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Debt and financial advice

If you are in debt and need financial advice, we recommend that you act now and seek information and advice.

Help and advice is available to help manage debts, prevent rent and Council Tax arrears and reduce the worst-case risk of your home being re-possessed.

Council Tax payments

Like everyone else the Council itself is currently facing an impact on its finances as a result of the pandemic. We want to support all of our residents who are suffering financial hardship at this time and are unable to pay their Council Tax.

Applications for Council Tax Support can be registered with us online, and revised payment arrangements can also be negotiated by contacting us. It should be remembered that around 71p in every pound of Maldon residents’ bills goes to Essex County Council to support essential services including social care. The money collected through Council Tax also helps fund a number of organisations including the emergency services – the fire service and police. Only 11p in every pound comes to Maldon District Council.

If you have received a payment reminder, please don't ignore it. Read the information about what happens if you pay late or don't pay.

Reducing your bill

Make sure you are claiming all of the discounts you are entitled to by reading information on discounts available ( including discretionary discount) or getting help or support to do this.

Make sure you are claiming all of the benefits and financial support you are entitled to by using  this online benefit checker.

Benefit and Discretionary Payments

Can a bank take housing benefit to pay my overdraft?

No, banks are not allowed to use housing benefit or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.

You can protect your housing benefit payments or another payment that has been earmarked for paying a specific, essential bill by telling your bank it should only be used for that purpose. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.

You can use the first right of appropriation on any money being paid into your account. For example, you may want to make sure that your job seekers allowance (JSA) is used to pay your electricity bill and water rates. You will need to tell your bank how to use these payments.

How do I request a first right of appropriation of funds order?

You need to write to your bank at least seven days before your housing benefit/discretionary payment is due, making it clear that any regular payments or one off deposits from Maldon District Council are to pay for your rent/essential living costs (as appropriate).

For example, you may want to instruct your bank or building society:

"On or around August 20th, and every 2 weeks after, my housing benefit will be paid into my current account number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £75 standing order payable to my landlord, Mr Smith on the 25th of the month."

Keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later. You may want to ask your bank/building society for a written acknowledgement of your instructions.

If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions. This is because the first right of appropriation does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed. If you do not cancel these items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, which they may charge you for. However, payments from your account to re-pay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.

Useful contacts

Help from the Council

Benefits advice including discretionary payments for rent and Council Tax

Council Tax discounts and exemptions

Housing advice and housing grants

Travel passes

Help from other agencies

Moneyhelper

MoneyHelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.