Finance, Benefits, Debt

  • Finance, benefits, debt

This section details the services within the city which are available for financial assistance.

Boiler Grants

This grant helps low income households in England, Scotland and Wales to become more energy efficient and lower heating bills.


Care Funding Guidance: Free

What is CFG?
It’s a free and not for profit expert agency that will help you make the best decisions on how to pay for your care. We are not financial advisers and we are completely unable to sell you anything.

We will
We offer a free booklet that gives a lot of useful information about the sort of things people should know and consider if they have to pay for care. It includes.
Help you work out your care funding problem
Make sure you’re getting all the state benefits you’re entitled to
Help you understand each of the 6 ways of paying for care

Download free guide here:

FREE Phone:
0800 055 6225


Carer Personal Budgets

A Carer Personal Budget (also known as a Carer Direct Payment) is a sum of money paid by a council’s Adult Social Care department to help to a carer to pay for things which will help them in their caring role. It allows a carer to have more control over how they are supported. To get a personal budget you will have to have had a carer’s assessment.

Details from Southampton City Council on Carer’s Assesssments may be found here:

Below is a link to a London borough’s webpage that has a very good explanation.  However please note that the use of these budgets is at the discretion of the local authority and this varies from one council to another.  To find out more about SCC’s policy, please visit here:

Cerebra assistance with DLA forms

Step by step guide from Cerebra on filling in DLA forms helps make it easier for you.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP)

CAP started running CAP Money Courses in partnership with local churches to help people budget, save and prevent debt. Our vision is to help answer the national problem of debt by opening a CAP Debt Centre and running a CAP Money Course in every town and city in the UK so anyone can receive CAP’s life changing help. They also run a Job Club.

The CAP Money Course is a revolutionary money management course that teaches people budgeting skills and a simple, cash-based system that really works. This course will help anyone to get more in control of their finances, so they can budget, save and prevent debt. Find out more about The CAP Money Course here:

There are 4 churches running the CAP Money Course in Southampton:

Courses take place at 1 Colebrook Avenue, SO15 5NS — Shirley Parish hall Contact: Ian Dowdell (07500 603384)

Courses take place at Sholing Baptist Church, SO19 8FS — Contact: Chris Ricketts (07967018456)

Courses take place at Sovereign Place, Upper Northam Road, SO30 4BB — Contact: Ian Chiddle (02380472660)

Courses take place at Waterside Community Church, PO12 1ES — Contact: Alex Norman (07771680900)

Southampton Netley

CAP Job Club is run in partnership with
Netley Christian Fellowship
0800 328 0006
Call for free from landlines and mobiles in the UK.
Our lines are open 8:30am–5:00pm, Monday–Friday.

CAP Job Club Coach: Mike Riddle

Care Act: stay up to date with changes

(updated April 2016)

(updated March 2016)

Carer’s Assessment

A Carer’s Assessment is administered by your local authority.  Any payments arising from it are not means tested and totally separate from any other benefits you may receive.

Download factsheet from Carers UK here

Who can have a carer’s assessment?

Any carer who appears to have a need for support should be offered an assessment.

You will be entitled to an assessment regardless of the amount or type of care you provide, your financial means or your level of need for support. You don’t necessarily have to live with the person you are looking after or be caring full-time to have an assessment. You may be juggling work and care and this is having a big impact on your life.

You can have an assessment whether or not the person you are looking after has had a needs assessment, or if the local council have decided they are not eligible for support.

If you and the person you are looking after agree, a combined assessment of both your needs can be undertaken at the same time.

What help might I get?

Information and advice

Everyone, including those whose needs are considered not to be eligible for support must receive information and advice from the local council. This information and advice should be relevant to your specific circumstances and the local area you live in. It could for example include information about a local carers support organisation.

Support plan

If your local council decides that you meet the eligibility criteria and therefore have ‘eligible needs’, then providing you want them to, they must meet these needs and draw up a support plan detailing how these needs will be met.

It may be agreed that the best way to help you as a carer is by providing services directly to you, by providing services to the person you are looking after, or a combination of both.

The local council can provide services themselves, or arrange services through another organisation. Alternatively, you or the person you are looking after can request direct payments, which are payments which enable you to buy services to meet your eligible needs. For more information you can view the direct payments section of our website.

