19 Nov 2021

Where can I get help and advice about benefits?

    • Working out what benefits or tax credits you’re entitled to can be tricky, especially with recent welfare changes. Find out where to get free expert advice online, face-to-face or by calling an advice helpline.

      Citizens Advice

      Citizens Advice can give you free, confidential, impartial and independent benefits advice.

      Advice offered

      As well as benefits advice, they can help you resolve problems with debt, housing and many more issues

      Services provided

      • online
      • home visits
      • face-to-face
      • advice helpline
      • email (in some cases).

      Suitable for


      Contact Citizens Advice

      Find your local branch to arrange an appointment, or view a list of phone numbers:

      How to get access to a food bank

      If you’re facing an emergency and have no money to pay for food, you might be able to use a food bank.

      You usually can’t go directly to a foodbank. Most of them will ask you to get a referral voucher from an organisation in your community before you can use them.

      Places where you can get a foodbank voucher include:

      • Citizens Advice
      • your local council
      • GP or health visitor
      • Support worker
      • Social worker
      • Children’s Centre
      • Police.

      If you think you need to use a food bank, follow these steps:

      1. You can search online for food banks in your area. You’ll be able to find out where they are and which local community organisations the foodbank works with who can organise a voucher for you.
      2. Or, a referral organisation can help you find the nearest food bank and give you a voucher. For help with this, go to the Citizens Advice website.
      3. When you arrive at the referral organisation, you’ll be asked for some basic information to find out your needs and check if you can get a voucher.
      4. If you qualify, the referral organisation will give you a voucher to take to the foodbank to exchange for food.
      5. If you need to use a food bank again, you’ll need to get another referral.

      Before visiting a community referral organisations, or a Citizens Advice branch – make sure you check they’re open first, before travelling there.

      If you’ve got your voucher but you’re not able to travel, your nearest food bank might be able to deliver. Contact them to find out.

      Some foodbanks put a limit on the number of times you can use them. If you find yourself relying on them too often, they’ll be able to help you find other support.

      Finding a food bank

      Find an independent food bank near you on the Food Aid Network website

      You can find your nearest Trussell Trust food bank on the Trussell Trust website

      Finding a referral organisation

      Find your nearest Citizens Advice, and its opening times, on the Citizens Advice website

      If you live in Northern Ireland, go to the Advice NI website


      Law Centres

      Law Centres provide free legal advice and representation to disadvantaged people. They may be able to help you with expert advice if you have a complex benefit problem or you want to appeal against a decision made on your benefit entitlement.

      Advice offered

      As well as benefits and welfare rights advice, Law Centres offer legal advice on issues including employment and housing.

      Services provided

      • face-to-face
      • telephone (in some areas).

      Suitable for

      Anyone who can’t afford to pay for legal support.

      Contact your local Law Centre

      In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, find your nearest one on the Law Centres Network website

      In Scotland, find your nearest Law Centre on the Shelter Scotland website

      Macmillan benefits advisers for people affected by cancer

      A Macmillan benefits adviser can help you work out what financial help you’re entitled to.

      Advice offered

      They offer specialist advice to help ease money worries.

      Including information on:

      • loans
      • grants
      • benefits
      • tax credits.

      Services provided

      • face-to-face
      • home visits
      • telephone.

      Suitable for

      Anyone affected by cancer. 

      Find a Macmillan benefits adviser

      Find one near you on the Macmillan Cancer Support website

      Age UK benefits advice for older people

      Some local branches of Age UK offer a free, confidential benefits advice service.

      Advice offered

      Practical assistance to make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.

      Services provided

      • face-to-face
      • home visits
      • telephone
      • help with completing claim forms.

      Suitable for

      Anyone who’s over State Pension age and living in the area covered by the local branch.

      Contact Age UK

      Call the Age UK Helpline: 0800 169 6565 (8am to 7pm, 365 days a year).

      Go to the Age UK website

      Or put ‘Age UK’ plus the name of your local area into a search engine.

      Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline

      Gingerbread provides advice and practical support for single parents, including advice on benefits and tax credits.

      You can call free on 0808 802 0925 (Monday: 10am to 6pm, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10am to 4pm, Wednesday: 10am to 1pm and 5pm to 7pm). Or go to the Gingerbread website

      Northern Ireland

      Visit the Parenting NI website You can also call them free on 0808 8010 722 (Monday to Thursday: 9.30am to 3.30pm, and Friday: 9.30am to 12.30pm).

      Other free help and advice

      Debt advice

      If you’re worried about keeping up with debt repayments, there’s lots of free, confidential help and advice available.

      Find out more on our Where to go to get free debt advice page.

      Housing advice

      If you have rent or mortgage arrears, or you’re worried about losing your home, Shelter offer confidential advice on a range of housing issues.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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