You can tell your bank to reserve certain payments into your account and only use them to pay certain bills. This is called a “first right of appropriation of funds” order.

For example, you could ask them to only use your housing benefits payments for your rent, rather than using the money to pay another bill.

Banks are not allowed to use housing benefit or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.

You can use this for any money paid into your account, including payments from the self-isolation scheme. You will need to tell your bank what payments you want to use for which bills.

How to request a first right of appropriation of funds order

You need to write to your bank to request this, at least seven days before the payment you want to reserve is due.

You can download a template letter from National Debtline to request this.

You should keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later. You may want to ask your bank for a written acknowledgement of your request.

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