Here are some useful steps to help you manage during this time and access support that you may need
Use the benefits calculator to check you’re claiming everything you are entitled to.
You may be able to claim Universal Credit for help with your living and housing costs. You can claim Universal Credit online or call0800 328 5644 (Mon-Fri 8 am-6 pm). Universal Credit is paid directly into your bank account monthly, which means you're responsible for paying your full rent to us. The easiest way to pay is to set up a Direct Debit so that, when your rent's due, it will be taken out of your bank account without you having to do anything. If you don’t already have one, open a bank account. Make sure you can use it to set up direct debits or standing orders to pay your bills. Create a monthly household budget to keep track of your spending across the month.
Get full support on making a UC claim with Citizens Advice Bureau’s “Help To Claim” team- 0800 144 8 444.
Please note: When you submit a new claim for universal credit and you're already receiving legacy benefits such as tax credits, your entitlement to those benefits would end.
Council Assistance Funds
Every borough has a discretionary, Household Support Fund to help with costs such as food and utilities. Check out your local authority’s website for more information.
Government help with gas and electricity bills
The government has announced several schemes to help with the rising costs of utilities. Please see updates here Help for households. Much of the support available is paid automatically to those who are eligible with active claims however, residents need to apply for;
Warm Home discount scheme
You could get £140 off your electricity bill or towards your prepayment meter if you are on a low income or in receipt of guarantee credit element of pension credit. The scheme is available between September and March. https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
Winter fuel payment
You may be able to get a Winter Fuel Payment of between £100-£300 towards winter heating bills. To check if you are eligible Winter Fuel Payment. https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
Utilities and water companies
Many offer extra support to vulnerable people and/or those on low incomes, we’ve put together this helpful guide with details of extra support offered by utilities and water companies.
Discretionary help with arrears
Get help from your local Council. You may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment or get help from the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme. Each council runs its own scheme with different qualifying criteria but some may be able to help with food vouchers, energy top-ups, or grants to deal with emergencies. It's worth having a look at your council’s website to see if you can apply.
Employment and training support
If someone in your household is looking for work, training, or an apprenticeship visit Mears Group career's website or you can access free training if you’re eligible here.
A debt adviser can support you to re-organise your finances so that you meet priority payments such as utilities, food and rent. An adviser can also talk you through other options available to help deal with problem debt. Check out www.stepchange.org.uk for further information.
Check out www.stepchange.org.uk for further information.
A new Government page Help for Households provides useful advice on all support available.
Help with food
Help with other bills