Important Notice

Customer update

Government guidance has recently changed however, we will be keeping our current Covid secure working practices in place. We believe this the safest decision for our customers and communities. In addition, this enables us to continue providing our services and vital repairs work.

Here’s more information about what you can expect from us and how we intend to work safely in your home.

Last Updated: 19/07/2021
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We’re here to help, so don’t struggle with your financial worries alone.

Whether you need free advice about your debt problem, want some support with tackling a persistent debt, or are worried about the impact of coronavirus on your finances, we want you to know that free help is available.

Our expert team of Money Advisers are on hand and can:

  • offer advice on money management and budgeting
  • improve your financial health
  • explain Universal Credit and the impact it may have on you
  • help you tackle debt issues
  • make sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to
  • help you open a bank account, set up Direct Debits, and access other whg support services.

Access to the whg Money Advice team is free, and whilst we aren’t able to have in-person appointments, you can call or email us at money.advice.service@whgrp.co.uk

Coronavirus money advice support

Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

We will provide as much support as we can to help you through this uncertain time. If you have any concerns about your tenancy or keeping up with payments, please get in touch, so we can help you explore all the options available to you.

Read through our range of FAQs below for more information around general money advice and Coronavirus.

Debt Awareness

Whether you need free advice about your debt problem, want some support with tackling a persistent debt, or are worried about the impact of coronavirus on your finances, we want you to know that free help is available.

If you find you are in debt crisis, don’t panic, you are not alone. Dealing with debt can be complicated, but the first step is to acknowledge that you need to act now and then take the next step and access advice and support.

Free, confidential and independent agencies that will not charge include:

whg Money Advice team:  Money.Advice.Service@whgrp.co.uk / 0300 555 6666

Stepchange

The Money Advice Service

National Debt Line

Citizens Advice

Never borrow money from an unlicensed lender, even if it’s someone you know. If you get caught in this trap, contact the Illegal Money Lending Team on 0300 555 2222.
Prepare a list of the debts you have, this should include:

  • Who you owe the debt to
  • The amount you pay each month
  • The total outstanding balance
  • Whether it is a priority or non-priority debt
  • What legal action, if any is being taken against you

Priority creditors have stronger powers to get their money back than non-priority creditors and so must be dealt with first. Common priority debts include rent, gas, council tax and income tax.

Non-priority creditors have less power to make you pay, but creditors can take you to court to get you to pay and may ending up costing you more. Common non-priority debts include credit cards, unsecured loans, unsecured overdrafts and catalogues.

If you are unsure of details about your debts, you can get free copies of your credit reports from Money Saving ExpertEquifax and Clear  Score

By doing a ‘money makeover’ you can really see where you can save on everyday expenses and will really make a difference to the amount of money you have left each month.

Ways to save include:

  • Getting a discount on your council tax
  • Switching to a cheaper deal for your gas and electricity
  • Switching to a cheaper broadband, TV, or phone deal
  • Switching to a cheaper supermarket to save money on food shopping and meals
  • Planning your meals in advance
  • Getting cheaper travel
  • Paying for your prescriptions in advance
  • Buying recycled/upcycled instead of new Sphock, eBay, Freecycle

Try the links below, which are full of tips and ideas on saving money

Money Saving Expert: Stop Spending Budgeting tool 

StepChange: saving money and increasing income

Quidsin Magazine

Most of us are feeling the pinch and who wouldn’t like a little cash boost to make ends meet or pay for a treat now and again? There are plenty of ways to do it and sometimes all it takes is the decision to get ourselves better off.


Benefits 

Make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. Use a free benefits checker such as:

Citizens Advice

Money Saving Expert

Entitledto

Employment

Could you look for an additional job where you work part time? Or maybe you could try to increase your hours at work? This isn’t always easy, but even working an extra hour or two a week can provide you with income to help pay your household bills.

Ask for board

If you’ve got adult children living with you, ask them to make payments towards the cost of running the home. If you are under-occupying a property, consider downsizing.

Check your tax band

Make sure that you’re paying the right amount of tax. Check your tax code and make sure that you’re claiming any tax credits you’re entitled to.

