Where to get debt and benefits advice

Problems with debts, benefits or tax credits make it harder to pay your rent or mortgage.

Stay in touch with your landlord or lender.

Let them know you're taking steps to get advice and deal with your situation.

The Breathing Space scheme can help people struggling with debt.

How a debt adviser can help

A debt adviser can help you to:

  • claim benefits 

  • manage your money

  • prioritise your debts

  • deal with council tax arrears

  • draw up a budget or financial statement

  • negotiate your repayments with lenders and other creditors

Some debt advice is regulated. For example, advice on breathing space, debt relief orders, IVAs or bankruptcy.

Find free debt advice

Shelter does not give regulated debt advice but these charities do:

They have good information, self help tools, online chat and phone services.

MoneyHelper has a free debt advice search tool that includes local face-to-face services.

Be wary of debt management companies that charge for their services.

Some advertise free debt advice online but then offer debt repayment plans that you have to pay for.

Get legal advice if your home is at risk

You could get free legal advice and representation if you're:

  • on benefits or have a low income

  • facing eviction or repossession because of rent or mortgage arrears

Civil Legal Advice gives phone advice and can refer you to a solicitor for more help.

Check if you qualify on GOV.UK

You can contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 and ask them to call you back.

How a benefits adviser can help

A benefits adviser could help you to:

  • claim benefits

  • deal with disputes and delays

  • check your benefit entitlement

You can get advice on universal credit, housing benefit, jobseekers allowance, income support, tax credits and disability benefits.

Specialist benefits advisers can help with reviews and tribunal appeals.

Find free benefits advice

Advice centres, law centres and charities give free advice.

Some give general benefits advice and others offer more specialist help.


Citizens Advice: Debt, benefits and council tax advice by phone, email and online chat.

Gingerbread: Debt, benefits and other advice. A helpline for single parents.

Age UK: Benefits, debt, savings and other advice. Advice line on 0800 678 1602.

Law Centres Network: Local law centres often give specialist benefit advice.

StepChange: Free, confidential and expert debt advice and guidance.

Questions about applying for universal credit?

Call a Help to Claim adviser at Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8 444 or use their online chat.

Last updated: 24 June 2022

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