One of the main reasons people fall into debt is an unforeseen change in circumstances (such as illness, separation or divorce) or unrealistic repayment expectations on the part of the creditor or the lender.

Debt problems rarely exist in isolation: many people face clusters of problems, of which debt may be the main or a component part. Over-indebtedness can be caused by, and contribute to, social exclusion, financial exclusion and poverty. It is also one of the main causes of depressive illness, and can be a barrier to obtaining work. For all these reasons, helping people to attend to their indebtedness is particularly important to us.

We provide a comprehensive service to help people who face problems with indebtedness, including income maximisation, budget preparation and advice and assistance with legal processes, including Debt Relief Orders, a legal remedy for debt designed for people with no assets. In some cases, it is possible to get debt written-off, but in the overwhelming majority of cases we can improve the situation for people by putting them back in control and easing the stress or pressure they were under.

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Help to Claim

Our Help to Claim service can support you in the early stages of your Universal Credit claim, from the application, through to your first payment.

Help to Claim is a dedicated service from Citizens Advice. It's free, independent and confidential. Our trained advisers can help with things like how to gather evidence for your application or how to prepare for your work coach appointment.

Call us for free: 0800 144 8 444 (England)

For online advice visit:

If you're a local organisation working with people who need to help applying Universal Credit get in touch with Clare Whittle - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on how you can signpost or refer people to our service.


Mental health needs

Our Community Support Project provides a dedicated advice and support service for people with mental health needs, their families and carers.

The service is provided in accessible locations, and the advisers are trained and experienced in attending to the needs of mental health service users.

The service is available through referral from mental health service providers and by direct access by clients.

For clients, appointments are made where appropriate through the telephone line (0808 2787 801) or through the video drop-in sessions.

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MoneyPlan is an initiative to give financial guidance to consumers who wouldn't ordinarily be able to access professional advice.

Citizens Advice Wigan Borough, Personal Finance Society and Just are working together to provide free generic financial advice to all our clients who need it. Our volunteer Financial Adviser is fully qualified and will provide advice on an appointment basis at our Leigh offices in a face to face interview or by telephone on any aspect of financial advice such as mortgages, endowments, equity release, financial planning, pensions, tax and savings and investments.

To arrange an appointment, drop-in via video and speak to one of our advisors or telephone 0808 2787 801.


Pension Wise

Pension Wise

Pension Wise is a free and impartial government service about the different ways you can take money from your pension.

You can book an appointment – a 45-minute conversation between you and a Pension Wise guidance specialist. You'll get guidance on:

  • your pension options
  • tax
  • which options might be suitable for you
  • what you can do next

Appointments are over the phone or face to face. At the end you get a summary of the pension options and possible next steps. To book an appointment you should be 50 years old or over and have a defined contribution pension.

Pension Wise guidance specialists are impartial – they don't recommend any products or companies and won't tell you how to invest your money.

Citizens Advice Wigan Borough offers Pension Wise appointments in Wigan, Leigh, Bolton, Bury, Radcliffe, Salford, Oldham and Rochdale

For more information visit the Pension Wise website or phone 0800 138 8292 (or +44 20 3733 3495 if you're outside the UK) to book an appointment.


Referrals from partner agencies

If you work with people who could benefit from social welfare advice, for example:

  • people whose mental health is deteriorating because they see no way of coping with their financial problems
  • families who are facing loss of their home through being unable to maintain their mortgage payments following loss of their job through redundancy or ill health
  • people who, through ill health or disability, need help with sorting out their benefit entitlements and advice on the services available

then we would like to work with you to help and support them.

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