Once you have a full picture of your finances you should be in a position for the next stage, which is to determine the best solution for you.

The agencies listed below have many useful resources and self-help tools to help you understand the different solutions available. Once you have read the information you may feel you can deal directly with a creditor and make an offer to reduce the debt gradually. If in doubt always seek guidance from a regulated debt advice agency.

Rent payments and benefits

We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Our expert money advisors are keeping up to date on all the options and support available to people during this difficult period. If you have any concerns they are here to talk things through.

Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Please contact us as soon as possible or email money.advice.service@whgrp.co.uk so our dedicated Money Advice Team can try and support you through this difficult time.

Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

However, people who are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus may need financial support quickly. The government have made special arrangements for anyone affected by coronavirus

You may be able to claim ESA (employment support allowance), and you should think about applying for Universal Credit if you are worried you are going to struggle. This website can help you get started.

If you are unsure what you might be eligible for or don’t know where to start, the whg Money Advice Service is here to help and you should contact them as soon as possible.

No. People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.

People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.

You should not attend the jobcentre unless directed to do so for an exceptional purpose, for example to collect your Payment Exception Service vouchers.

People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible. You will be able to complete this process over the telephone, rather than in person.

For the latest updates on this matter, click here.

Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The advice on for self-employed people from the government is changing all the time. A full support package has not yet been announced for those who are self-employed and unable to work.

However, you may be able to claim ESA (employment support allowance), and you should think about applying for Universal Credit if you are worried you are going to struggle. This website can help you get started.

As ever, whg’s expert money advisors are keeping up to date on all the options and support available to people during this difficult period. If you have any concerns they are here to talk things through and can help point you in the right direction: please contact us as soon as possible or email money.advice.service@whgrp.co.uk so our team can try and support you.

We know that there is a great community spirit amongst many of our customers. If you are well and able to do so, we would encourage you to consider checking in on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours over the phone or online. If you or anyone you know may need any extra support from us at this time, please contact us

Making Connections Walsall is a friendly service for vulnerable people and families. If you need help with:

  • shopping
  • picking up prescriptions
  • food parcels
  • financial advice
  • reassurance calls/befriending

Email: COVID-19communityhelp@walsall.gov.uk
Call: 0121 380 6690

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Money matters

Advice and support if you have financial concerns.

  • whg’s expert money advisors are keeping up to date on all of the options and the support available to people. They can help guide you if you are struggling with bills: whg Money Advice Service.

    Energy bills

    The government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers to ensure you don’t face any additional hardships in heating or lighting your home during the coronavirus outbreak.

    If you are struggling with money problems options will include:

    • reviewing bill payment plans, including debt repayment plans
    • payment breaks or reductions in how much you pay
    • giving you greater time to pay
    • in some cases access to hardship funds.

    If you think you can’t afford to pay for any extra gas or electricity used because you’re having to self-isolate at home, support will be available through your energy supplier. Your supplier must take into account how much you can afford, and will explain your options.

    The latest guidance on energy supply and coronavirus can be found on the OfGem website here.

    Water bills

    Water suppliers are ready to work with customers who are worried about their ability to pay. You should check their websites for more information.

Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

As people required to stay at home where possible, you may need access to financial support very quickly if your income has been affected due to being unable to go to work.

You may be able to claim ESA (employment support allowance), and you should think about applying for Universal Credit if you are worried you are going to struggle. This website can help you get started.

If you are unsure what you might be eligible for or don’t know where to start, the whg Money Advice Service is here to help and you should contact them as soon as possible.

The sooner you make a claim for benefits, like Universal Credit, the sooner you will receive payments. You have the option of taking an advance payment of Universal Credit if you need the money earlier.

  • Warning for tax credit claimants:  Applying for Universal Credit will mean that your tax credit claim will end immediately. It isn’t possible to re-open a tax credit claim once it has closed.

Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

A support package for those who are self-employed and unable to work, called the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), has been announced by the government. Those who are eligible should now have been contacted by HMRC. If you think you are eligible but have not heard anything, you should check your eligibility here.