Some examples of the kind of help that could be available directly to you as a carer:

  • help getting around: taxi fares, driving lessons, repairs and insurance, costs for a car where transport was crucial
  • technology to support you: mobile phone, computer where it is not possible to access computer services from a local library
  • help with housework or gardening
  • help to relieve stress, improve health and promote wellbeing such as a gym membership

Some examples of the kind of help that could be available to the person you are looking after, in order to help you as a carer:

  • changes to the disabled person’s home to make it more suitable
  • equipment such as a hoist or grab rail
  • a care worker to help provide personal care at home
  • a temporary stay in residential care/respite care
  • meals delivered to the disabled person’s home
  • a place at a day centre
  • assistance with travel, for example to get to a day centre
  • laundry services
  • replacement care so you can have a break

How will the local council decide whether I am eligible for support?

Following your assessment, to be able to receive services and/or direct payments from the local council, you will need to meet the national eligibility criteria and therefore have what the law calls ‘eligible needs’.

Generally speaking, you will meet the eligibility criteria if there is (or is likely to be) a significant impact on your wellbeing as a result of you caring for another person.

There are three questions that the local council will need to consider when making their decision.

  1. Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
  2. Does your caring role have an effect on you?
  3. Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?

If the answer to all three questions is yes, then you will have eligible needs.

Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Offer advice and guidance around benefits and debt

Also a budgeting tool here.

Tel: 023 8033 3868 | 023 8022 1406
Address: 3 Kings Park Road, Southampton, SO15 2AT


DAIS Disability Advice Independence Support CIC
(previously Southern Health Budgets)

Their new business address is DAIS CIC, 10th floor Duke Keep, Marsh lane, Southampton, SO14 3EX. Email:

They have now expanded to all Disability related issues, form filling to Personal health budget set up. So please don’t be afraid to contact them for help.

Dealing with Debt Toolkit – Southampton City Council


Direct Payments – information posted below is provided on the Carers UK website

Carers UK Logo Direct Payment

What is a direct payment?

Direct payments are payments from the local council for people who have been assessed as needing help, and who would like to arrange and pay for their own care and support services. These payments are made directly to the disabled person (or to someone acting on their behalf), to arrange their own care package.

Who can get a direct payment?

Anyone who is assessed as needing care services has the right to request a direct payment instead of having those services provided by their local council. There are limited circumstances when direct payments are not awarded, however the majority of those already receiving, or those assessed as needing, services have a right to direct payments. These include:

  • older people who have been assessed as needing community care services
  • disabled people aged 16 and over, including those with short as well as long term needs
  • carers, in place of receiving carers’ services
  • families with disabled children
  • disabled parents
Are direct payments compulsory?

No. It is always the choice of the person receiving care (or the person acting on their behalf) whether to receive direct payments or continue getting services from the local council.

I am already receiving services from the local council – can I switch to direct payments?

Yes, you can ask the local council to change to direct payments.

As a carer, what involvement do I have with the direct payments for the person I look after?

It depends on the capacity of the person are looking after ie if they have sufficient understanding and memory to comprehend the consequences of managing the direct payment. If the person lacks mental capacity then you or another person who may be acting on their behalf, may be asked to manage the direct payment for them.

In some cases like this, the direct payment can be paid into a ‘user controlled trust’ (also known as an ‘Independent Living Trust’). The trust is used to manage money paid via direct payments but can include money from other sources. Trustees can include family members and/or professionals.

Children under 16 cannot receive direct payments in their own right but they can be paid to their parents who will manage them on their behalf. When a parent chooses direct payments the local council still has responsibility under the Children Act 1989 to assess and review the needs of the disabled child and family.

How much will the direct payments be?

The amount depends on the individual’s needs. Local councils should pay enough to cover the support that individuals have been assessed as needing, and users should not find themselves doing without those services because they cannot afford them.

However, a local council may only be willing to pay for the cheapest agency, which they deem as providing an ‘adequate service’, even though a more expensive agency better meets the needs of the disabled person. If those offered direct payments feel that the money offered is not enough, then they do not have to accept it.

What can direct payments be spent on?

Direct payments are given to buy services (including equipment) that the disabled person has been assessed as needing. The local council will set out what the money can and cannot be used for. Some people use direct payments to employ careworkers for personal care, others prefer to get help with domestic work like cleaning and laundry.

Although direct payments are designed to support independent living, and cannot be used to pay for permanent residential accommodation, disabled people may be able to use the money to pay for short breaks ie respite care. Local councils may also agree to allow users to combine support, so that some needs can be met by the local council, and others can be met through direct payments.

How much money will we get to pay a care worker?

