Money, debt and benefits
- Bank accounts
- Citizen's Advice Bureau
- Costs to Set-Up Your Home
- Darlington Credit Union
- Dealing with debt
- Finding a job
- Food stores
- Free early education
- Furniture help
- Getting the best deal from energy suppliers, home phone and internet
- Help Hubs
- Loan sharks
- Mobile advice cooperatives
- Moving costs
- Ongoing Cost
- School meals
- Universal credit
- Welfare rights
- Other useful contacts and specialist advice
You can use a bank account to receive any benefits and pay your rent and bills.
Paying your bills by direct debit is the easiest way to pay as your bank automatically makes the payments for you.
Some banks (including Darlington Credit Union) offer 'jam jar' accounts - where you can divide your account in different 'pots' for bills and savings.
You can check you are receiving the right amount of Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support and other benefits by using this benefits calculator [external link]
Some benefits such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support & Discretionary housing payment can be applied for directly from Darlington Borough Council.
Please go to our benefits page for more information and ways to apply
Useful links to apply for other benefits
- Attendance Allowance [external link]
- Bereavement Support Payments [external link]
- Carers Allowance [external link]
- Child Benefit [external link]
- Child Tax Credit [external link]
- Disability Living Allowance (child) [external link]
- Employment and Support Allowance [external link]
- Income Support [external link]
- Job Seekers Allowance [external link]
- Maternity Allowance [external link]
- Pension Credit [external link]
- Personal Independence Payment [external link]
- The New State Pension [external link]
- Additional State Pension [external link]
- Statutory Sick Pay [external link]
- Statutory Maternity Pay [external link]
- Statutory Paternity Pay [external link]
- Working Tax Credit [external link]
- Universal Credit [external link]
Keeping track of your money and spending can be tricky. If you are spending more than you have coming in, you will need to look at where you can cut back.
To help you budget you can complete the financial statement in our Cost of running our home booklet [pdf document]
When filling in your personal budget, make sure all your income and expenses are either weekly or monthly amounts.
To change a weekly figure into monthly, multiply by 52 and then divide by 12.
To change a monthly figure into weekly, multiply by 12 and then divide by 52.
If the end figure is positive, you can afford the cost of running your home based on your current circumstances.
If the end figure is negative, you will be paying out more than you can afford each week, meaning you are at risk of debt. If this would apply to you and you still want to have your own home, please contact us to discuss this further.
If you are experiencing problems paying your rent or other bills, don’t ignore the problem – help is available!
Money Wise [external link] can:
- Help you manage your money
- Agree an arrears repayment plan
- Ensure you are receiving any benefits, discounts and grants you are entitled to.
The National Debtline has a very useful tool to help you take control of your debts by following four easy steps:
- Step 1: Increasing your income [external link]
- Step 2: Working out your personal budget [external link]
- Step 3: Dealing with your priority debts [external link]
- Step 4: Dealing with your non-priority debts [external link]
Other agencies who offer debt advice are:
- Citizens Advice [external link]
- Step Change Debt Charity [external link]
- Money Advice Service [external link]
Savings Accounts and Low Cost Loans are available at Darlington Credit Union [external link]
Credit unions offer an alternative to borrowing from, or saving with national banks. Credit unions are owned and democratically controlled by it's members and offer a range of financial services including loans and savings accounts. Many Credit unions are willing to offer loans to members even when they have been turned down by banks.
Citizen's Advice Bureau [external link] can offer free, independent advice if you have money problems.
They are available at the Customer Contact Centre at the Town Hall (appointment needed), Bennet House (14 Horsemarket), Haughton Children's Centre (Thursdays 9:30-10:30am), Maidendale Community Centre (Thursday 11:30-1pm) and Help Hubs across Darlington.
If this is your first tenancy, you will have costs to set up your new home. You will need to budget for things like furniture, electrical goods, crockery, cutlery, carpets and curtains and well as other bills and expenses.
Darlington Credit Union [external link] is a non-profit organisation which was set up in 2009 and can can help you take control of your money by helping you save what you can, and borrow amounts you can afford to repay.
Darlington Credit Union is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so your savings are safe.
Visit the website, call 01325 520005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also visit the office which is based on Church Row, or visit them at the customer services centre (drop-in, no appointment needed) or at Help Hubs across Darlington.
Debts are either priority or non-priority depending on the penalties that can be imposed if you do not pay. If you are struggling to pay all your debts you should always make sure you pay your priority debts first.
There are lots of places that provide free, confidential and independent advice. They can help you come up with a strategy to deal with your debts and may also be able to deal with your creditors on your behalf.
