Managing your income
We all need extra help and advice from time to time as our circumstances change. We’ve pulled together relevant advice, information and tools for "life events" that may be affecting you and your family.
If you need further support, and are an Orbit customer, please click here and complete the form to contact the Advice Services Team.
- Moving In
Moving into a new house is an exciting time; however it can bring a lot of change which isn’t always easy to manage. Whether this is your first property or you have lived in a number of different properties before, there is lots of help available from Orbit and others to help you settle in to your new home.
Planning your move
Make sure you're prepared for the costs and bills you'll need to cover. These include your rent, council tax, utilities (gas, electric, water), TV license and insurance. There may also be additional costs, for example an internet package or landline telephone. Have a look at the useful checklists at the links below:
You can also visit our 'Making more of your money' page for more information.
If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Housing Benefit to help cover your rent. You will need to apply through your local council. You may also be entitled to other housing-related benefits, such as a reduction in your Council Tax charges and a Discretionary Housing Payment. Eligibility can be discussed with your local council.
If you receive benefits payments through the Government's Universal Credit process, your benefits payment will include a 'Housing Cost Element'. This will not go directly to your landlord (unless there are exceptional circumstances) so you need to make arrangements to pay your rent to your landlord. You can get more information on benefits by visiting our Welfare Reform and benefit guide or by contacting the Advice Services Team.
If you are under-occupying, affected by the Benefit Cap or the Local Housing Allowance cap please click here to read about how these changes affect you.
Reducing your household costs
When you move home, you'll need to cover household bills (such as gas and electric) and you may need to cover costs for furniture and appliances. Visit our Better Days website for money saving deals on contents insurance, appliances and low cost broadband and computer options.
If you are struggling to cover household bills, talk to Orbit. Our expert advisers can help you review your costs and work with you to find ways to make life easier. Our advisers can also make grants applications on your behalf to cover some types of costs. Get in touch and we'll get back to you.
- Expecting a baby
If you're expecting a baby or adopting a child, it's important to know how you can apply for financial help and find other sources of help for the wellbeing of you and your child.
Benefits, income-related support & grants
If you are in work you and your partner may be entitled to paid time off (maternity/paternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave). You can find more information about your rights and the amounts of pay you can expect on the Gov.uk website.
The Money Advice Service website details a range of payments you may be entitled to depending on your circumstances.
If you’re having your first baby, and you’re claiming certain benefits you may be able to access the Sure Start Maternity Grants
If you need further advice and information on benefit entitlements for you and your family, get in touch with Orbit's Advice Services Team.
Looking after the health of you and your child
If you are pregnant your GP doctor and health visitor will discuss your pregnancy journey with you. You can also find information about pregnancy, birth and childcare on the NHS Choices website.
You may also be eligible for grants to help pay for vegetables, fruit and milk for you and your child. See the Healthy Start website for more details.
It's also important that you can talk to others when you need to. Some new parents can find they feel isolated with a new baby if they don't have family and friends nearby who can help.
- Online groups such as Mumsnet are a great starting point for connecting with other parents who have had similar experiences.
- You can also find lots of help and activities for you and your child at local children's centre. You can search online to find your nearest centres.
Ways to save money
- Reducing your household costs
- Childcare Voucher Scheme - if you receive tax credits claiming childcare vouchers may affect the amount of tax credits you receive
- Buying 'nearly-new' items - for suggestions and guidance visit the National Childbirth Trust and Netmums
- Discount vouchers, offers and clubs, such as Bounty. These clubs should always be free and should not ask you for a monetary contribution.
Changes to Child Tax Credit
From 6 April 2017 if you are responsible for a child born on or after this date, and already get Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for two or more other children, you may not receive any additional payments for the third or subsequent child.
For further information click here.
- Changes with children and non-dependants
When a child reaches the age of 16, benefits including tax credits and Child Benefit will be affected. Other benefits may also be affected depending on whether your child continues in education post-16 and lives with you.
- Staying in approved education and training after the age of 16.
- Moving out of your home whether they are over 16 or younger than 16.
If you fail to notify the Government of changes promptly you may need to pay a fine.
If your child is aged 18 or over and is living with you, you may be subject to a non-dependent deduction from your Housing Benefit/Universal Credit. This reduces the amount you receive as it expected that this person can contribute to your rent, even if they are not doing so.
More details about 'non-dependents' and housing benefit reductions is available from the Shelter website. Non-dependent status may also affect your Council Tax.
There may be other benefits and financial support you child may be eligible for depending on their age and circumstances. The Citizens Advice website summarises benefits eligibility for young people.
Help for young people
If your child is leaving home to start their own tenancy or is interested in other rental and home ownership options, a summary of housing options is available on the Orbit website.
Orbit can also provide help and advice about accessing training and improving employment prospects to young people living in a home provided by Orbit.
- Changes in relationships
Whether you are planning to live with your partner, or have decided to go your separate ways, you need to be aware of the ways these changes in circumstances can affect benefits entitlements.
Benefits and changes in circumstances
You must notify the Department for Work and Pensions, the Tax Credit Office and your Local Authority about any change in your circumstances that could affect benefits you or your partner are receiving.
If someone is moving in or out of the property use a benefits calculator or seek advice about how your benefits entitlements may change when claiming as a couple. This will help you budget for household costs and living expenses.
If you need advice or further support after a change, please contact Orbit’s Advice Services Team.
Notifying other services
You should also notify the following organisations if your relationship has ended:
- Your landlord (if applicable). You can contact Orbit online or by phone.
- Bank or building society if you have accounts or other agreements in joint names.
- Loan/credit agreement providers where loans or credit agreements have been taken out in joint names.