There is no set amount. The person you are looking after will need to be sure that they are receiving an amount that will fully cover their costs, including insurance and administration, and a criminal records bureau check.

Does receiving direct payments mean being an employer?

It depends. If the money is used to employ a care agency then that agency will have responsibility for all employment rules and procedures for the staff providing care. However, if direct payment users take on staff directly, then they will be classed as an employer.

What does being an employer entail?

If the disabled person (or someone acting on their behalf) employs staff directly, those receiving direct payments are bound by all the laws that cover employment and would be responsible for things like payroll, workplace insurance, auto enrolment duties, health and safety and recruitment.

While there should be some support available from local councils for general direct payment administration, by accepting direct payments the user accepts responsibility for the arrangement and administration of their services. If employing staff directly this can include a considerable amount of employment administration, such as payroll and recruitment. You may be able to get help with this through local independent living services, which you can search for through the Disability Rights UK website or the Centre for Independent Living website (for Northern Ireland).

What happens if the care worker is ill or away on holiday?

You need to plan emergency back up services to ensure the person you are looking after will have the care they need if the care worker is away.

Are there restrictions on who you can employ?

Yes. The money cannot usually be used to employ a spouse, partner or a close relative who lives in the same household as the person receiving care, close relatives who live elsewhere are usually permitted. The council can waive these restrictions in some circumstances and direct payment users should discuss the employment of family or partners with their council.

What checks are there on how you spend the money?

If the disabled person (or someone acting on their behalf) receives direct payments, they will need to account for the money spent. The local council will tell them what records need to be kept. Information they may have to provide could include timesheets signed by the workers or receipts for services from agencies.

I’ve tried a direct payment but I’m not happy with it, what can I do?

Direct payments are voluntary, and so the disabled person (or someone acting on their behalf) can change their mind about them. If that happens they should contact the local council as quickly as possible to discuss the matter and ask for services to be provided directly.

Direct Payment Information – Drop-in Sessions

Spectrum Logo

Spectrum are starting monthly drop-in sessions for Service Users, Carers and Adult Social Care staff to call in for advice and information on any aspect of setting up, managing and trouble-shooting issues around Direct Payments. This may include managing/calculating the budget, employment status, using payroll services, understanding/managing paperwork, payment of contributions etc.

If a Service user or Carer would like to know how to access direct payment support services online we can demonstrate on a tablet/laptop or they can bring in their own so we can help them to set up desktop icons/bookmarks for the sites required.

Sessions are on the first Monday of each month from 11:30 – 13:00 at Spectrum’s offices in Unity 12 (address below). No booking required, just call in.

Address: 9-19 Rose Rd, Southampton SO14 6TE


About us

SupportDosh provides financial advocacy, appointeeship, account management and other money support to adults with a learning disability.

EqualDosh wants people with a learning disability to be treated equally. We help people to be more independent and have more control of their own money.

Person centredDosh will support you in a person-centred way. This means we will support you to do what you want.  The Dosh Promise shows how we support each person to achieve their goals.


Who we are – our staff

DirectorDosh has a Managing Director called Steve Raw. We also have local financial advocates in different areas of the country and a central administration office.

AdvocateThe financial advocates will support you and your circle of support. They will meet you and talk to you about your money.

OfficeThe administration office supports the financial advocates. They can check that you are getting the right money from your benefits and pay bills for you.


AddressThe West House
Alpha Court
Swingbridge Road
Grantham, Lincolnshire
NG31 7XT


Telephone0300 303 1288

Spectrum Centre for Independent Living CIC
Unity 12, 9-19 Rose Road,
Southampton SO14 6TE

Tel: 023 8020 2641 (direct dial)
Tel: 023 8033 0982 (reception)
Fax: 023 8020 2945
Minicom: 023 8020 2649
Text: 023 8020 2649


Disability Living Allowance: Information for claimants

Information and guidance from the DWP here:


DWP – National Partnership Team

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. As the UK’s biggest public service department it administers the State Pension and a range of working age, disability and ill health benefits to over 22 million claimants and customers.

Contact the below numbers for support, to gain information and advice or help to make a claim.

Carers Allowance Unit – 08456084321
Attendance Allowance Service Centre – 08456056055
Disability Living Allowance Helpline – 08457123456
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – 08458503322
Pension Service – 08456060265

DORCAS Project – Scratch

Household items and furniture donations. Agency referral only, complete form on website

Tel: 02380 773 132 33
Address: Mount Pleasant, Industrial Estate, Southampton, SO14 0SP

Entitled To

This website can be used to calculate possible entitlements available.

