Support for people with low incomes
A low income is where you have less money coming in than you need, to pay for your living costs, housing and bills. This article tells you more about services in Newcastle that can help you manage your money and avoid getting into debt.
If your credit rating is low or your don’t have a credit history you will struggle to access bank accounts. Here’s a list of high street bank accounts that may be easier for you to use.
You may be eligible for some benefits and our Welfare benefits article takes you through what is available and who can give you support to access them. You can get Welfare benefits advice from a local independent service. They can help guide you through the application process and explain how some benefits may impact upon another:
- Citizens Advice Newcastle give advice to anyone in Newcastle
- Newcastle Welfare Rights Service give advice to people in priority groups including those over pension age. They have self help material on their website.
- Disability North give disability related benefit advice, help with appeals and representation at tribunals
- Search Newcastle run a benefits advice drop-in for older people in the West of Newcastle.
- Find more about benefit advice services available across Newcastle.
Crisis or emergency support
if you can’t afford to buy food, heat your home, pay your mortgage or rent, the following are available to support you:
- Emergency funds
- Crisis support scheme
- Worried about becoming homeless? Help with housing
- Refugees and asylum seekers who have no recourse to public funds/destitute asylum seekers
- Managing on a low income – saving money contains guidance on what finance checks you can make and who can help with energy bills.
Food banks and free meals
You may need help with housing costs. There are a number of routes to support:
- Council tax support
- Gas and electricity and save money on your energy bills
- How to pay for adaptations to your home explains the Disabled Facilities Grant
- Home adaptations, equipment and aids includes links to Care & Repair Newcastle, Minor adaptations service, Disability North and Your Equipment Newcastle
Affordable household items and credit
When you need to purchase a new item or white goods there are some cheaper ways to make these purchases:
- Help with clothing includes cheap clothing, where to get affordable school uniform and who can help when you have an interview.
- Menstruation includes how to find period products for free across the City.
- Looking for Work gives information about the organisations that can help you find work and child care support options.
- Child benefit
- Gov.UK help with 15 hours of education for 3 to 4 year olds
- HM Revenue & Customs administer tax credits
Cost of living help and support
Cost of living support website from Newcastle City Council has information about where to get help and support with housing, energy, debt, benefits, money, council tax, school and learning costs
Cost of Living Helpline at Newcastle City Council freephone for help and support. You can complete their online form to ask for help or call the free helpline 0800 170 7001 They can signpost you to local help and support including:
- emergency food parcels
- winter wellbeing hubs: warm spaces in the local community where you can spend time and enjoy facilities such as Wi-Fi, hot drinks or food
Wellbeing Hubs are warm welcoming place to spend time in Newcastle. Local venues, such as libraries and community centres, offer a range of support such as hot drinks, free Wi-Fi, place to charge your devices, information, advice and more.
Healthy Start Scheme
The NHS Healthy Start Scheme is for people who are more than 10 weeks pregnant, or have children under the age of 4, who receive certain benefits. You get a free prepaid card that’s topped up every 4 weeks to buy: milk, fruit and vegetables.
You can also collect free vitamins from locations listed here. You can use the card in shops that accept Mastercard payments and sell at least one of these Healthy Start foods.
Find out if you are eligible and how to apply on the NHS Healthy Start Website.
You may want to change jobs or you may have been made redundant or become unemployed. There are services that can support you and details are in our Looking for Work article.
Local employment support available
Newcastle Futures help people to build their confidence and find work. They work with partners such as:
- Leonard Cheshire and JET which supports people from BAME communities and asylum seekers.
- The Wise Group runs Wise Steps which supports people on low income or with a disability or who may be in crisis, including those who are homeless or in debt.
- Newcastle Futures supports YHN tenants who want to join the job market. through North of Tyne Working homes initiative
- Tyne Online helps you find a job and think about your next career move
- Crisis helps homeless job seekers
- Workers Educational Association offers a range of courses including job seeking modules
- Redundancy support is available from a union such as Unison or USDAWS or through the ACAS service
- The Wise Group offers mentoring support, employment, skills, and energy advice.
Travel support for unemployed people
There are a number of small pots of funding to help with travel to interviews from those listed above.
- Stagecoach offers reduced fares to job seekers
Managing Debt can be a problem at any time or age. There are many factors that can lead to debt problems, including retirement, illness, disability, divorce, bereavement and poverty. Pay priority debts and get support. The following are priority debts and should be dealt with immediately:
- mortgage arrears
- rent arrears
- council Tax arrears
- TV licence
- court fines
- arrears of maintenance payments
- income tax or VAT arrears
- hire purchase debts in some circumstances
- heating problems and paying for them
- independent voluntary arrangements (legally binding between you and the creditor)
Stop Loan Sharks offers you the chance to report illegal money lending confidentially
NHS low income scheme
The NHS Business Services Authority support people on a low income with prescriptions, dental charges, sight tests and glasses and other healthcare expenses. Follow the links to apply on their website.
Make sure you’re claiming any benefits you’re entitled to
If you’re entitled to welfare benefits make sure that you’re claiming the full amount that you’re entitled to. A local independent advice service can help guide you through the process such as:
- Citizens Advice Newcastle give benefits advice to anyone in Newcastle
- Newcastle Welfare Rights Service give benefits advice to people in priority groups including those over 65. They have a public advice line open to all Newcastle residents and a consultancy line and referral form for professionals.
- Newcastle libraries offers remote access to advice on different days of the week. See the booklet below
There are more benefit advice services in Newcastle. Read the ‘Where to get benefit advice‘ booklet.
Short breaks and holidays
Tourism for All UK support people with a disability and older people to find sources of finance towards the cost of a holiday for people on low income
Other support available
- North East Law Centre support people on low incomes from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances.
- CityLife line offers support if you are unwell or self-isolating during the pandemic
Last updated: December 20, 2023