General Questions About this Bureau
No you do not need to make an appointment, you can just turn up during our opening hours, if the adviser feels you need a further appointment, one will be made for you.
Occasionally we may need to close our doors early if we have filled all the available appointment and drop in slots for the day. If this is the case you will need to try again another day. For our opening hours please see here.
We may also need to close our offices for staff training or other unforeseen circumstances. We try to make people aware of when this will happen via our twitter page, and signs posted on our doors.
Generally yes you can change your appointment but you need to be aware that, with a limited amount of appointment slots it maybe several weeks before we have another one available, so if you can, it is best to attend the appointment we have with you as the problem you came in with may need to be dealt with by a certain date.
Including us our Adviceline number can be picked up by a couple of other Citizens Advice in Kent, though like us this will only be during opening hours. If we are busy you may need to try again later.
You can also contact the National Adviceline on 03444 111 444. This is available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. It’s usually busiest at the beginning and end of the day. It's not available on public holidays. Calls to the National Adviceline cost the same as calls to landline numbers.
If you would like to chat to someone via the web, you can do so here. Web chat Service 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Coronavirus / Covid-19 Questions
With all the answers below things are changing rapidly so please be aware things may have changed please check GOV.UK for the latest advice
We closed all our offices and outreaches on the 17th March 2020. They will remain closed until further notice. In the meantime we are providing advice by telephone.
For general enquiries please call 01304 374333
For Debt please call 01304 202422
For Universal Credit please call 01304 202030
Please note: this will only operate between 9:30am and 4pm Monday to Thursday
Alternatively you can email us here: email
Given the current circumstances we are very busy at the moment, and we are working hard to help as many people as possible. Please try again later.
Please see the latest advice on the NHS website here NHS Website
From GOV.UK website This will change at some point please check the linked page for the most up to date information.
“People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.
People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.
You should not attend the jobcentre unless directed to do so for an exceptional purpose.
People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible.
If you apply for Universal Credit you will need to make an appointment for your new claim interview. This interview will take place by telephone with a work coach. You will be given the number to call to book this appointment when you have submitted your claim.”
From GOV.UK website This will change at some point please check the GOV.UK website for the latest information.
“face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended for the next 3 months including for any new claims.”
Please call 01304 374333 during our opening hours (Monday to Friday 9:30am – 4pm).
When we book you a telephone appointment we'll give you a code. When the adviser calls you, they will say this code. That way you'll know that it really is us.
You have to have been employed on the 28th Febuary to be eligible for the 80% furlough scheme. If you’ve voluntarily left your job you won’t be. You could claim against your new employer for breach of contract but even if they took you on the scheme wouldn’t be available to you.
You may be eligible to claim benefits, to find out if you can please use the Turn2Us website Benefit Calculator here. If you require help making a benefit claim please call us on 01304 374333 and we can book a telephone appointment and someone will help you.
Self-employed workers or partnerships that have suffered a loss of income due to the coronavirus will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the past three years. It is capped at £2,500 a month. Initially the cash will be available for three months in a single lump sum payment, and will probably only start to be paid in June at the earliest.
The Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme is open to those who were trading in the last financial year, still trading now, and planning to continue doing so this year.
The chancellor Rishi Sunak said it will cover 95% of the self-employed who make most of their money from self-employment.
These are the criteria that the self-employed must meet to be eligible:
- More than half of a claimant’s income needs to come from self-employment
- They must have a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2017-18.
- They must have a full year of accounts – those who do not will not be eligible
If you pay yourself a salary and dividends through your own company, you won’t be covered by the scheme. However, you may be able to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if you are operating through PAYE.
Please use this page on the Government website to register yourself or someone else as extremely vulnerable, you or the person you are registering will need to have at least one of the medical conditions listed to register.
Please note the following supermarkets offer deliveries by shopping online
(please note that all supermarket call centres are very busy, please check their websites as their policies may change quickly):
- Iceland are only delivering to over 65’s, vulnerable, or self-isolating.
- Tesco are prioritising those on the Governments vulnerable list.
- Asda seems to be open all currently.
- Sainsbury’s are prioritising those on the government vulnerable list and those over 70. If you are over 70 you can call 0800 953 4988 to be added to their priority list.
- Waitrose are prioritising those on the Governments vulnerable list and those over 70.
- Co-op only allow an order for a maximum of up to 20 items.
- Morrisons appears to be open to all at the moment.
“Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
This includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national governmentThis only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.”