Family Fund

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people, helping 72,043 families last year with over £33 million of grants and services.

We believe that all families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people should have the same opportunities as others. Beginning with the most vulnerable, those on low incomes, and considering all conditions against our disability criteria, we aim to make a difference to outcomes for children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses and the lives of the families raising them across the UK.

We provide grants for a wide range of items, such as washing machines, sensory toys, family breaks, bedding, tablets, furniture, outdoor play equipment, clothing and computers. It can be a struggle financially, emotionally and physically for families raising a disabled or seriously ill child, and these grants help break down many of the barriers families face, improving their quality of life and easing the additional daily pressures.

Call us on 01904 621115

4 Alpha Court
Monks Cross Drive
York YO32 9WN

Frontline Debt Advice

Expert assistance to those who are disadvantaged by the burden of debt, often through no fault of their own. We also specialise in offering independent, expert benefit advice.

Tel: 02380 552 866

Grants for Holidays

Grocery Aid: For anyone who has worked in the grocery industry


Helpline 08088 021 122

If you have at least 5 years’ service in any part of the grocery industry you may be eligible for financial assistance from GroceryAid.

Apply today: Please fill in your details below to begin your application.

You will then receive an email with the application form to fill in and return to them. You can find out more about the type of help available from their  factsheet ‘Financial help for grocery people‘ or our How We Can Help page.

If you require any help completing the application form please contact their Welfare Team on 01252 875925, email or call the confidential GroceryAid Helpline 24/7 on freephone 08088 021122.

GroceryAid Helpline

GroceryAid Helpline

The freephone GroceryAid Helpline is also available to everyone in the industry – those currently working who need a bit of extra help and also former grocery industry colleagues.

Subjects covered include:

  • Financial support and advice, including benefits information
  • Personal issues including family, children and relationships
  • Carers Programme for those who care for others
  • Career support
  • Health and mental health issues
  • Legal issues
  • Telephone counselling
  • Help with depression and anxiety through a supported and approved programme

Home Heat Helpline

The Home Heat Helpline advises people worried about paying their energy bills and keeping warm during the winter. It also gives advice to low-income households in urgent need of heating help and advice.

Tel: 0800 33 66 99

Please tell them which one you are a customer of and also that you have heard about their service through us.

Telephone: 0300 777 7772

IncomeMax CIC
41-43 Brentwood Road

Independent personal money advice for the real world

Increase your income

We find millions of pounds of unclaimed benefits, grants and other financial help for customers every year

Reduce household bills

We know what help is available for priority bills like energy, water, rent, mortgages & council tax

Deal with debt

We can help you regain your financial freedom and stay in control of your finances in good times and bad

Jobcentre Plus

Tel: 0845 6060 234
Address: St Cross House, 18 Bernard Street, Southampton, SO14 2HP

Money Advice Service

Online Budget Planner:

Money Advice Trust

Debt advice services

They ensure that high quality, free, and independent advice is available across the UK through our telephone and online advice services.

Debt advice

 For free, confidential and independent advice on how to deal with your debts call National Debtline free on 0808 808 4000 or visit or use the interactive online advice service
If you are self-employed or a small business owner, call Business Debtline free on 0800 197 6026 or visit
If you’re an advice agency looking to order resources visit the agencies page.

Money Advice Trust
21 Garlick Hill

020 7489 7796

Email us

National Debtline

National Debtline is a free, independent and confidential debt advice service run by the charity Money Advice Trust.

Tel: 0808 808 4000



Over 20 years helping people to deal with their debts and get on with living their life. Comprehensive guidance on a wide range of practical, long term debt solutions to more than 80,000 people..

Power of Attorney

Government guidance on making a lasting power of attorney here.

Click on this link to download the full document: LP12_make_and_register_LPA_guidance_0915

LPA Summary

SARC – Southampton Advice & Representation Centre Ltd.

Specialise in welfare benefits law and employment law. We offer a wide variety of support on these issues to residents of Southampton.

Tel: 02380 431435 11
Address: Portchester Road, Woolston, Southampton, SO19 2JB


seAp Southampton

  • C-App
    Two web-apps, one for ESA and one for PIP, that offer guidance, advice and support on most aspects of the application process. You can even have ago at a practice run of the sort of questions you may be asked by an assessor.These two web-apps, created by seAp, with support and funding from Comic Relief and The Legal Education Foundation and the tech wizards at Neontribe, are fully independent and are completely free to use.
  • Independent Health Complaints Advocacy
    Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:

    • Express their views and concerns.
    • Access information and services.
    • Defend and promote their rights and responsibilities.
    • Explore choices and options

    An advocate is someone who provides advocacy support when you need it. An advocate might help you access information you need or go with you to meetings or interviews, in a supportive role. You may want your advocate to write letters on your behalf, or speak for you in situations where you don’t feel able to speak for yourself.