- Utility providers, such as gas and electricity, if your partner is a joint utility account holder.
- Insurance policies where they are held in joint names.
- Other relevant services, such as GP surgeries, dentists and schools.
Looking after you and your family
Whether you are planning to live with your partner or ending a relationship and care of children or other dependents is involved, it's important to seek further advice. Citizens Advice provides guidance covering a wide range of issues affecting families.
If you and your partner want more help about addressing issues in your relationship, Relate offers a wide range of advice and support.
You can find an A-Z of information about legal requirements and other topics about marriage, civil partnerships and divorce on the Gov.uk website.
- Changes in health
If you or members of your household are experiencing a change in your health or wellbeing there may be benefits you are entitled to. If you need further advice or information please contact Orbit's Advice Services team.
If you are in employment, please discuss your circumstances and your sickness policy and procedure with your employer. Further information is available on gov.uk about taking sick leave and Statutory sick pay.
For additional information on your employment rights visit the Acas website.
There is help and advice available should you be providing care and support to a family member or friend for their health and wellbeing needs at Carers UK.
If you feel you would benefit from physical support in your home please talk to your GP.
Feeling low, stressed or anxious? Is this stopping you from doing what you want? Then Breathing Space, a free 24/7 mental wellbeing support service, could be for you.
- Redundancy and getting back into work
If you are at risk of redundancy or have recently lost a job, it's important to understand your rights and how to access support that can help you get back to work as soon as possible.
For advice on redundancy or dismissal and your rights see:
The Money Advice Service website provides a checklist to help keep on top of your household finances until you find work again or you can visit our Money Matters pages for information about benefits, budgeting, reducing household costs and debt advice.
Make sure you notify the Department of Work and Pensions so that benefits payments can be recalculated to reflect your circumstances. You must also notify your local council, if you receive housing benefit or Council Tax reduction and the Tax Credit Office, if you receive tax credits.
Visit Turn2Us to check if you are entitled to benefits whilst you are out of work.
Looking after yourself and your family
The pressures of supporting yourself or your family on a reduced income can be stressful. However, there is a range of support to help you plan and to meet essential costs if you are struggling.
- There are local welfare assistance schemes available across the country to help you with any emergency household costs. What is covered will depends on the local authority, and not all councils have any funds for this purpose. You can find contact information about local welfare assistance schemes by using the postcode checker on the Child Poverty Action group website.
- If you are finding it difficult to find money to pay for food there are food banks across the country that typically provide a three day emergency food parcel. You can normally request a food parcel voucher from your council, local Citizens Advice Bureau or Children’s Centres.
If you need help with benefits applications and reviewing your household finances, get in touch and an Orbit adviser will get back to you.
Getting back into work
Our employment and skills coaches can provide advice, connect you with training opportunities and offer encouragement to improve your chances of getting a job. Get in touch if you'd like a local employment and skills coach to contact you.
Orbit runs free courses to help build confidence and motivation. Find out more from the GOALS page.
If you need help getting online or improving your computer skills, see the Get online section.
If you start a new job you will need to make sure you notify the Department of Work and Pensions, your local council and the Tax Credit Office dependent on which benefits you are receiving. Failure to notify them could result in an overpayment.
The Money Advice Service has created a checklist for preparing for your retirement. They recommend starting to plan around two years before you wish to retire.
Your state pension age will vary depending on your date of birth and whether you are a man or woman. You can check your state pension age using the tool on the Gov.uk website.
Other useful guides and tools include:
- Age UK pension calculator
- Age UK pension scams advice
- Pension Wise guides to workplace pensions, auto-enrolment and annuities
State pension and pension-related benefits
The State Pension gives you a regular income - how much you receive is based on your National Insurance contributions during your working life. You can request a statement of how much state pension you should receive by using the online form on the Gov.uk website.
You won’t automatically receive your pension and you can decide to take your pension after your state pension age ('deferring') which can increase the pension payments you receive later in life. If you do wish to claim at your state pension age or after, you can do this online via the Gov.uk website.
You may also receive additional income from workplace or private pensions and other funds built up during your working life. If you don't have the details of a pension scheme you believe you've paid into before, you can request contact details through the Gov.uk website.
If you have not have heard anything about claiming your pension in the three months prior to reaching state pension age, contact the Pension Service on 0800 731 7898.
You may be eligible for Pension Credit payments to top up your income. Visit the Gov.uk website for more information about how to apply.
If you are struggling financially contact the Advice Services Team.
Losing a family member can have legal and financial implications. The details below outline the priority services that will need information with suggestions of support.
Certificates and notifications
The Gov.uk website provides a step by step guide to register a death which needs to be completed in the first few days after the death.
The guide on the Gov.uk website includes an option to 'Tell us once', a service that can notify several Government services at the same time, reducing the number of organisations you need to contact.
Your local council may also provide additional information and services. You can find bereavement information using the postcode search tool on the Gov.uk website.
If the bereavement financially affects you or your family, you may be able to receive help to cover essential expenses and loss of income from a partner.
The Gov.uk website provides information about how tax, benefits and pensions entitlements may change and additional support that can be applied for following the death of a spouse.
If you are struggling to cover essential household costs and living expenses following the death of a family member Orbit may be able to help. Please contact Orbit’s Advice Services Team.
Support for you and your family
Dealing with the a bereavement can affect people differently. If you, or someone you know, wants help and support you can contact Orbit, or the following organisations.
Orbit work with a range of partners to provide you with FREE access to help and advice, 24/7, online or by phone. You may also be able to access confidential face-to-face support from qualified support workers. Visit our Wellbeing pages for more information. Orbit also works with local organisations in many areas to provide support and to reduce loneliness and isolation. Contact us if you'd like more information about services near you.