charity
  • help you if you have a query about using the Turn2us website

Calls are free for all landlines and for some mobile network providers, charges may apply for other network users so check with your supplier first. If your network does charge for the call and you are worried about the cost, the helpline can call you back.

A Text Relay service is available for deaf people. To access this information click here.

The Citizens Advice Bureau also has a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions about benefits which you can access by clicking here.

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Types of Benefits

If you cannot find the specific benefit or information you are looking for above, we have linked to benefits advice from the website moneysavingexpert.com which you can access by clicking the relevant area below:

To see the types of family benefits click here.

To see work related benefits click here.

To see health related benefits click here.

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Free Travel in Kent and Medway

If you are registered disabled you may be entitled to a free bus pass, to find out more, if you live in Kent click here or if you live in Medway click here.

External Help and Advice

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Disability Law Service

Run by and for disabled people, the Disability Law Service (DLS) is a registered national charity. The DLS provide high quality information and advice to disabled people, their families, carers and advocates.

The DLS provides information on:

  • disability discrimination
  • goods and services
  • community care
  • employment
  • welfare benefits

The DLS also run a telephone advice line, however because of the large number of calls it is likely that when you call them you will be asked to leave your name and number on their answering machine. If you leave your details they will try to call you back within 24 hours. They are available Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm.

Telephone: 020 7791 9800

Textphone: 020 7791 9801

The DLS also produce a wide range of factsheets that you can access by clicking here, or you can complete an online request form for help and advice by clicking here.

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Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizens Advice Bureau has a comprehensive guide to all aspects of money management which includes:

Click on the relevant link above to go directly to the CAB guide.

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The Consumer Financial Education Body

The Consumer Financial Education Body also provide impartial information, interactive tools and advice to help people make informed decisions about money. They have four main areas of information:

Money Made Clear: contains impartial guides, money planners and advice about all things money related, to access this information click here.

Parents Guide to Money: financial resource for people with children or thinking of starting a family, to access this information click here.

Divorce and Separation: information and advice about money and finances if you are separating or divorcing, to access this information click here.  They also have an online Divorce and Separation Calculator, to access this click here.

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Get Free Debt Help and Advice: Live It Well have also produced some information about free debt help and advice and you can see this by clicking here.

If you have any suggestions as to what you would want to see on this page, email us by clicking here.

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