Your Money Matters 
 Information and advice for Tameside residents 
 Welfare Reform in 
 Tameside 

 Information and advice for 
 Tameside residents 
 Welfare 
 Reform in 
 Tameside 

Help for Tameside residents in financial difficulty

If you are in financial difficulty there are options and alternative sources of help and support for Tameside residents.

Get advice

If you need help to challenge a benefits decision or want advice if your circumstances are complicated, do this as soon as you can. You can get information on what help is available for Tameside residents here.

You should also check you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to and you can do this through the Turn2Us website.

Challenge the decision

It is important that you act quickly if challenging a decision as there is a deadline for asking for it to be looked at again. If you have been sanctioned and you think it is incorrect, you should challenge the decision as further sanctions are for longer periods of time. For more information about how to challenge a benefits decision, please see here.

Hardship Payments

If you are claiming Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, and your claim is sanctioned, suspended or ‘disallowed’, ask the Jobcentre for a form to apply for Hardship Payments. You can contact Jobcentre Plus on 0345 608 8545. Some people may be able to get Hardship Payments as soon their Jobseekers Allowance stops, others will not get paid anything for the first two weeks.

If you are claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get Hardship Payments if you are sanctioned or if your money is reduced because of a fraud penalty. You will need to ask the Jobcentre for an application form. These payments are recoverable and will have to be repaid .There is no waiting period before you can get Hardship Payments if you are on Universal Credit.

Short Term Benefit Advances

If you are waiting for Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Carers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit, you may be able to get a Short Term Benefit Advance payment. You need to be able to demonstrate that you are in financial need whilst waiting for your benefit to be paid. Any payment you get will have to be repaid later.

Use the complaints procedure

If you have claimed a benefit and you have yet to receive a decision on your claim, first check with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) that they have all of the information they need to make their decision. If they have, and you feel you have been waiting too long for a decision, making a formal complaint to the DWP can sometimes help speed things up. Contact details will be at the top of any letters sent from Jobcentre Plus and they should try to resolve the issue over the phone or deal with your complaint within 15 working days. Further information on how to complain can be found here.

If you are having deductions made from your benefits and it is causing you financial hardship there are some things that you can do.

There are different rules and things you can do depending on what the deductions are for.

If the deductions are in respect of an overpayment and you think it may be incorrect, get advice.

If you owe the money you could first start by preparing a list of your income and expenditure, demonstrating that you are in financial hardship. Then write to the organisation which is deducting money from your benefits and enclose a copy of your income and expenditure. Ask them if they will reduce the level of deductions.

If you are still having problems, get advice

If you have no other alternative but to take out a loan, make sure it is affordable. Turning to payday loans, doorstep lenders & loan sharks can be costly and in some circumstances illegal.

Consider the options below firstly:

Budgeting Loans and Advances

If you have been getting an income-related benefit like Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment & Support Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Universal Credit for at least 6 months, you can apply for an interest-free loan from the Department for Work and Pensions. These are known as Budgeting Advances for claimants of Universal Credit, or Budgeting Loans if you are getting any other income-related benefit. To apply for a Budgeting Advance or Budgeting Loan, ask your local Jobcentre for a claim form. The Budgeting Loan claim form is also available online here.

Credit unions

A credit union is a sort of community bank, which is owned and managed by its members. Credit unions can offer their members small loans at very competitive rates of interest. Members can apply for a loan once they have saved for 13 weeks and a first loan is a based on twice the savings. It is useful therefore to start saving with the Credit Union now so that you can access a loan in the future. The main credit union for people who live and work in Tameside is Cash Box.

Remember - turning to payday loans and doorstep lenders can seem like a quick and easy solution. However, these lenders typically charge a high rate of interest, and the amount you owe can spiral out of control if you cannot repay in full by the agreed date. A lender who is not registered with the Financial Conduct Authority is a loan shark. They have broken the law by lending you money. You can report a loan shark in confidence, by ringing 0300 5552222.

Save money by installing energy saving home improvements. The Greater Manchester Energy Advice Service offers free and impartial advice on energy efficiency in the home. They may be able to help you apply for national and local grants and schemes. Their helpline is 0800 0093363 (0161 2457638 from mobiles).

If you are worried about the cost of your gas or electric bill, click here for tips and help on reducing your energy bills and grants you could apply for.

The Charis Grants website provides information on charitable grants they administer on behalf of a number of the utility companies

Grant finder

The Turn2Us website has a tool you can use to find charity grants (e.g. the Family Fund) that you may be able to apply for.

Food banks

Food banks provide free food for people who would otherwise go hungry. There are several food banks in Tameside set up by both national and local organisations. For information on your nearest food bank in Tameside, click here.

Tameside CAB can also provide free clothing and small household goods through their Helping Hands Recycle Outlet, 13 Fletcher Street, Ashton (behind the indoor market). You will need to contact Tameside CAB for a voucher.

Second hand furniture

You may be able to get furniture and household goods from organisations such as 2nd Generation Furnishings.

The Social Fund

The Social Fund makes payments to cover specific costs detailed below and you are legally entitled to a payment if you satisfy the conditions. Check if you could get one of the following payments from the Social Fund:

  • Sure Start Maternity Grants
  • Funeral Payments
  • Cold Weather Payments
  • Winter Fuel Payments

Tameside Resettlement Scheme

From 1st April 2015, the Tameside MBC Tameside Resettlement Scheme may be able to provide essential household items and help with rent in advance for people who are unable to afford these themselves. Tameside Resettlement Scheme is for people who have experienced homelessness or domestic abuse or who are leaving care, hospital, prison or an unsettled way of life. It can also help families with children, and disabled people, who are facing exceptional pressures that prevent them from living independently and which pose a serious risk to their safety or health.

This scheme will also consider help with council tax payments if you are experiencing financial difficulty and are unable to pay your council tax. You should also check if you are able to reduce your bill.

Discretionary Housing Payment

If you are entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit, and you have no money to pay your rent, apply for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).You may be able to apply for DHP if you have a shortfall in your rent or are affected by the bedroom tax.

Children’s Services

If you are experiencing serious difficulties as the parent or carer of a child, or as young person who has been in care, contact Tameside MBC.

Benefit checks

Use the Turn2Us benefit calculator to check you are getting all of the benefits you are entitled to, and that they are being paid at the correct rate. If you have a long-term health condition or disability, check if you can apply for Disability Living Allowance (for under 16s), Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance. If you have an award of a disability benefit you should get advice to see if you are getting the correct rate or whether you should appeal the decision to award you a different rate of benefit.

Budgeting support

If you are a social housing tenant (for example New Charter or Ashton Pioneer Homes) you could get help with budgeting through the MiNTed project. MiNTED offer budgeting support one-to-one or through group sessions

Housing support

Tameside Floating Support Service provides practical advice, support and assistance to people in their own homes. The service aims to help people find a home that suits their needs, or help them to keep the home they are currently living in by helping them solve any problems they may have. The service can also help people who are moving from supported housing into their own accommodation. Click here for more information on how to access the service

Advice and support

There is a lot of support for Tameside residents on managing money, dealing with debts and accessing support if in financial crisis. To search for free advice services in Tameside, please click here.

Food banks

Benefit checks and grants

Credit Union

Where can I use a PC?

Age Uk New Charter Ashton Adullam Leap Regenda Citizens Advice Action Together Tameside Mind DWP