Sound advice to tackle redundancy

CITIZENS Advice Bureaux in Comet country are concerned that many people do not have adequate information on what to do if they lose their job. Even if you cannot get to your local bureau office, libraries have access to the internet, and the CAB can give

CITIZENS Advice Bureaux in Comet country are concerned that many people do not have adequate information on what to do if they lose their job.

Even if you cannot get to your local bureau office, libraries have access to the internet, and the CAB can give you round-the-clock information on your rights including benefits, housing and employment, debt, consumer and legal issues.

Just take a look at www.adviceguide.org.uk or ring the CAB advice line on 08451 20 37 89 for Stevenage or 08456 88 98 97 for North Herts.

What should you do if you lose your job?

* Claim benefit entitlements immediately as getting them backdated may not be possible. You can check what benefits you may be able to claim via the internet at www.entitledto.co.uk or visit the CAB.

* Contact the Department of Work and Pensions on 08000 55 66 88 to claim Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance.

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* Submit a claim for housing and council tax benefit to your local council or tell them about your change of circumstances.

* Claim for help with mortgage interest (there is a three-month waiting time before this would be paid if you are eligible).

* Tell HM Revenue & Customs Tax Credit office on 08453 00 39 00 about your change of circumstances.

* Contact your landlord or mortgage provider to warn them if you are going to miss a payment.

* Check loan and credit card payment protection policies, and make a claim if you are covered. Contact the CAB if you could have been eligible and the policy may have been mis-sold.

* Ensure you have money in the bank to pay standing orders/direct debits. If not, then stop them but check with the CAB which payments to stop, and let the organisations know.

* Assume it will take weeks or months to find a new job so cut back on non-essential spending.

* Start economising - see the CAB's Making the Most of Your Money leaflet or check out www.moneysavingexpert.com

So what can the CAB do to help?

* The CAB can check you are getting all the benefits to which you are entitled.

* Provide advice on your rights if you lose your job - redundancy process, final wage/salary payments, possible unfair dismissal etc.

* Advise you on claiming money from other sources if your employer has gone out of business.

* Tell you if your employer is required to give you a reason for dismissal, or if you are entitled to redundancy payment.

Losing your job is a dramatic event so by taking action immediately you will ease the stress and ensure you get your legal entitlements and all the state benefit help due.

CAB offices are in The Old Grammar School, Broadway, Letchworth GC, Thomas Bellamy House, Bedford Road, Hitchin and Swingate House, Danestrete, Stevenage.

There are also outreach contacts in Baldock Community Centre, Hitchin County Court and Stevenage Borough Council Customer Service Centre.

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