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Help with your money

If you're struggling with your money, find out what help is available, including claiming benefits, debt advice, help with bills, and crisis support.

Help in a crisis


If you can't afford to buy food or pay your bills, or you're at risk of losing your home, you may be able to get crisis support.

Grants from charities

Some charities give grants to help people who are in crisis. A grant means you don't have to pay the money back.

Most grants have eligibility criteria. This means a list of conditions which you must meet, for example, you must live in a certain area, or have a certain amount of money. You can use the Turn2us grant search to find out if there are any grants you're eligible for.

Community support

As part of our community support scheme, we offer crisis awards to people in need. If you're in a crisis and there's a severe risk to the health or safety of you or an immediate family member, you may be able to get:

  • PayPoint vouchers for food, or a referral to a food bank
  • PayPoint vouchers for gas and electricity
  • PayPoint vouchers for essential clothing

Our dedicated team of community support officers will be able to help you with your application. Find out more and apply for a crisis award now.

Help with your bills


Help with your energy bills

If you're looking for help with your energy bills (gas, electric, water), you can find out more on the help with your energy bills page.

Help with your rent

If you're struggling to pay your rent, you might be able to claim benefits to help. Most people will need to claim Universal Credit. Find out more and apply for Universal Credit on GOV.UK.

Some people, like those getting the State Pension, might need to claim Housing Benefit instead of Universal Credit. Find out more and apply for Housing Benefit.

If you're struggling to pay your rent, you might be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment. You can apply if you're getting either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (housing element), and your benefit payment is less than the amount of rent you need to pay. Find out more and apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Help with your Council Tax

Council Tax is a priority bill. You should try to pay priority bills first, because they can cause particularly serious problems if you don't do anything about them. You can find out more about priority debts on Citizens Advice.

If you have to pay Council Tax, Council Tax Reduction could help reduce the amount you have to pay. Council Tax Reduction is available to people on a low income, including those who work. You have to make a claim for Council Tax Reduction even if you're already getting Universal Credit. You won't get it automatically. Find out more and apply for Council Tax Reduction.

You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax, for example if you live alone. Find out more about Council Tax discounts.

If you pay by Direct Debit, you can choose whether to pay your Council Tax over 10 months or 12. You'll pay the same amount in total, but if you pay it over 12 months, your monthly payments will be less. You can also choose from a range of payment dates so you know you'll be paying once there is money in your account. You can set up a Direct Debit by logging into your Revenues and Benefits account. A help guide for setting up a Direct Debit is available if you get stuck.

Help with your mortgage

If you're struggling to pay your mortgage, it's important to talk to your lender as soon as possible. You can find out more about what to do if you're struggling to pay your mortgage on Money Helper.

If you don't pay your mortgage, your home could be repossessed. This means your lender will take ownership of the house and you'll have to move out. Shelter has more information about repossession.

Help with paying for childcare

If you're struggling to pay for childcare, you may be able to get help with the costs. You can check what help you could get by using the childcare calculator on GOV.UK.

The Childcare Choices website has information about childcare offers, including:

  • tax-free childcare
  • 15 hours free childcare for eligible 2-year-olds
  • 14 hours free childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds
  • 30 hours free childcare for working families with 3- and 4-year-olds
  • tax credits for childcare
  • Universal Credit for childcare

Help with the cost of broadband and phone

If you're struggling to pay your broadband bill, some providers offer cheaper packages for people getting Universal Credit or other benefits. These are called social tariffs. Ofcom has a list of social tariffs for broadband.

If you can't get a social tariff, you might be able to save money by switching to a different package, or a new provider. Price comparison websites can help you see all the deals available to you. Ofcom has a list of approved comparison websites which provide accurate and up-to-date information.

Help with the cost of TV

If you're aged over 75 and getting Pension Credit, you live in a care home, or you're blind, you may be able to get a free or reduced fee TV licence.

There are a range of payment plans to help you spread the cost of a TV licence. These include:

  • paying monthly or quarterly (every 3 months) by Direct Debit
  • a TV Licensing payment card (where you can pay weekly, fortnightly, or monthly online, via text or call, on the TVL Pay app, or at any PayPoint outlet)

The most affordable option is the Simple Payment Plan, which is for people in financial difficulty. To get on the Simple Payment Plan, you'll need to be referred by a charity which is helping you with your money. You can find out more about the Simple Payment Plan, including examples of charities which can refer you, on the TV Licensing website.

Help with claiming benefits


You might be able to increase your income by claiming benefits or tax credits. What you can get will depend on your circumstances - for example, whether or not you work, have children, or get a pension.

If you're struggling to make sense of all the information out there, the unclaimed benefit campaign can help you work out what benefits you're entitled to. You can call 01642 802303 to make an appointment.

Unclaimed benefits

The unclaimed benefits campaign can help you find out whether you're getting all of the benefits you're entitled to.

You'll need to call 01642 802303 to make an appointment first - you can't just walk in.

