• Money Advice

    Get help and advice on financial issues

Money Advice

From time to time you might need some extra help when it comes to managing your money.

If you’re struggling to pay your rent it’s very important that you call us on 0345 60 20 540 as soon as possible.

We can refer you to our Money Advice team who can give you guidance and help you to maintain your tenancy.

What is the Money Advice service?

Our experienced team of Money Advisors offer free and confidential advice about how to manage your finances. They can help you work through any financial problems that you're having and find a solution that suits you.

Our advisors can help you to:

  • Claim benefits
  • Apply for reconsiderations
  • Attend tribunals 
  • Resolve debt problems
  • Challenge unenforceable debt
  • Budget you finances
  • Access foodbanks

Who can use the Money Advice service?

Our Money Advice service is only available to our customers. This includes all customers living in any of our homes.

There are many reasons why people fall into financial problems. Our advisors are experienced in supporting people who have faced a range of health, financial, welfare and personal challenges.

They'll look carefully at your individual situation to offer the best way forward for you.

  • Get in touch

    If you’d like Money Advice get in touch and we'll arrange for one of our advisors to contact you.

Watch this short video to find out more about the service and hear how we helped one of our customers.

 Click below to find out about the different services we have available.

  • Money management sessions

    Our Money Advice team runs a money management session which will provide you with the skills needed to manage your income and outgoings. These sessions are arranged depending on demand. Topics covered on the day include:

    • Preparing a personal budget
    • Prioritising bills
    • Opening a bank account
    • Dealing with debts

    The course lasts 3 hours and there will be tea, coffee and other refreshments available. If you'd like to attend one of courses please register your interest here.

  • Money advice factsheets
  • Benefit advice

    Universal credit

    You'll need a recent rent statement from us in order to be given the housing element of Universal Credit. 

    Please fill in this form and we'll give you a call and support you through the application process.

    Benefits cap

    Who does the benefit cap it affect?

    The cap affects households where combined benefit income is more than £384.62 per week for couples and single parents and £257.69 per week for single people.

    How is the benefit cap calculated?

    If you receive more than the capped amount your housing benefit will be reduced.  This means you will have to make up the difference from your income to ensure that your weekly rent is paid.

    However, you should be allowed to keep at least £0.50p of your housing benefit to allow you to claim support known as Discretionary Housing Payments.

    Which benefits are included in the cap?

    • Housing Benefit
    • Jobseekers Allowance
    • Child Benefit
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Bereavement Allowance
    • Widowed Parents Allowance     
    • Incapacity Benefit
    • Employment & Support Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Maternity Allowance
    • Severe Disablement Allowance
    • Widows Pension

    Which benefits are excluded from the cap?

    • Attendance Allowance
    • Employment & Support Allowance (support group)
    • Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments
    • Industrial Injuries Benefits
    • War widows and widowers pensions
    • Guardians Allowance
    • Carers Allowance

    If you’re worried about how you will be affected by the benefit cap and to find out what assistance is available to you, contact our experienced Money Advice Team who can offer you support and guidance

  • Council tax

    Each local authority is responsible for providing its own council tax reduction scheme, so the scheme could be slightly different depending on where you live.

    Some local authorities expect all working age households to contribute something towards their council tax, regardless of income. There are some groups that are protected so you’ll need to check if you fall into one of these groups.

    How is it tested?

    The reduction scheme is what we call ‘means tested’ which means that the decision is based on your income and personal circumstances, as well as those living in your household.

    Who should I get in touch with?

    You can either contact your local authority directly to work out whether you’re entitled to support, or you can speak to our Money Advice Team.  

    Council Tax Support can normally only be backdated by one month so you should claim as soon as you think you’re entitled to support.

    Can I get a council tax discount?

    You may be able to reduce your council tax bill if you qualify for what’s called a ‘status discount’. These discounts aren’t means tested but are linked to your status e.g. if you’re a single person, student or have certain medical conditions.

    Whether you receive an exemption or discount will depend on your individual circumstances and who else lives in the property with you. Below are some of the most common discounts and exemptions.

    • Single person discount – you will qualify for a 25% discount if you are the only qualifying adult living in the household.
    • Students – you must be a full time student.
    • People in detention – if you are in prison or another form of detention. 
    • Severe mental impairments – if you have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning that is likely to be permanent. This condition needs to be medically certified and you’ll need to be entitled to a qualifying disability benefit.
    • Hospital patient – if you’re an inpatient for a long period of time and you can no longer be considered as a resident in your usual home. 

    If you’d like some more information on council tax discounts you can contact your local council or visit their website for all the details.

  • Bank accounts

    Having a bank account should help you take control of your money and will keep it safe and secure at the same time. You can have your wages, benefits and other income paid into your account without worrying about keeping cash in your home. 

    Depending on the type of account you have, you may be able to set up bill payments and direct debits to make sure your bills are paid on time, especially essential bills such as rent and council tax.