- National debtline [external link]
- Money Advice Service [external link]
- My money steps [external link]
The Morrison Trust [external link] is a local charity which supports unemployed people living in Darlington. They can help you with your CV, help you fill in application forms and prepare for interviews.
If you have been unemployed for less than 12 months, you are not accessing the work programme and are living in Darlington, we can refer you to them.
If you are unable to feed yourself or your family, you may be able to get emergency food from a food store. You do not need a referral.
- Kings Church, Whessoe Road [external link] - Kings Church also manages food stories at St Mary's Community Centre (Stooperdale Ave), World of Life (Corporation Road), St Andrew's Church (Salters Lane) and St Columbas (Clifton Road)
- Salvation Army, Thompson Street East
Smarterbuys [external link] is a discount scheme which can help you buy essential home items at discounted prices - a responsible alternative to high-interest stores and loan sharks.
FRADE (01325 357379) and Kings Church Darlington [external link] both provide affordable pre-owned furniture to people on a low income.
If you are a council tenant we can offer you a white goods or furniture package
You could save money by changing your tariff or energy provider - visit Energy Saving Trust [external link]
Our home energy page also offers advice on how you can save on your gas and electricity.
Help Hubs allow people facing financial crisis to access information and support. There are currently four hubs running in Darlington. You do not need to make an appointment.
- Cockerton – St Mary’s Community Centre, Newton Lane, DL3 9EX
- Kings Church – The King’s Centre, Whessoe Road, DL3 0Q
- The Coleridge Centre – Ribble Drive, DL1 5TY
- St Andrews Church – Haughton Green, DL1 2DD
To find out the opening hours or if you want to know more, contact 01325 256999
Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who often charge very high interest rates. If you have borrowed money or want to report a loan shark contact the illegal money lending team [external link] on 0300 5552222 or email@example.com.
Darlington Credit Union is an alternative way to help you save and may be able to provide you with a low cost loan.
Mobile advice cooperatives can give advice about debt and benefits and can even help you fill in forms. They take place at the following venues:
- Mount Pleasant Children's Centre - Tuesday 9:30-11:30am
- McNay Street Children's Centre - Wednesday 9:30-11:30am
- Skerne Park Children's Centre - Wednesday 12-2pm
Once you have set up your home, you will need to pay regular household bills.
Rent - paying your rent is a priority.
Below are the average rents in Darlington to give you an idea how much you will be charged. Service charges may be payable in addition to the amounts below.
|Type of Property||Approximate Rent|
|1 Bedroom Flat||£62.39|
|2 Bedroom Flat||£68.69|
|2 Bedroom House||£72.18|
|3 Bedroom House||£80.17|
If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to Housing Benefit. Complete the benefit calculator [external link] to find out
Most Council properties are Band A
If you live in the property on our own, you will be entitled to 25% discount off your bill.
If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to Council Tax Support. Complete the benefit calculator [external link] to find out
Darlington Borough Council collects water rates on behalf of Northumbrian Water (unless a water meter is fitted at the property).
The average weekly water and sewerage charge for 2017/18 is £7.87.
If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to up to 50% discount off your water charge through the Northumbrian Water Social Tariff. Please contact Money Wise contact page to find out more.
Water Saving Tips
Northumbrian Water website [external link]
Home Contents Insurance should be a vital part of running your new home. Darlington Borough Council insures your building. Windows, doors, furniture, decorations and personal belongings are all your responsibility.
Gas and Electric
The cost of gas and electric varies depending on how much you use. Different suppliers have different tariffs or deals. There are many comparison sites where you can check if you are getting the best deal.
Below is a table provided by Wise group to show the average use / costs of gas & electricity.
|Households with both electricity and gas *||Households with electricity only **|
|Description||Meaning||Electricity (kWh)||Gas (kWh)||Electricity (kWh)|
|LOW||Small flat or general low usage||2,000 (kWh) or about £360||8,000 (kWh) or about £400||6,000 (kWh)|
|MEDIUM||Large flat or medium house||3,100 (kWh) or about £500||12,500 (kWh) or about £560||9,000 (kWh)|
|HIGH||Large house or general high usage||4,600 (kWh) or about £700||18,000 (kWh) or about £770||13,000 (kWh)|
Energy Saving Tips [external link]
You need a TV Licence if you watch, record or download programmes on TV or BBC iPlayer. If you don’t, you could receive a large fine.
http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk [external link]
Your child may be entitled to free school meals
The Government introduced a new benefit called Universal credit which is a single monthly payment, replacing 6 benefits. Free online support to help Universal Credit claimants with their personal finances is available from Money Advice Service website [external link].
Our welfare rights team provide free, independent, confidential advice about benefits and tax credits; as well as advice and support to advisors.
You need a referral from social care in order to get help from welfare rights