Sessions take place on:

  • Monday - 9am to 4:30pm - Breckon Hill Community Centre, Breckon Hill Road, Middlesbrough, TS4 2DS
  • Monday - 9am to 1:30pm - Live Well Centre, Dundas Arcade, Middlesbrough, TS1 1HR
  • Tuesday - 9am to 4:30pm - Streets Ahead, 109-111 Parliament Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 4JE
  • Tuesday - 9am to 1:30pm - Neptune Centre, Ormesby Road, Middlesbrough, TS3 7RP
  • Tuesday - 9am to 1:30pm - Middlesbrough House, Elm Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 2DA
  • Wednesday - 9am to 1:30pm - Hope Foundation, 1 Grange Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 5BA
  • Thursday - 9am to 1:30pm - North Ormesby Community Hub, Derwent Street, Middlesbrough, TS3 6JB

Using a benefit calculator

A benefit calculator can give you an idea of how much you could get in benefits. You can use the entitledto benefits calculator, Money Saving Expert benefit check, or Turn2us benefits calculator.

When you're using a benefit calculator, it's helpful to know:

  • what your total income is
  • how much your rent is
  • what your Council Tax band is
  • how much your childcare is

Please note, benefits calculators only give you a estimate of how much you could get - it's not a guarantee.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you're on a low income, out of work, or you cannot work. You can claim Universal Credit on GOV.UK.

Citizens Advice has a 'help to claim' service. Their advisers can help you work out if you can get Universal Credit, fill in the application, and prepare for your first appointment at the Jobcentre.

Disability benefits

If you're D/deaf or disabled, you may be able to get additional benefits.

RNID explains which benefits are available to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Citizens Advice has information about benefits you can claim if you're sick or disabled. Disability Rights UK has list of support available to disabled people, which includes benefits as well as other support, like a disabled railcard and a low-cost landline phone package.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you're over State Pension age and on a low income. Pension Credit comes in two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. It's separate from your State Pension. You can claim Pension Credit on GOV.UK.

Age UK has information about Pension Credit as well as other benefits it can help you get.

Help with debts


If you're struggling with debt, it can be hard to think about anything else. There are lots of free advice services which can help you in person, online, or by phone.

If you're looking to get help from a registered debt adviser, they may be able to help you get protection called a 'breathing space'. If you have a 'breathing space' protection, you will not be contacted about paying off your debts for up to 60 days. This gives you time to improve your financial situation, so you're ready to start paying off your debts once the protection ends. Ask your debt advice provider for more information about breathing spaces.

If someone is lending you money, they must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. If they are not, they may be an illegal money lender ('loan shark').

If you'd like to talk to someone about a loan shark, or report something suspicious, call the Illegal Money Lending Team on 0300 555 2222. Anything you say to the team is confidential (private).

Debt advice services

Citizens Advice (Middlesbrough)

Citizens Advice provides free, independent, and confidential advice. Whether you need help with benefits or debt, housing or work, Citizens Advice can help. They offer expert advice on key issues like energy, scams, consumer rights, and more.

Getting help in person

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10am to 1pm

9 Linthorpe Road,

You can also make an appointment to get help at a Community Hub

Getting help by phone or email

Monday to Thursday (9am to 4pm) and Friday (9am to 3pm)

Phone: 01642 802282


Find out more on the Middlesbrough Citizens Advice website

Citizens Advice (national)

You can get debt advice from a Citizens Advice adviser by online (by live chat) or by phone.

Getting help online

Citizens Advice live chat

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm

You can also find advice on the Citizens Advice website

Getting help by phone

Phone: 0800 240 4420

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Cleveland Housing Advice Centre

Cleveland Housing Advice Centre offers free advice to people having problems with welfare benefits, mortgage and rent arrears, enforcement agents, and county court action.

Getting help in person

Call 01642 254544 or visit Cleveland Housing Advice Centre to book an appointment.

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Address: 16 Borough Road,

Getting help by phone

Phone: 01642 254544

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Debt Advice Foundation

Phone: 0800 622 6151

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

You can also find advice on the Debt Advice Foundation website

Firm Foundations (Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind)

Firm Foundations can help you with debt or financial problems, as well as other problems like poor housing, alcohol or drugs, and benefit issues. To get started, you can get in touch by phone or email.

Phone: 01642 257020

Middlesbrough Environment City

Middlesbrough Environment City offers free advice about fuel debt (when you can't afford to pay your energy bills). They will speak to energy companies on your behalf to help put payment plans in place, so you only make payments you can afford.

You can call or email to book a one-to-one appointment with an adviser.

Phone: 0800 304 7084


National Debtline

Getting help online

National Debtline live chat

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm, and Saturday, 9:30am to 1pm

The Digital Advice Tool is a free, confidential, online debt advice service from National Debtline. You can find out what options you have to deal with your debts, and get a personal action plan to help you manage your money.

You can also find general advice on the National Debtline website

Getting help by phone

Phone: 0808 808 4000

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm, and Saturday, 9:30am to 1pm


PayPlan offers debt advice through a live chat service, email, or phone. You'll need to answer some quick questions about your debt first.

Getting help online

PayPlan live chat

You can also find general advice on the PayPlan website

Getting help by phone

Phone: 0800 280 2816

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday, 9am to 3pm

StepChange debt charity

Getting help online

StepChange's online debt advice tool will give you debt advice tailored to your situation. You'll need to give details of your debts, income, and spending first.

You can also get general advice on the StepChange website

Getting help by phone

Phone: 0800 138 1111

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday, 8am to 4pm

Feeling like you can't cope?

We know that it's scary when you don't know if you'll be able to buy food or pay your next bill. If you're feeling anxious, depressed, or like you've run out of options, please reach out for help.

The Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys crisis service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will listen without judging you, support you, and help you with what to do next. You can call them onĀ 0800 0516 171, for free. Please don't suffer alone.