    Finding the right account

    There are so many types of accounts out there it’s important that you do some research to find the right one for you. Some accounts have a monthly charge and other are free, some may also offer free travel insurance and other extras which you may not need.  There are also other alternatives such as credit union accounts and post office accounts.   

    For the latest information on opening a new bank account you can use the Money Advice Service who’ve got plenty of information on budgeting and managing your money.

    Types of account

    Account type

     Features

     Packaged Account

     Same as current account

    • Monthly fee of £10-£15
    • May include car breakdown cover, mobile phone and travel insurance

     Think about whether you really need these benefits.  

     Current Account

     

     Features:

    •   Direct debits and standing orders
    •   Debit cards
    •   Withdraw money from cash machines
    •   Access to overdraft (subject to approval)
    •   Monthly fee

     Basic Account

     

     Features:

    • Direct debits and standing orders
    • Cash card

     You won’t have an overdraft facility.

     Credit Union Budget  Account (Jam Jar Account)

     Features:

    • Account divided into sub accounts to help with budgeting
    • Direct debits and standing orders
    • Some landlords will pay the monthly fee for this type of account if you agree to   have your rent paid direct from your account – speak to the Money Advice Team  on 0345 60 20 540 to find out more.

     

    For the latest information about the type of accounts on the market you can visit the Money Advice Service.

    Opening your account

    Once you have chosen the type of account you want, you will need to complete an application form and will be asked to provide proof of your identity (this could be a passport or driving licence) and proof of address (rent book or council tax bill). If you can’t provide these documents you can see if your account provider will accept another document.

    Remember, before you sign up for the account, make sure you understand everything about it such as any fees or charges that you might need to pay. If you have difficulty opening a bank account you may be able to open a credit union account instead.

  • Prioritising your bills

    We want you to be happy and successful in your Midland Heart home and being able to manage your money is a big part of this. Your priority bills include things like rent, council tax, water, TV licence, energy bills, housekeeping, clothing and travel costs. After this you should think about your other costs like mobile phone bills, internet, TV costs and any debts you owe.

    Your priority bills at the top of your essential list are:

     Rent or mortgage    Gas  TV Licence    Travel  
     Council Tax  Electric    Food  Fines

    After these essential items you should think about your other spending. This might include:

    Satellite TV   Catalogues    Birthdays and Christmas  
    Unsecured loans    Clothing  Credit cards

    The affordability calculator can help you to work out your budget based on the amount of money you have coming into your household. If the calculator leaves you with a minus number you should speak to our Money Advice Team by contacting us.

  • Budgeting

    If you're on a low income or struggling to keep on top of your monthly bills, we’ve put together some budgeting top tips and advice to help you get back on track. 

    If you have debt problems you'll also need to spend some time working out how you can start paying these debts off and put arrangements in place with your loan providers.

    Browse the drop down information below to find out more.

    Working out your budget

    To start with you’ll need to work out how much money you've got coming into your household and how much you need to spend. This will form the basic framework of your budget. Once you've worked out your budget, you'll be able to see how much you've got left over to pay off any debts you might have.

    The first thing you need to do to work out your budget is add up all the income (money coming in) for your household. It’s always best to be honest and make sure that your amounts are realistic.

    Listing your income

    Your list might include:

    • Wages or salaries for you and your partner
    • Any benefits, including child benefit and tax credits
    • Maintenance from an ex-partner for you or your children
    • Private or work pension payments
    • Contributions from other family members who live with you
    • Any other regular income received

    Adding up your outgoings

    The next thing you need to write is a detailed list of all your expenses. Again, it’s always good to be honest and make sure you’ve not missed anything, the small things all add up!

    This list might include:

    • Housekeeping – don’t forget to include items such as food, toiletries, school dinners and meals at work, cleaning materials, sweets, children's pocket money, pet food, and cigarettes if you smoke
    • Housing costs – this should include your mortgage or rent, buildings/content insurance, service charges and any insurance cover
    • Council tax
    • Gas, electricity and water charges
    • Telephone charges
    • Travel expenses – include both public transport and the cost of running a car such as road tax, insurance, and maintenance
    • Childcare costs
    • TV licence and any TV rental costs
    • Clothes
    • Any other essential expenses, such as medical and dental costs
    • Money you should set aside for unexpected events – this includes saving for things like the replacement of essential household goods when they break down

    Once you’ve finished your expenses list have a think about whether you can make any cutbacks to help boost your funds.

    Affordability calculator

    The affordability calculator can help you to work out your budget based on the amount of money you have coming into your household. If the calculator leaves you with a minus number, or you’re struggling with debt, speak to our Money Advice team.

  • Travel

    Thinking of travelling today?  It is important to consider your route and the varied transport options available to you.  Follow the below links to a journey planner in your region and where possible pick the greenest travel option available. Most of these would be considered green transport and some offer discounts for family trips like family tickets on the bus. 

    West Midlands

    East Midlands

    Staffordshire

  • How do I complain about advice I was given?

    Complaints

    We try to provide the best possible service to all of our customers however, we know that sometimes things go wrong. 

    For information on making a complaint about the financial advice you have received please visit our complaints section.