Debt advice

Know your rights - expect advice on benefits and debt - Salford Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service

What is the Debt Advice Team?

Salford City Council has had a Debt Advice Service since 1990. We offer free, confidential, specialist advice, case work and representation for people who live or work in Salford. We can help with:

  • multiple debt.
  • complex single or priority debts.
  • court representation related to possession/eviction for mortgage arrears, rent arrears in social housing and enforcement of other debts.

We also assist with debt solutions such as insolvency, and most of our debt advisers are accredited as Approved Intermediaries to administer applications for Debt Relief Orders.

All of our debt advisers are able to access the Breathing Space scheme which provides legal protection from most debt enforcement for a period of 60 days (longer for people receiving mental health crisis treatment). We can submit applications on your behalf where this is considered appropriate.

We assist with complex debt issues, however if you have a more straightforward problem such as a single debt, help with Debt Management Plans for non-priority debts or general help with managing a budget then please contact a service which may be better able to assist you such as National Debtline or Step Change.

Debt advisers often help to draw up a budget to work out your options for dealing with debts, however, our service does not offer more general budgeting support. This type of help is available from the government’s Money Helper website. If you have health problems which make budgeting difficult, you might want to consider seeking help from Adult Social Care or via an assessment for care or support services.

We offer impartial advice on enforcement of debts owed to Salford City Council such as Council Tax, however to discuss or make changes to your Council Tax account you will need to contact the Council Tax department directly.

How do I refer myself or another person for debt advice?

You can contact us by telephone or make an enquiry/referral through our website. If you are a professional working with someone you are referring for debt advice, feel free to contact our advice line for consultancy advice before making a referral.

  • If you would prefer to talk to someone on the telephone about debt advice or representation you can ring our debt advice line on 0800 345 7323. This is open Mondays and Wednesdays between 1pm and 4pm and on Fridays between 9:30am and 12:30pm apart from Bank Holidays. It is not possible to leave a voicemail outside of those hours.
  • Alternatively you can refer yourself or another person for welfare rights and/or debt advice or representation via our online referral form. If you are completing this for another person you may need them with you in order to fully complete their personal details.
  • If you or your client (if you are a professional making a referral) are already an open client of one of our welfare rights advisers or charging assessors please ask them to discuss any debt issues with a debt adviser rather than make a new referral for debt.

Why is the Debt Advice Team based within the Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service?

Our service believes in a holistic rights-based approach to advice work. It makes sense for debt advisers to work alongside colleagues in welfare rights who can offer immediate specialist advice, case work and representation on your benefit issues without a further referral needing to be made.

In particular, colleagues in the welfare rights service can offer a comprehensive benefit check to ensure that your income has been maximised at the same time as a debt adviser is starting to understand your debt issues. If you are under-claiming benefits they can help with claims; challenges to DWP, HMRC or local authority decisions and may challenge things like recoverable overpayments of/deductions from benefit. All of these may benefit your overall financial position.

In line with our values and especially “listening and acting on what people say” both services want to ensure that our clients receive the best possible service and have had their income maximised.

The debt advice team also take account of two of our recently updated eight priorities as a council.

These are:

  • Tackling Poverty and Inequality and especially taking “action to make things better for the many households struggling to make ends meet” and looking “to prevent people from falling into poverty in the first place”.
  • Reducing Homelessness and especially for us to “raise awareness of the welfare reform implications” and “deliver targeted support to households at risk of poor outcomes as a result of Welfare Reform cuts”.
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