Financial support and benefits

Connexus works with a number of partners and support agencies to help customers who may be struggling with money, so if you’re worried please get in touch. We've also gathered together some useful information on benefits and financial help.

Have questions or need support? Contact us.

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Help with rising energy costs

As energy costs rise, you might need to know where you can get support.

If you live in Herefordshire, you may be able to access support from Keep Herefordshire Warm which offers energy advice on using efficient appliances, timing on heating controls and washing at lower temperatures. The team at Keep Herefordshire Warm accept self-referrals online or over the phone.

If you live in Shropshire, you can get in touch with Marches Energy Agency, a specialist charity which is able to complete home energy checks to advise on options and can fit small measures to aid energy efficiency. Marches Energy Agency accepts self-referrals online or over the phone.

Shropshire Council also has a Local Support and Prevention Fund which those living in the area can apply to for support with living costs.

The British Gas Energy Trust is a charity that provides independent energy advice to customers of any utility provider who have gas or electric debt.

Your energy provider may also have their own funds and support schemes that can be accessed to help with debt or increasing energy bills.

Independent financial help and Benefits

Are you claiming everything that you are entitled to? If you are finding it difficult paying all of your bills and rent, or if your circumstances have changed recently, there might be benefits you can get that will help out.

The Government website has a list of independent benefits calculators that can help you check your benefit entitlement:

The Money Helper website can also help make sure you’re getting the right entitlements.

And Citizens Advice have lots of help on financial matters, including pages on benefits

StepChange is a debt advice charity, helping people take control of their finances.

For older customers, Age UK and Independent Age both provide advice, including money advice and benefits calculators.

If you would like to speak to someone instead, our tenancy sustainment team can go through which benefits you can claim and help with applications. You can call on 03332 31 32 33 or email them at

Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

If you  have a long term disability or health condition which makes every day tasks more difficult you might be entitled to PIP payments to help with some living costs.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

If you have a child with a long term disability or health condition who requires more looking after than a child of a similar age without a health condition you might be entitled to DLA payments, you can find out more on the site. 

Attendance Allowance

If you are 66 or over and have a long term disability or health condition that means you might need some help from someone with daily tasks (this could include help from friend or family member rather than a carer), you may be entitled to Attendance Allowance.

Benefit capping

There may be a limit on the total amount of benefits you can get. You should check the Government website information on benefit caps.



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Housing and Council Tax Benefit

If you are claiming Universal Credit, the Shropshire council or Herefordshire council websites have information on what you can claim.

You may also be able get extra help from your Local Authority called a discretionary housing payment (DHP) if your benefits (Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit) don’t cover your rent.

Council Tax Debt

We work with Shropshire Council's debt recovery team to try and make sure that circumstances are taken into account. The council might delay any actions, including sending bailiffs, to allow our tenancy advice officers time to work with tenants to arrange realistic repayment plans.

2022 Council Tax rebates 

To help with fuel bills the Government has announced that council tax bill payers who live in a property banded between A-D will be entitled to a £150 rebate on their council tax in 2022. This will come by way of a payment rather than a reduction in your council tax bill.

If you live in Shropshire find out more on the Council Tax section of Shropshire Council website. If you live in Herefordshire, the council's Council Tax page has more information about the rebate. 

Under occupancy 

Since April 2013 the Government reduced the amount of housing cost paid to people of working age who have ‘spare’ bedrooms in their homes. The criteria mean that any working-age household deemed to be under-occupying will lose a percentage of what can be claimed for housing costs. For more information download this fact sheet from the Department of Work and Pensions. 


Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a single system for claiming benefits for people who are out of work, or in work but on low wages.

You can only apply online for Universal Credit, and the process will take at least half an hour. If you need better access to a computer (perhaps you’re viewing this on a ‘phone), we have a get online page that can help you find one.

Unsure about whether you should claim Universal Credit or what you will need to do?

