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Useful information for Redditch residents if you’re struggling with your finances or mental health during the Coronavirus epidemic

Getting Financial Support

  • You need to apply for benefits as soon as possible, claims only count from the day they are made . Most are now online or telephone based only and you may need the following information before you start. The following is a list of the type of information that you may need:
    • Photo ID (they will accept – passport, Drivers Licence, Citizens Card),
    • An official document that includes your name and address, (A letter from a statutory agency, a recent bank statement, Tenancy agreement or your Bank card ).
  • Go to the Turn 2 Us website – https://www.turn2us.org.uk, this site has a huge amount of resources that can point you in the right direction and your first stop should be their Benefits Calculator. This will help you find out what benefits you could be entitled to. Please don’t hold anything back any expenditure at all needs to be taken account of.
  • Once you know what benefits you can apply for then you need to go online or phone to start your claim. Fast tracking systems have been put in place BUT there is a backlog of claims  due to the massive increase in claims.
  • Universal Credit is the primary benefit available now and you can apply for a loan and a Budgeting Advance to cover essential expenditure for specific items . These will all have to paid back at a fixed percentage per month once you start receiving your benefits.
  • Further, however much or little Universal Credit you have been awarded you can claim child care costs if you have to go back to work.  It is paid in arrears and you will need to provide an invoice to claim the money.
  • Once you have submitted a claim for Universal Credit you can apply immediately for free school meals. Go to https://worcestershire.gov.uk  and in the search bar type in Free School Meals, this will take you straight to the form you need to complete. Whilst your children are at home you will receive vouchers for. Local supermarket to enable you to get food.
  • Housing Benefits are automatically applied to your claim BUT Council Tax benefit will not. You will need to go to https://www.redditchbc.gov.uk  and in the Apply for It Section fill in the appropriate details to claim. This requires you to provide Proof of Income and ID to complete this claim.

Dealing with Debt

  1. Phone your gas, electricity and water suppliers immediately, most of them are offering help and support and many have hardship funds that they can access for you.
  • Redditch Borough Council can offer support for rent and council tax payments and have an Essential Living Fund which may be able to help with some urgent bills, contact them at https://www.redditchbc.gov.uk or ring on 01527 64252.
  • Check your mortgage insurance policies to see if you claim mortgage protection insurance.
  • Ask your Mortgage Supplier if you can extend the length of your mortgage term to keep the repayments as low as possible:
    • Many banks are offering interest free overdrafts of up to 500 pounds for 3 months.
    • Credit card companies are offering 3 month payment holidays.
    • You can ask your car loan provider for a 3 month payment break.
    • 1 month payment break for Pay Day loans,
    • 3 months extension on pawned items and
    • 3 months payment break on Rent to Own. You must contact your actual suppliers to set these up.
  • The Money Advice Service has a wealth of good advice and information. Go to https://gov.uk  and search for Money Advice Service.

Advice and help is also available from the Act on Energy website https://actonenergy.org.uk/pre-payment-meter-options-and-debt-issues-with-energy-companies/

Other Essential Information

  • Redditch Disability Support Project and Redditch Food Bank are working together to provide emergency food and supplies. Contact them through the SREN Support Line 01527 919869
  • Funeral Arrangements – your funeral director will help you through the process of paying for a funeral, this will also include how to apply for a Funeral Cost Contribution.  

Help with mental health issues

There is no shame in admitting to feelings of anxiety, not being able to cope or just feeling in a dark place. Help is out there but again, due to lock down, you will have to ask. All of the contacts here are specialists in this field and will be understanding. If you really cant bring yourself to talk to anybody at the moment the following link will take you to our online video, kindly donated by Sheila McMahon – which is specifically geared to the present crisis.

Further information for those with mental health issues can be found at :

https://www.mhagredditch.org.uk
Redditch Mental Health Action Group

http://worcestershire.wellbeinghub.org.uk   
Support helpline on 01905766124

https://www.mind.org.uk   
Support helpline on  0300 123 3393

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