Advice Services and Welfare Reform
Advice, Information and Support with Welfare Benefits, Money, Debt and Digital Inclusion
Advice services and welfare reform
Stirling Council Advice Services is an accredited provider of welfare benefits, money and debt advice under the Scottish National Standards for Advice and Information Providers.
The service is also one of the key providers of digital inclusion advice and support in the Stirling area.
Challenge Poverty Week 2022
Too many people in our society are locked in the grip of poverty and restricted from playing a full role in society. But in Scotland, we all agree that poverty can, and must, be solved.
Challenge Poverty Week is designed to show that a society without poverty is possible and to showcase solutions we can all get behind. That’s why each year, united by common values of justice and compassion, hundreds of organisations in Scotland take part in the week.
Challenge Poverty Week 2022 key messages
- To raise a unified voice against poverty and show that we all want to live in a more just and equal Scotland.
- To build awareness of and support for solutions to poverty.
- To change the conversation around poverty and help end the stigma of living on a low income.
Stirling Council Advice Services and Welfare Reform Team have embraced Challenge Poverty Week (3rd to 9th October 2022) and are staffing an information stand at a Cost of Living event at Stirling Bus Station on 3rd October, as well as attending events in partnership with Family Link Workers in some schools across Stirling.
We have also created a Community development team emergency contact leaflet.
Advice Stirling offers free, confidential and impartial money, debt and benefit advice to citizens within the Stirling area.
Our advisers can help you with:
- Maximising your income by checking what benefits you are entitled to, including Universal credit
- Supporting you to apply for benefits or appeal against benefit decisions
- Applying for help from the Scottish Welfare Fund for a community care grant or crisis grant
- Referrals to the local Foodbank
- Applications for other charitable grants, that may be appropriate
- Looking at ways of increasing income and reducing expenditure
- Drawing up a budget so you see where your money is going and prepare a financial statement
- Identifying priority and non-priority debts
- Contacting and negotiating with your creditors
- Explaining your options for clearing your debts, including the Debt Arrangement
Scheme (DAS), Trust Deeds, token payments and Bankruptcy
- Help with negotiating with your Housing Officer or Mortgage Company
- Applying to the Mortgage to Rent scheme if you are facing repossession
- A referral to an appropriate solicitor for court representation
Referrals to the Advice Stirling service can be made by emailing email@example.com or by calling 01786233528
Partly funded by the European Social Fund
Money, Debt, Benefits and Digital Inclusion
The Council's Advice and Welfare Reform Team works in partnership with a range of organisations to ensure Stirling residents are aware of money, debt, benefit and digital inclusion advice and support.
As well as continuing to provide advice and support over the phone and by email, the service has also introduced a number of new digital platforms which have taken on greater importance during the current crisis.
- Providing face-to-face advice and support through the use of Attend Anywhere.
- Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms
- Recording short videos, in partnership with Stirling Carers Centre, which are available to view via the links below:
Better Off Stirling Digital Platform
Better Off Stirling is a service for people who live in Stirling. The digital platform gives you access to a benefits calculator where you can input your details and it will show you the benefits you are entitled to. Information and advice is also available to help you apply for them online. Better Off also provides information on debts and options available for dealing with debt, as well as how to find and apply for jobs.
For more information please visit the Better Off Stirling Platform.
Stirling Digital Inclusion Project
Stirling Council Digital Inclusion project offers free and tailored help to complete beginners or those looking to improve their digital skills. We aim to improve your confidence using a wide variety of services online.
Our advisers can help you with:
- Completing Universal Credit claims online and manage your journal
- Navigating money saving websites
- Shopping online
- Staying safe online
- Completing online paperwork
- Helping with job applications
- Applying for training and further education courses
- Supporting you to keep in touch with friends and relatives through digital platforms such as Skype
Referrals to the service can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01786233958.
Forth Valley Macmillan Money Matters
The Macmillan Money Matters Project is a joint initiative between Macmillan Cancer Support, NHS Forth Valley, Stirling Council, Falkirk Council, the Department for Work and Pensions; and Social Security Scotland.
Living with cancer can be a daily challenge and may cause financial difficulties. Diagnosis can have a huge impact on your life and money worries can be a major cause of stress. The benefits system can seem complicated and finding your way through it can be difficult. Dealing with Government agencies and filling in forms may feel like too much to cope with right now. But you don’t have to do it alone - we can help. If you live in the Forth Valley area and have received a Cancer diagnosis then our team is available to help.
Our advisers can help you with:
- Completing a benefits check and support you to maximise your income through applying for benefits and charitable grants
- Challenging benefit decisions including representation at appeals and tribunals
- Providing budgeting advice and support to anyone with a cancer diagnosis
Referrals to the service can be made by emailing email@example.com or by calling 01786233525
What our advisers can not help you with
Although we can refer you to appropriate partner organisations, the service cannot directly assist with the following:
- Representation at Court or Tribunal where Stirling Council is the creditor (e.g. housing benefit, rent arrears)
- Providing regulated financial advice (e.g. advice related to investing, retirement, insurance, college savings, estate planning, taxes etc)