National Association for Mental Health MIND is located at Medway and across Kent; they are a community mental health charity. They make sure anyone with a mental health or emotional issue has somewhere to turn for advice and support. Website: www.mind.org.uk
MINDOUT provide advice & information, advocacy, a peer support group programme, wellbeing activities and events, a peer mentoring service, an out of hours online chat service and a food project. Website: https://www.mindout.org.uk
Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal. Website: https://www.samaritans.org
If you’re living with any form of illness, there might be different welfare benefits you could claim to help you financially. There are changes happening to the welfare benefits system, so it is important to keep checking what you might be entitled to, as the rules and the types of benefits sometimes change.
Personal Independent Payment (PIP) is a benefit you can claim if you have a mental health condition or any physical health conditions and need you help with day-to-day, getting around. You can get PIP whether you are working or not, as it is not impacted by any income or savings you might have.
To find out more about Personal Independence Payment, you can call the Department for Work and Pensions PIP Claims number on 0800 917 2222, Monday to Friday 8 am to 6pm.
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit you can claim if you have a low income. You might be able to get it if you are working on a low income, or if you are too unwell to work. The money you get will depend on your circumstances, but could include money to live on and money to pay your rent. It is currently being introduced across the country and will eventually replace some benefits you may already get.
Depending on where you live, if you’re not well enough to work you might have to claim Employment and Support Allowance instead of Universal Credit. Find out if you can apply for Universal Credit in your area.
Jobseeker’s Allowance or JSA is a benefit you can claim if you are unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week, and you are available and looking for full-time work. Read more about Jobseeker’s Allowance and how to Apply Online.
You may be able to claim Working Tax Credits (WTC) to top up your wages if you are in paid work but have a low income. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) manages WTC; use their calculator to calculate your tax credits.
Housing Benefit (HB) is a benefit to help people on a low income to pay their rent. It is usually paid by your local council – you can’t use it to pay your mortgage.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules are used to work out how much housing benefit you get if you rent from a private landlord. The LHA rates depend on how old you are, what area you live in, the number of people in your household and the size of the property. This can range from a single room in a shared house up to a property with four bedrooms.
LHA rates for the size of accommodation should be available from the local council and this could help you to work out how much housing benefit you would get if you moved to a new address. Find out more about LHA rates.
The local authority can decide you do not need to pay council tax – this is called exemption.
The council tax rules say that a person is exempt from council tax if they have a ‘severe mental impairment’. It says that ‘a person is severely mentally impaired if they have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent’. To get this, you need a doctor to sign a medical certificate that says you are severely mentally impaired and you need to get one of the following benefits:
Contact your Local Council for more information