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Financial Wellbeing

Times are hard for people and many in our communities are experiencing financial distress, particularly those on low incomes. Together in Sussex are empowering people around financial wellbeing by focusing on the important topic of Financial Wellbeing.

Many of us are facing daily challenges relating to the coronavirus epidemic – both in terms of health but also in terms of finance, job security, housing, and caring responsibilities. Together in Sussex has a vision of a fair financial system and addresses the issues of financial exclusion, distress caused by unmanageable money worries and debt.

We organise sessions to provide information and resources about budgeting and money management, and to help build their financial confidence.

Universal Credit
Currently, anyone making a new benefits claim or reporting a change of circumstances, for example, a change in employment, will move to Universal Credit. Eventually, existing benefits claimants will also move to Universal Credit. Universal Credit replaces six in work and out of work benefits:

• Income Support

• Child Tax Credit

• Working Tax Credit

• Housing Benefit

• Income Based ESA

• Income Based JSA Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will continue to be paid along with Universal Credit payments.

Universal Credit does not replace contribution-based JSA & ESA.

Changes to Universal Credit involve the way the benefits are claimed and paid. It is helpful for potential claimants to understand these in advance so that they can prepare.

1. Online applications only: Claims are digital by default requiring applicants to set up an online account. The site is only in English and a claim is only ‘live’ once submitted. In exceptional cases, a phone application may be possible.

2. A bank, building society, or credit union account: Claimants will need an account that is not overdrawn and may need to open a new account to have their payments paid into. If necessary, this can be a basic bank account or a Post Office card account. There is also the option for the first payment to go into a third party’s account (usually one payment only), to give more time to set up a new account.

3. Budgeting monthly: Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears meaning claimants won’t get their money straight away and may need to consider an Advance Payment

4. Paying your rent to your landlord: As Universal Credit includes housing support the recipient is responsible for paying their landlord. People moving from Housing Benefit onto Universal Credit will get 2 weeks’ further rent payments after they claim, paid to them or their landlord. In exceptional circumstances, DWP may consider Alternative Payment Arrangements. Claimants can request an Alternative Payment Arrangement at any point during a Universal Credit claim if they can show that the standard arrangement carries a risk of financial harm to them and/or their family.

There are three options that APAs can offer:

  • Managed Payment: Paying the housing element of Universal Credit directly to a landlord.
  • Changing the payments so that they are more frequent (usually twice a month)
  • Split Payments: Arranging for some of the money to go to each partner

5. One monthly joint payment: Partners who live together and are both eligible for Universal Credit have to make a joint application but will have separate interviews. They will receive just one payment and may need to set up a joint bank account. If they have children they will have to nominate the lead carer who will receive the payment.

Applying for Universal Credit - step-by-step 1.

1. Register for an account online:


2. Complete the online application and remember to SUBMIT it so that your claim is registered

3. Contact your local Jobcentre Plus within 7 days to make an appointment with a work coach

4. Attend an interview with a work coach at Jobcentre Plus. This is sometimes called a ‘work search interview’ or ‘claimant commitment interview’. You can bring someone along to the interview - just let the Jobcentre know in advance.

5. Meet regularly with your work coach who will support you as you look for work.

Citizens Advice ‘Help to Claim’ is still available via 0800 144 8 444 and online - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/help-to-claim/

Covid Cash Course

Would you like to support your Church Community by providing them with information and resources to support their financial health and wellbeing?

To do this you need to:

Register your interest in becoming a Facilitator to deliver the COVID Cash Course here: https://www.justfinancefoundat...

Attend a free 3 hr online training course

Facilitator Training

Just Finance Foundation COVID Cash Course (CCC) is a free course that trains churches, community leaders, and organisations to provide key information and resources to help their communities cope with the variety of money issues that have arisen due to COVID-19.

Many households across the UK have been thrown into financial chaos due to the Coronavirus. People are unsure of:

  • What they’re entitled to
  • All the options of support that are available (and when they may be finishing)
  • How to plan, budget, and cope financially during this period of uncertainty

Generously supported by Allchurches Trust and Nationwide, over 300 churches, charities, organisations, and community leaders have so far been trained through COVID Cash Course.

Designed as information and signposting intervention with Capital Mass and Transforming Communities Together; Covid Cash Course aims to prevent the financial challenges posed by the Coronavirus from causing crisis in local communities.

Debt Advice

In these strange times, many people have questions about their finances, so we’re coordinating some helpful resources from The Money Advice Service.

The coronavirus outbreak is an incredibly stressful period because although this is a health-based emergency, it’s also a financial-based emergency too. The more you can do now to plan ahead will save you time and energy – and importantly, money– when you might not be feeling at your best.

The Money Advice Service has published guidance on how to deal with financial issues.

Our guides include topics such as:

More information can be found here: