Check whether you could more money, also whether you can make paying bills easier.
Could I get more money?
What help can I get to find work?
Can I get benefits if I am working?
Can I rent out a room?
Check that your landlord or mortgage lender agrees. Under the Rent a Room Scheme, if the rent is below a set limit, you do not pay tax on it and it does not affect any tax credits you get.
Could another adult in my home pay towards expenses?
If a non-dependant (adult son or daughter, relative or friend) lives with you, they should pay you for their share of household expenses, even if their only income is benefits. If you are getting Housing Benefit or Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), check how much is being taken off payments because a non-dependant lives with you.
Could I get child maintenance?
If a child lives with you, you may be able to get maintenance from either of their parents who live elsewhere. You could make an arrangement between yourselves or, if you think this might not work, you can ask the Child Support Agency to help.
Can I reduce how much is taken off my benefit/tax credit for an overpayment?
Could I get a refund on the cost of Payment Protection Insurance?
If you took out Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) with a loan either:
- not realising that you were taking out a policy you did not actually want or
- without the policy’s being properly described to you, so you did not understand how it worked
you may be able to get a refund of at least some of the cost. But bear in mind this could affect whether you could claim on the insurance.
Could I make paying bills easier?
Could I reduce mortgage payments?
It is important to pay your full mortgage instalments if you possibly can, but contact your lender if you cannot. Depending on your payment history, how long your difficulties are likely to last and how much equity your home has, your lender may be able to suggest a way to help you over a difficult period.
If you have lost your job or are sick and can claim on mortgage protection insurance, do so within the time limit. If the insurer will not pay, look at the Financial Ombudsman Service web site to see whether you might want to complain.
Could I get Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)?
If you are a home owner and get certain income-based benefits you may qualify for help towards your mortgage interest payments. This is known as Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). The interest is at a set rate, not the rate your lender charges and payments can be reduced for various reasons. Any SMI you get is unlikely to cover your full mortgage instalments. Depending on which benefit you are getting, any SMI payments may not start for some time after you claim and may not last longer than two years.
Could I get Housing Benefit?
You may be able to get Housing Benefit if you rent and your and any partner’s income is low, whether or not either of you is working.
Could I get a Council Tax discount?
You may be able to get a discount if:
- you are the only person in your household aged 18 or over or
- your home has a facility that is important to a disabled person (yourself or someone living with you) or
- whatever your income, any other people in your household aged 18 or over have a low income.
Could I get Council Tax Benefit?
You may be able to get Council Tax Benefit if your and any partner’s income is low, whether or not either of you is working.
Could I spread paying Council Tax?
If you pay by Direct Debit, you can pay the yearly bill over 12 months, paying less each month than if you paid over the usual 10 months.
Could I reduce fuel bills?
You may be able to get a better deal by switching supplier.
Could I spread paying fuel bills?
Check your bill to see how you may be able to pay by Direct Debit or standing order. Most suppliers give a discount for paying monthly by Direct Debit.
Could I spread paying for a TV licence?
You can pay monthly by Direct Debit or weekly or monthly by TV licensing payment card.
Could I get water bills reduced?
You may be able to get your bills reduced if your water is metered, you get tax credit or an income-based benefit and either:
- you have at least three children under 19 living with you or
- someone needs extra water for a medical condition.
Could I spread paying water bills?
You can pay by Direct Debit or by cash instalments at Paypoint venues.
To go to the next stage, go to the right of this page and click on Stage 2: Am I liable to pay the debts?