The Universal Credit Helper tool is a step-by-step guide through the Universal Credit claim process. If you are still unsure, speak to one of our Tenancy Sustainment Team on 03332 31 32 33 or email them at 

Managed Migration to Universal Credit

The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) are moving anyone currently receiving just Tax Credits (so not additionally getting any Income Support, income related Employment and Support Allowance, income related Jobseekers Allowance or Housing Benefit) over to Universal Credit (UC) during 2023/24. You may have heard this called ‘Managed Migration’ and you could already have received a letter about it.

The following information explains more about the change, however, please feel free to contact Connexus if you need support, if you are worried, or unsure about what should do.

Can I opt out of the migration?

No. You will be sent a Migration Notice letter from the DWP and your Tax Credits award will be closed - this will happen even if you do not make a claim to UC.

Receiving the migration notice 

The DWP will write out to you to let you know when you will be migrated – this is called a migration notice. You will then need to check the date you must make your claim by, when the best time to claim is and then make your claim (you will not be migrated automatically).

You can migrate from your existing benefits to Universal Credit before you get your migration notice but you will not be entitled to any transitional protection that DWP are putting in place (this is done so you are not worse off). You can read about transitional protection on the Turn to Us website.

To help understand when is best to claim you can use an online calculator, like the one available here Where you live ( - if you are better off on the UC calculator than you are now receiving non-Universal Credit benefits, then you should claim now.

If it shows that you are worse off or would have no entitlement if you claimed now, then you should wait for the letter and claim then (you should claim after getting your letter, even if the calculator says you have no entitlement at the moment.)

What should I do when I get my migration letter?

Do not ignore it - it will give you the date that you need to make your UC claim by.

You should make sure that you make a claim before the deadline date, even if you have checked online and it says you have no entitlement (online calculators do not always include the additional benefit that is being put in place to make sure that you are not worse off when you migrate).

When should I claim?

If you are expecting any of the following to happen between receiving your letter and your deadline date then the date you make your claim is important, and you should speak to a member of the Connexus Tenancy Sustainment Team or a benefits advisor first:

  • You are expecting a decision for a claim to PIP or DLA for you or a member of your family
  • You are going into full time advance education
  • Your savings will increase to over £16,000
  • You are moving home or having a baby

UC is paid monthly, so if your tax credits are paid 4 weekly then it may be better to wait until just after you next get your payment.

If you work and get paid monthly - avoid making your claim around the time of your wages being paid.

Where can I get help?

If you are unsure about anything, please call us on 03332 313233 and ask to speak to a Tenancy Sustainment Officer who will advise and support you through the process. 

If you prefer you can email the team and ask them to call you.

The following video shows how to make a claim here:

We also have a Universal Credit helper tool (which guides you through the claim process): 

The government website has more information here:

You can also Contact Citizen’s Advice for additional help and support: Citizens Advice

Other support available

Cost of Living Payments  

The Government are making cost of living payments to some people on means-tested benefits, as part of a £37 billion government package to help families with cost-of-living pressures.  

If eligible you will receive the first of two cost of living instalments totalling £650 from 14 July 2022  

The first £326 instalment for qualifying low-income households in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be paid by your usual payment method from 14 July 2022, continuing to the end of the month. The rest will follow in a second instalment in the autumn.   People receiving tax credits and no other eligible benefits will receive their first payment from HMRC in autumn and the second in winter.  

You can check your eligibility for the payment here.

There is also helpful information about further support available on the Cost Of Living campaign website.

Free School Meals

If you have dependant children and are in receipt of certain benefits, you may be able to access free school meals.

Help with prescriptions or other health costs

You might be able to get free NHS prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and help with other NHS costs if you're on a low income or in receipt of certain benefits. You can check whether you’re entitled to any help with these on the website.

Water bill support

Some water companies offer cheaper tariffs for low income households. The major suppliers in Connexus areas are Welsh Water and Severn Trent Water.

Worrying About Money?

The Worrying About Money? cash first referral leaflets are designed as straightforward resources for people facing financial crisis, and support workers, to quickly check which local agencies are best placed to help with available cash first options. There's an online version for Shropshire and one that's good for the whole of the UK.