Benefits advice and guidance

A resident having an appointment with an adviser

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We recognise that understanding the huge amount of information about benefits can be difficult.

Here you will find a summary of the key benefits and also our benefit calculator which will help you work out what benefits you may be entitled to. You will also find information about where you can go to get advice and guidance about benefits.

 


 

Benefits you may be entitled to:

 

Benefit Calculator

The GOV.UK Benefit calculator will help you work out your benefits. You can also use the calculator to work out how much you would be entitled to if your circumstances changed.

 

Local Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax. You can apply for Council Tax Support if you are aged 18 or over and you have to pay Council Tax on your home.

Visit our Council Tax Support page for more information.

 

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance help people on a low income to pay their rent. The amount of any benefit depends on your particular circumstances.

Visit our Housing Benefit page for more information.

 

Household Support Fund

The Government has announced a Household Support Fund which has been made available to local authorities to support people most in need this winter. 

Families with children receiving free school meals, as well as households in receipt of council tax support, will be eligible for food vouchers.

Vouchers will be distributed as follows:

  • £80 per child in receipt of free school meals. The vouchers will be distributed by schools from 29 November 2021.
  • £80 per working age household who have children and are in receipt of council tax support. The vouchers will be posted to eligible households during December 2021.
  • £60 per working age household who don't have children and are in receipt of council tax support. The vouchers will be posted to eligible households during December 2021.

There is no need to apply for the vouchers. If you are eligible you will receive them automatically either via your child’s school or through the post in December.

To support those residents who are not directly supported through the routes above we have supplemented the Council’s ‘Back on Track’ scheme which supports individuals and households in crisis.

The support will mostly be awarded by way of a grant or voucher payment to those eligible to assist with things like:

  • Purchasing food
  • Financial support for energy, water and utility bills
  • Help to keep homes warm over the winter months
  • Other essential items and support


Am I eligible?

The scheme aims to support Stockton residents who are on a low income and facing financial hardship. You will be asked to provide evidence of your circumstances, such as a bank statement, pay slip or a benefit award notice.

We will assess your application and email you to explain our decision if you are unsuccessful. You don't have to be receiving benefit to apply


How long will this scheme run for?

The scheme ends on 31 March 2022, or sooner if funding is used up before this date. The cut off date for applying is 14 March 2022.


Can I apply more than once?

You can make up to two applications for food/fuel before 14 March 2022.


How do I apply?

Complete the online Household Support application

 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64. The rate you could get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

Visit the GOV.UK website for further information on Personal Independence Payment.

 

Household Benefit Cap

There is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap. For most households, the maximum benefit which can be received is £500 per week for single parents, couples with or without children, and £350 per week for single people without children.

From the autumn of 2016 changes were made to the benefit cap levels.  The maximum benefit which can now be received is £384.62 per week for single parents, couples with or without children and £257.69 per week for single people without children.

Visit the GOV.UK website for further information on the Benefit cap.

 

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is part of the government’s Welfare Reform Act. For further information on this please visit our Universal Credit page

 

Grant and Loan Assistance

Grant and loan assistance for vulnerable customers is a discretionary scheme which provides support to residents in crisis situations as well as those settling into the community.

Visit our Welfare Assistance webpage for further information.

 


 

Where to get advice and support:

 

Welfare Rights Service

Our Welfare Rights Service provides free, confidential, independent and impartial advice and information on welfare benefits to Stockton Borough Council residents. The service recognises that individuals must make their own decisions and so we aim to provide individuals with the information to be able to exercise their rights.

Acting on Your Behalf

If you have recently had a social security benefit claim turned down and are appealing against this, we may be able to act on your behalf if you are referred to us by any of the following: 

  • A Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council service, for example:

  - Adult or Children’s Services

  - Blue Badge Customer Services

  - Housing Options

  - Revenues and Benefits Service

  • Stockton and District Advice and Information Service
  • Your MP
  • Your ward councillor

Alternatively, if you are a member of the armed forces community, including dependent families (regular personnel, reservists, veterans, bereaved), please contact us.

If you are receiving a service from any of the agencies listed above, please ask your key worker to make a referral to us.

Contact Welfare Rights

Telephone: 01642 526141 
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, 8.30am - 5pm, Friday, 8.30am - 4.30pm, closed Saturday

 

Stockton Welfare Advice Network (SWAN)

Stockton Welfare Advice Network (SWAN) provides free information on a range of issues affecting the people living in Stockton Borough, including information on benefits, housing, debt, and health.

Visit the SWAN website for further information on the service.

 

Stockton District Advice and Information Service (SDAIS)

SDAIS (Citizens Advice Bureau) provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities.

For further information contact Stockton District Advice and Information Service.

Advice Line: 03442 451295

For mobiles: 0300 3300650

For appointments: 01642 633877

Visit the Stockton and District Advice and Information Service website for further information.

 

Energy Bills

If you are in concerned about your bills, speak to your supplier as payments could be reassessed, reduced or paused.

If you, or someone you know, is vulnerable such is of pensionable age, has children under 5, a disability or long-term medical condition, it is important to let your energy supplier know immediately. Each energy supplier keeps a Priority Services Register of people who may need additional assistance.

Here is a list of the energy companies and contact details for your reference.

Name

Telephone No

British Gas

0333 202 9802

EDF

0333 200 5100 on call 0345 052 0000

Npower

0800 073 3000

Scottish Power

0800 027 0072

SSE

0345 026 2658

Bulb

0300 303 0635

Co-op Energy

0800 093 7547

E Energy

0333 103 9575

Green Network Energy

0800 520 0202

Green Star Energy

0800 012 4510

Omni Energy

0113 457 3219

Ovo

0330 102 7517

Robin Hood Energy

0800 030 4567

Utilita

0345 207 2000

 

Food Banks

Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. Food banks provide emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK.

There are organisations which can help, the most up to date details of which can be found on our Food Banks webpage and the SWAN website.

 

Stockton Information Directory

The Stockton Information Directory provides information and advice on a range of services and opportunities for adults across the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees. The variety of services include information on where local groups and leisure activities are taking place, what help you can get to remain in your own home, housing and care home information and much more.

Visit the Stockton Information Directory for a full range of information and advice available for adults.

 

Tees Credit Union

Tees Credit Union provides convenient and easy access to basic financial services like savings accounts and loans to people who live or work in the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees.

Visit the Tees Credit Union website for further information.

 

Tax Help for Older People

Tax Help for Older People provides independent free tax advice for older people on low incomes who cannot afford to pay for professional advice.

Visit the Tax Help for Older People website for further information.

 

Student Finance on GOV.UK

Full-time higher education students from England can apply for finance online on the GOV.UK website. Parents and partners of students are also able to support an application online.