    Our advocates will spend time with you to get to know your views and wishes and work closely to the Advocacy Code of Practice.

    Advocacy can be helpful in all kinds of situations where you:

    • Find it difficult to make your views known.
    • Need other people listen to you and take your views into account.

Tel: 0300 3435726     Email:      Text: 80800 keyword SEAP

Southampton City Council – help with applying

Help with applying for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction. If you need help completing the application form or need to arrange a visit because of illness or disability.


SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living CIC

For information, advice and support on how to set up and manage Direct Payments, please contact SPECTRUM who provide this service across ALL carer needs.

SPECTRUM are starting monthly drop-in sessions for ALL Service Users, Carers and Adult Social Care staff to call in for advice and information on any aspect of setting up, managing and trouble-shooting issues around Direct Payments. This may include managing / calculating the budget, employment status, using payroll services, understanding / managing paperwork, payment of contributions etc.

If a Service user or Carer would like to know how to access direct payment support services online we can demonstrate on a tablet / laptop or they can bring in their own so we can help them to set up desktop icons / bookmarks for  the sites.

First Monday of each month from 11.30 – 1pm at SPECTRUM’s offices in Unity 12 (address below). No booking required, just call in.

7th September

5th October

2nd November

7th December

4th January 2016

1st February 2016

7th March 2016

Additional dates may be added but feel free to call and arrange to visit the office if you’d like a face-to-face appointment.

The centre is run by and for Disabled People to promote the meaningful inclusion of Disabled People into the community. By ‘Disabled People’ we refer to people with a physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological, emotional, or any other hidden impairment. We therefore include people with learning difficulties, system survivors, cancer survivors and those living with HIV/AIDS.

We see our roles as providing ‘user led’ services and campaigning for the rights of Disabled People.

Tel: 023 8033 0982
Address: Unity 12, 9-19 Rose Road, Southampton, SO14 6TE

Stairlift Funding

The link below takes you to a page specifically about grants that are available to help with the cost of purchasing a stairlift. It contains a grant searching tool, the “DFG Finder”, which shows the Disabled Facilities Grant contact information for every council. You can see this tool under the Disabled Facilities Grant section of this page:

StepChange Debt Charity

StepChange helps change the lives of thousands of people every week. Their expert advice is impartial and personalised to each individual situation.

Tel: 0800 138 1111  Mon-Fri 8am-8pm Sat 8am-4pm

For expert debt advice talk to one of their advisors, or use Debt Remedy, their online debt advice tool.

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Tax Credits – HMRC

Information and advice on tax credits

Tel: 0845 300 3900
Address: HM Revenue & Customs, Tax Credit Office, Preston, PR1 0SB

The Money Advice Service

Free and impartial money advice, set up by government

  • Advice and guides to help improve your finances
  • Tools and calculators to help you keep track and plan ahead
  • Support in person, over the phone and online

Call us

Give us a call for free and impartial money advice.

0300 500 5000 *

  • Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
  • Saturday, 9am to 1pm
  • Sunday and Bank Holidays, closed

* Calls cost the same as calling an 01 or 02 number. If you have a “free minutes” call package, check with your provider that 03 numbers are included.


Turn2Us Logo

Useful website to work out benefit entitlements & possible personal grants. For individuals who are not able to access the website, our freephone helpline is open all year from 9am to 8pm Mon-Fri

Tel: 0808 802 2000

Welfare Information Phone Line – Independent Advice Line

Tel: 023 8001 0883
Mon-Fri | 10am-12.30pm | 1.30pm – 4pm.
There will be an answering machine at all other times.

Welfare Rights & Money Advice – Southampton City Council

We can:

  • check you are receiving the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to
  • assist with drawing up a budget plan that will enable you to see exactly what your financial position is
  • explain which debts should be paid first and why they are so important
  • advise on the best options available to help resolve your debt problems
  • help respond to court action
  • give you information and skills to regain control of your finances


Working Families

Advice for parents and carers on working and living

Helpline for advice on rights at work: 0300 012 0312
Waving not drowning helpline: 02070 170 072


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