Worried about money?

Follow these steps to find out who can help

Worrying about money? Follow these steps to find out who can help

Download a PDF copy of this information here

Step 1 - What's the problem?

I suddenly have no money

  • Lost job / lost hours at work
  • Lost money / unexpected expense
  • Disaster (e.g. flood or fire)
  • Relationship breakdown
  • Money stopped (e.g. failed a medical)
  • Sanctioned*

My money doesn't stretch far enough

  • Deciding between food / fuel / mobile credit
  • Low income or zero hours contract
  • Statutory Sick Pay too low to cover costs
  • Not sure if eligible for support
  • Change of circumstance (e.g. new baby / bereavement / illness / left partner)

I have debt

  • Rent or Council Tax arrears
  • Gas or electricity
  • Payday loans
  • Owe friends and family
  • Benefit repayments

I am waiting on a benefit payment / decision

  • Made a new claim for benefit
  • Benefit payment is delayed
  • Waiting for a benefit decision to be made

Step 2 - What are some options?

Option 1 - Scottish Welfare Fund - Crisis Grant

People on low incomes may be able to get a crisis grant from the Council in the event of a crisis. This is a payment to help you cope during an emergency or disaster, or due to unexpected expenses. Crisis grants do not have to be paid back (not a loan).

Where to get help -

Option 2 - Maximise your income

Anyone who is on a low income and struggling financially is strongly advised to get a benefit check and speak to an advisor for free and confidential advice. A benefit check can ensure that you are receiving all the money you’re entitled to, especially if your circumstances have changed recently. Speaking to an advisor could also help you find cheaper deals on things like gas and electricity and make sure you’re not missing out on things like school clothing grants or free school meals.

Where to get help -

Option 3 - Debt advice

Debt can happen to anyone. Free advice and support can help you find ways to manage your debts and reduce how much you pay each month.

Where to get help -

Option 4 - Benefit advance

If you have made a new claim for benefit and are in financial hardship while you wait for your first payment, you may be able to get an advance to afford things like rent or food. It’s important to get advice before taking out an advance. Benefit advances must be paid back, and the money will be taken from your future benefit payments (a loan).

Where to get help -

Option 5 - Hardship payment

If you have no money because of a sanction, you may be able to request a hardship payment from the Jobcentre. Hardship payments are not always paid immediately, and they’re not available to everyone. Hardship payments of Universal Credit need to be paid back (a loan), but hardship payments of Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance do not (not a loan).

Where to get help -

Option 6 - Challenge a decision

You can challenge a benefit decision if your benefit has been stopped / sanctioned / reduced / refused or you have been overpaid. Most benefit decisions need to be challenged within one month. If you believe the decision is wrong you are advised to challenge this decision.

Where to get help -

Step 3 - Where can I get help?

Argyll Community Housing Association 
Welfare rights advice for ACHA Tenants Only
0800 028 2755

(In Bute & Cowal, contact Bute Advice Centre)

Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice website
Impartial and confidential advice
01546 605550
9am-5pm (Mon-Fri)

Bute Advice Centre
Welfare, Money and Energy Advice (Bute Advice Centre supports communities across Argyll and Bute)
01700 502784
9am-5pm (Mon-Thur) 9am-1pm

Read the Bute Advice Centre's advice pack

Speak to an adviser, ask your work coach or contact one of the numbers below

Advance/Hardship Payment

  • IS/ESA/JSA (0800 169 0310)
  • Universal Credit (0800 328 5644)

Advance Payment

  • Carer’s Allowance (0800 731 0297)
  • Pension Credit (0800 731 0469)

Further information on benefits is available on gov.uk - benefits

Scottish Welfare Fund - make an application
Make a crisis grant application.
01546 605512
9am-5pm (Mon-Fri)

Other support

Money Advice Service
Free and impartial advice and support.
0800 138 7777
8am-6pm (Mon-Fri)

Energy Advice Service including free home visits to help reduce fuel costs.
01631 565183

Argyll and Bute Council
Free and confidential welfare rights and money advice.
01546 604176
9am-4.30pm (Mon-Fri)

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