With the current cost of living crisis, we realise you may be struggling to pay your bills. The following guide details how the Council may be able to help you and also signposts to other support channels.
If you are a Council tenant, a tenant in the private sector or you have a mortgage, it’s important that you talk to your landlord or lender at the earliest opportunity if you think you will have difficulty paying your rent or mortgage.
You may be entitled to the following to help you with your housing costs:
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments apply to both Council and private sector tenants. These can provide extra money to help with your housing costs on top of any benefit support you may already be receiving. To get a Discretionary Housing Payment, you will need to either already be receiving the old scheme Housing Benefit or the housing contribution element through Universal Credit. To access a Discretionary Housing Payment, please visit https://www.dartford.gov.uk/benefits/apply-discretionary-payments for further details.
Council Tax Reduction
Council Tax Reduction may be available of your household is on a low income. You could receive support towards some or all of your Council Tax bill. To find out more, please visit https://www.dartford.gov.uk/benefits/council-tax-reduction for further details.
£150 Cost of Living payment for Disabled People
The government has confirmed that around six million disabled people in the UK will receive a one-off £150 disability cost-of-living payment from 20 September.
Those being paid a qualifying disability benefit will be paid automatically with the vast majority of those eligible expected to receive their one-off payment within a couple of weeks and by the beginning of October. For those disabled people on low-incomes, this payment comes in addition to other cost-of-living payments totalling £650; £400 for all households to help with energy bills, and an extra £150 for properties in Council Tax bands A-D in England.
More information on this payment is available on the Government website by clicking here.
Help with your utility bills
Most utility companies offer help if you are struggling with your bills, including payment plans. Most water companies also offer discounts for households on low incomes. Please speak to your provider to find out more.
Broadband and phone
It may be worth looking to see if switching suppliers could save money. The utility comparison sites can show potential savings.
The food banks operating in Dartford are:
Methodist Church, Adjacent 43 Spital Street, Dartford, Kent, DA1 2DR
Contact: Sue Swaffer
Facebook: Dartford Foodbank
(Tuesday’s 10am – 12 noon)
St. Botolphs Church Hall, Northfleet, DA11 9EU
Open Wednesday 11am to 1pm
Greenhithe, Stone, Swanscombe, Temple Hill
Tel: 01322 382031
Office hours are 9am-2pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. All enquiries are dealt with at the first opportunity.
Mary’s Child, Temple Hill
The Living Well Centre, St Edmunds Church, St Edmunds Road, Temple Hill DA1 5ND
Open Thursday mornings between 10am and 12noon.
Tel: 01322 311201
Temple Hill Baptist Church, St Edmunds Road, Dartford, DA1 5ND
Open on Saturday mornings 10am to 12pm.
Tel: 01322 281262
The Food Cellar
Christ Apostolic Church, 47-49 High Street, Swanscombe, DA10 0DA
Opening hours: Alternative Thursdays 10am-12pm
Tel: 01322 387096
Free School Meals
If your child is in Year 2 or below, they can get free school meals. Please speak to your school for more details.
If your child is below 19 years of age and in full-time education, they may be eligible for free school meals. Please refer to www.kent.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals for more details.
There are a number of places where you can seek advice about maximising your income and to help you manage your debts:
Help with your income
If you’re on a low income, you may be entitled to Universal Credit, Tax Credits and other benefits. Please follow these links to check you are claiming any monies that you may be entitled to:
Citizens Advice North & West Kent also provide a help to claim service:
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/north-west-kent/ or telephone number 0808 278 7810
If you have difficulty with the benefit calculators and would like to talk to one of our officers to help with this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Money Advice Service
This provides free and impartial money advice. Please visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
If you are struggling to pay your bills, seek help right away. The quicker you act, the more that can be done to help you. The Government’s Money Helper service offers practical advice and money management tools. Please visit www.moneyhelper.org.uk or call 0800 138 7777.
The National Debtline also provides free help. Please visit www.nationaldebtline.org or call 0808 808 4000.
Citizens Advice offer free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on matters such as benefits, housing, family issues and employment problems. Please visit www.citizensadvice.org.ul/local/north-west-kent
Get help with summer holiday childcare costs
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is helping parents and families with financial support to help pay for childcare during the summer holidays.
Through Tax-Free Childcare, families can receive up to £2,000 a year per child – or £4,000 if the child is disabled – to put towards the cost of childcare. It is available for children aged up to 11, or 17 if the child has a disability. The money can help towards the cost of holiday clubs, before and after school clubs, childminders and nurseries and other approved childcare schemes.
The Government will pay 20% of childcare costs by topping up the money paid into a Tax-Free Childcare Account. Parents and carers can find out more by visiting Tax-Free Childcare via the Childcare Choices website.