Welfare - Knowing what you`re entitled to

Make sure you are receiving the right benefits. Maternity grants, short-term advances, budgeting advances and other forms of support are available from the Department for Work and Pensions for those who qualify.

To receive a free assessment to make sure you are receiving the right benefits, visit the gov.uk/benefits-adviser website, visit your local Jobcentre Plus or phone Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.

When someone makes, or is about to make, a new claim to benefit, they can sometimes encounter a period of financial need before receiving their first payment of benefit. Short-term Advances will help claimants through that period by providing an advance of their future benefit award, which will then be recovered from subsequent payments of benefit.
Short-term Advances of benefit are available to claimants of any contributory or income-related social security benefit, including Universal Credit. To be eligible for a Short-term Advance, the claimant must be able to demonstrate that they are in financial need.

Budgeting Advances/Loans are for people in receipt of continuous benefits for 26 weeks or more who experience emergency and unforeseen expenses.

Budgeting Advances are available to benefit claimants to ensure that those with the lowest incomes claiming Universal Credit will continue to have access to an interest-free alternative to high-cost lending for emergency and unforeseen expenses. Budgeting Loans will continue to be available for those claiming legacy benefits until all such claims have been closed or migrated to Universal Credit.

Budgeting Advances will in most cases require the claimant to have been claiming Universal Credit - or have had a continuous claim to a legacy income-related benefit migrating to Universal Credit - for at least six months. To maintain work incentives however, that requirement does not apply if the expense for which a Budgeting Advance is required is necessary as a consequence of the claimant obtaining or retaining employment.

Budgeting Advances are available only to those on the lowest incomes and the regulations will specify a maximum earnings.

To request a Short-term Advance or apply for a Budgeting Loan/Advance visit gov.uk or visit your local Jobcentre Plus.

Free school meals and clothing grants

If you are on income support and have children attending school then you may be entitled to free school meals and clothing grants. You can apply by using the online application form.  If you require advice about your online application you can contact the team on 01228 221133.

What other forms of financial assistance are available?

Turn2us is a charitable service which helps people access support through benefits, grants and any other financial help available. Their website has been designed to help you find appropriate sources of financial support, quickly and easily, based on your particular needs and circumstances.