Benefits payments can be used to help pay your bills (including rent, services charges, fuel or water bills) if you’re having difficulties. This is called ‘third party deductions,’ and sometimes Fuel Direct.

How to apply

Contact Jobcentre Plus (or your pension centre if you’re on Pension Credit).

You’ll need:

  • details of who you owe and how much
  • your customer reference number (for bills)
  • National Insurance number

They’ll contact the person or company you owe and tell them you’re going on third party deductions. They’ll set up the repayments and explain how and when the bills will be paid.

How deductions work

These benefits can be used:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit

Deductions are made each time your benefits are paid. £3.60 will be deducted from each benefit to pay off the debt you owe, plus an extra amount to cover your bills in future.

The amount is decided by Jobcentre Plus or your pension centre but if it’s going to be more than 25% of your benefits (including Child Tax Credits), you’ll be asked to agree to the deduction.

If it’s under 25% the deduction can be made without you agreeing to it. You’ll be told what the deductions are going to be, and if they’re going to change.

When you can’t use your benefits

You can’t use your benefits:

  • to pay a debt with a previous landlord or supplier (only your current one)
  • for more than 3 types of deductions (eg gas, water and rent) to pay debt you owe - you can have more than 3 deductions if they’re towards current bills

Extra help with fuel bills

To help with fuel bills, you might qualify for help from the government:

If you get final demands

Contact the person or company you owe to tell them you’re on third party deductions. They might need your National Insurance number to confirm this.

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