You may also be able to claim ESA (employment support allowance), and you should think about applying for Universal Credit if you are worried you are going to struggle. This website can help you get started.

As ever, whg’s expert money advisors are keeping up to date on all the options and support available to people during this difficult period.

We will do all we can to help you find the best solution for your individual circumstances, which may include coming to a different agreement for your rent payments.

If you have any concerns they are here to talk things through and can help point you in the right direction: please contact us as soon as possible or email money.advice.service@whgrp.co.uk so our team can try and support you.

Many businesses have staff shortages due to coronavirus. If you are interested in any of these roles, whg’s Employment and Training team are here to help.

Although the team can’t offer face-to-face support like normal, they are still available to help you with a range of other support like job applications and work searches.

Call them on 01922 426803 or email Employment.Training@whgrp.co.uk to get started.

We are regularly sharing local job vacancies on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.

Taking out a loan is one way to get an immediate cash boost, but often they can cause long term pain as they accrue interest over time.

Later down the line you could find yourself in a worse position than you were before, as you will need to pay back the loan.

The sooner you make a claim for benefits, like Universal Credit, the sooner you will receive payments. You have the option of taking an advance payment of Universal Credit if you need the money earlier. This website can help you get started.

If you are thinking of taking out a loan, please contact us first to discuss your options. We will do all we can to help you find the best option for your individual circumstances, which may include coming to a different agreement for your rent payments.

Customers with prepayment meters who are self-isolating or unable to leave their home should speak to their energy supplier for their options. This may include:

  • someone being sent to top up your prepayment card or token
  • having funds added to your meter credit
  • having a preloaded gas or electricity card sent to you in the post.

No credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak.

whg provide access to some meters. If you know this is the case for your meter, and your energy supplier or another person needs to access the meter, you need to let us know.

The latest guidance on energy supply and coronavirus can be found on the OfGem website here.

Remember that whg offices are now closed, so we can no longer accept rent or other payments in cash, but we want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

As at 01/04/2020 some bank branches remain open, although many have reduced their hours. You should check online and contact your banking provider for information on allowing someone else to collect your money if you really need it.

If you have a Post Office account:

If you can’t get to a Post Office branch or a Post Office ATM on a regular basis, you can nominate a helper known as a permanent agent to have access to your account. Ensure this is someone you trust completely as they will have full access to your account with their own card and PIN.

To do this, complete a permanent agent access form P6163 available at your local Post Office* or by calling the POca helpline on 03457 22 33 44. To keep your account safe, only one helper can have access at any one time and they must be at least 16 years old.

Please note: You can ask someone to collect sand take the form to the Post Office on your behalf as long as the form is complete and has been signed by yourself.

My local Post Office is closed and I need to collect my money:

If your local branch is closed it will have a notice advising of the next nearest open branch. You can also use a Post Office ATM to withdraw cash from your POca. You can search for the nearest open branch using the branch finder on the Post Office website: postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder

Further information can be found on: postoffice.co.uk/post-office-card-account

If you are unable to withdraw money you can also consider nominating someone else to collect your money for you. The pension/benefit is still paid into your account and then the person you have chosen can go to your account provider and draw it out for you. You should contact your account provider for information on allowing someone else to collect your money.

If you need help putting food on the table, whg will work with you to help you get through your crisis and can advise how and where you can access your local food bank. You may need a referral from whg to be able to access the food and supplies you need, so you should speak to us first.

If you are unable to attend the food bank in person, please let us know so we can see if alternative arrangements can be made.

Here to help

Whether you would just like an informal chat, or would like to take a closer look at your finances, we are here to help. Just contact us and ask to speak to a money advisor.

The team are happy to help with your money worries and can:

  • offer advice on money management and budgeting
  • improve your financial health
  • explain Universal Credit and the impact it may have on you
  • help you tackle debt issues
  • make sure you are getting all of the benefits you are entitled to
  • help you open a bank account, set up Direct Debits, and access other whg support services.
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I was a bit worried about Universal Credit, but I feel much more confident now.”

Lisa
'UC Savvy' workshop attendee
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