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Me and my family

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.

  1. Employment

    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. 

    If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to a Benefits top up. Please see our Benefits page for help with this or check out some of the online benefit calculators.

  2. Financial hardship

    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. 

    It’s also worth checking you are getting everything you are entitled to. Please see our Benefits page for help with this or check out some of the online benefit calculators.

    If you’re finding it difficult or overwhelming to deal with these issues, you can get help with this from the following agencies:

    Citizen’s Advice South Somerset

    Christians Against Poverty

    Step Change

    Centre for Sustainable Energy

    AgeUK Somerset

  3. Short term help

    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

    Other grants

    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.

    Pension support

    If you are of pensionable age you may be able to get financial assistance from AgeUK Somerset.

    Benefit support

    If you are receiving certain benefits, you may be eligible for a Budgeting Loan or Budgeting Advance.

    Credit union

    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

  4. Benefits

    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:

    Gov.uk

    Benefit calculators

    Citizen’s Advice

    AgeUK Somerset

    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:

    Citizen’s Advice South Somerset

    Centre for Sustainable Energy

    AgeUK Somerset

    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:

    PIP assessment

    Work Capability Assessment

  5. Housing issues

    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.

    You can also seek advice some other advice agencies such as Shelter, Centre for Sustainable Energy or Citizen’s Advice South Somerset.

    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.

  6. Useful links

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