Welfare Reform – coping with the changes

Money management and debt

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provide guidance on issues ranging from arrears in rent or utilities payments to advice on dealing with bailiffs, court summons and more. See the CAB website for more information.

We have also put together some lists of links to help and advice for specific issues. The following links provide a wealth of advice and guidance for a range of money and debt related issues:

The National Debtline telephone number is 0808 808 4000. There is also a website at www.nationaldebtline.co.uk.

In addition to the links above, if you have specific problems with the following types of issues:

I can’t cope with my bills and I am getting into debt

StepChange Debt Charity

StepChange Debt Charity is a registered charity offering free, confidential advice and support to anyone who is worried about debt.

StepChange Debt Charity can help via:

  • a freephone helpline on 0800 138 1111 where you can speak to a Debt Counsellor
  • their website at www.stepchange.org where you can get information on how to deal with your debt problems
  • an online Debt Remedy tool. This asks you a series of questions about your household, income and expenditure and then provides you with a Debt Remedy tailored to your personal circumstances.

I can’t seem to pay my bills on time and I get warning letters and summons

Enquiry line: 0845 602 9848
Website: GOV.UK – The Insolvency Service

Benefits, tax credits and other allowances

I am really worried about my benefits and how the changes might affect me

Citizens Advice – benefits and welfare reform

Turn2us Benefits Calculator.  This easy-to-use calculator may be of help to you if you are unemployed and looking for work, on a low income, retired, bringing up children, ill, have a disability or care for someone. Use the simple Benefits Calculator to work out how much you could claim.

I currently get Disability Living Allowance or care for someone who gets Disability Living Allowance and I hear it is changing to Personal Independence Payment.  What does it mean for me?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64. See www.gov.uk/pip for more information. For more general advice please see the following links:

I have had a medical reassessment as I am ill and have been told I will be transferred to Employment Support Allowance.  What does this mean?

I have been told my benefit is going to be capped.  What does this mean?

There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap. Find out more at www.gov.uk/benefit-cap.

I have been told I have to pay some Council Tax. Is this right as I have never paid it before?

Council Tax in Devon is collected by the district and city councils. Please see their websites for more information:

Citizens Advice – benefits help for those on low incomes

My Housing Association says I am ‘under-occupying’ my house and will have to pay some rent.  Is this right? 

Specific information for housing is provided by your district or city council. Please see the links above for more information. For more general advice, see the links below:

What is Universal Credit and how will it affect me?

Universal Credit is a new benefit that has started to replace 6 existing benefits with a single monthly payment into your account. Universal Credit will help you to be better off in work, start a new job or work more hours. See www.gov.uk/universal-credit for more information.