How to get financial help in an emergency
If you’re on a tight budget unexpected changes mean things can get quite difficult quite quickly and it can be tempting to take out a payday loan but often this can make your situation worse. The important thing to remember is that there is help available. In this video I’ll talk through what help you can get in an emergency, help that you can get to pay your rent or your energy bills, or help with one-off items such as furniture or clothing. There are lots of reasons why you might find yourself in a financial crisis; your benefits may have been stopped, you may have received a sanction, or it could be that they’ve just not come through yet. But there are places that you can get help during this time. Your local welfare assistance scheme is designed to help with urgent payments in an emergency or unexpected circumstances. If you’re waiting for a benefit to come through, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support, you can apply to your local Job Centre for a short term benefit advance. If you have been sanctioned you can also go to your Job Centre and apply for a hardship payment. If you’re finding it difficult to pay for food during this period you can go to your local food bank. You can find links for more information on these options in the notes below. If you’re having difficulty paying your rent and you are in receipt of housing benefit you can apply for discretionary housing payments that can help with the shortfall you’re facing. If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills you can contact an organisation called Turn2Us and they can do a grants search for you to see if there’s anything available to help pay those bills. You can also contact the Home Heat Helpline they can also search for grants for you but also give you advice and information on energy saving schemes that might be available. So if you need financial help with one-off items such as a fridge or a freezer, furniture, or even clothing, then you may be able to apply for a budgeting loan. You can apply for a budgeting loan if you’ve been in receipt of a means-tested benefit for at least six months so these are such as Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance, and you can apply for those at your Job Centre. Alternatively, you could also apply to Turn2Us to see if there are any grants that can help with these one-off items. If you need advice and information on debt and budgeting our factsheets ‘Making ends meet’ and ‘Dealing with debt’ can help you find the answers that you need. Just click on the links to the right that will take you straight to the Gingerbread website. Remember, you’re not alone. Join Gingerbread for free, and you can talk to other single parents who’ve been in the same boat. Just click on the link to find out more.