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.

How to deal with rent arrears

How to deal with mortgage arrears

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

Regulated debt advice

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

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

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

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

Some advertise free debt advice through online adverts but could be offering debt management plans that you pay for instead.

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 give phone advice and may refer you to a solicitor for further help.

Check if you qualify on GOV.UK

Or contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345

Ask them to call you back if you can't afford the call.

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.

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: 22 April 2022

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