Welfare and Advice in South Somerset
Every year thousands of people find themselves in crisis. The key thing is that you take action now and reach out to get the help you need.
This webpage will take you through some of the first steps that you will need to complete and the links for the key organisations that can help people in your situation.
The Government has also acknowledged that people are worried so they are running a Help for Households campaign. Visit their website to see what cost of living support you could be eligible for.
It’s important to know your rights and responsibilities at work if you are employed, self-employed or a volunteer.
Citizen’s Advice have a useful website where you can check your rights, covid related advice or for help if you feel you have been unfairly treated.
If you need further assistance, you can contact Citizens Advice South Somerset.
If you are unable to work due to covid-19, you may find further information on the Governments website.
You may also be eligible for a Test and Trace Isolation payment. Find further information including the eligibility criteria for the local discretionary scheme.
It can be really overwhelming if you're taking the first steps in tackling your debt or money issue.
Find out more about the options available to you, including prioritising your debts, maximising your income and how to deal with your creditors.
It can often help to look at what money you have coming in, what you're spending, and where you might be able to cut costs.
Planning a budget can really help you in taking control of your finances and getting your situation back on track.
Citizen’s Advice has information to help you do this.
If you’re finding it difficult or overwhelming to deal with these issues, you can get help with this from the following agencies:
Short Term Help
The British Gas Energy Trust
The British Gas Energy Trust contributes to the relief of poverty, with a particular focus on fuel poverty. It helps families and individuals experiencing hardship who are struggling with gas and electricity debt by awarding grants to clear those debts. The Trust also funds organisations across England, Wales and Scotland to provide fuel debt and money advice services within communities. You do not need to be a British Gas Customer to apply.
Somerset Household Support Fund
The Household Support Fund is designed to provide short-term urgent financial help to Somerset residents who are struggling to afford household essentials such as buying food, paying for energy and water bills and other essential household items such as beds and white goods and is administered by Somerset County Council.
To apply, you must:
- Live in the County of Somerset
- Be over the age of 16 and living independently of parents/carers
- Not have sufficient money to pay for essentials
- Provide proof of your identity
Local Assistance Scheme
The Local Assistance Scheme does not provide cash or loans, but it can help you to get basic essentials such as basic equipment for heating or cooking, help to make an essential unexpected journey, food parcels etc.
The scheme can be accessed through Citizen’s Advice South Somerset on behalf of Somerset County Council.
You must meet the following conditions:
- That you are on a low income (normally means-tested benefits)
- That you do not have enough money to buy what you need
- That you have tried other sources of help first and these have not been able to help you. For example, a short term benefits advance, a budgeting loan, family or friends
- That you apply to the advice bureau in the district of Somerset you live in
There are may be some grants that you could be eligible due to your occupation, faith or ex armed forces etc. Visit Turn 2 Us Grant search to see what might be available to you.
Discretionary Housing Payment or Council Tax Hardship Payment
If you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit including the housing element, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment or Council Tax Hardship Payment. You can apply online, however, we would strongly recommend that you get help to apply from an advice agency as not only will this increase the likelihood of an award, it will ensure that you get appropriate advice about your situation.
If you are of pensionable age you may be able to get financial assistance from AgeUK Somerset.
Credit Union may be able to assist you if you have a one off expense, e.g. white goods or vehicle costs
We would strongly recommend you take advice prior to taking out any form of credit
If you are receiving benefits and you need help or advice on what you might be eligible to claim, you may be able to find some useful information using the links below:
If you need further support, guidance or if you think your benefit decision is wrong, the following agencies will be able to advise you specifically on your individual case:
If you have claimed PIP, ESA or Universal Credit and you need to attend a medical assessment, you can find information that will help you prepare for this:
We know being worried about losing your home is really stressful. Please visit our Housing page which will provide you with information about what you can do and the local help available. By working together, we can find the best solution available to you.
If you think you’re going to be homeless, contact our housing team straight away on 01935 462462 to make an appointment to see an Officer.
Energy Saving Advice
For energy-saving tips and advice, plus useful links to support networks to help you keep your home warm and energy efficient visit the South Somerset Environment website here