Get help with the cost of living

Financial challenges can impact anyone, and there are numerous reasons behind them. Whether it's grappling with bill payments, unexpected expenses, or simply managing day-to-day costs, help is at hand. Here are a few avenues to explore for some extra support.

8 December 2023

Contact Your Energy Bill Provider

Skyrocketing energy bills, especially during the frigid winter months, can put a dent in your finances. If paying your energy bills has become a struggle, reach out to your energy bill provider. Instead of suffering in silence, inquire about possible payment plans, budgeting advice, or even grants to alleviate the burden of energy costs.

Check Your Eligibility for Government Support

Various government support schemes aim to ease financial strain. Some programs assisting with general living costs include:

Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born before September 25, 1957, you might qualify for a payment to assist with heating bills, ranging from £250 to £600, including a "pensioner cost of living payment." Eligible people should automatically receive this payment, but if you haven't, you can claim it on the website.

Cold Weather Payment

People receiving certain benefits may be entitled to £25 for each 7-day period of freezing weather when the temperature drops below 0 degrees for seven consecutive days. If you’re eligible, these payments should be automatic.

Free School Meals

Families with lower incomes receiving government benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit may be eligible for free school meals. You can get an application form from your child's school if you meet the criteria.

Discretionary Housing Payment

If rent payments are a struggle, consider applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment from your local council. Applications can be made through your local council on the website website.

Check Your Eligibility for Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly government payment designed to help with living costs. You might qualify if you have a low income and need help covering essentials, regardless of your employment status. To apply, ensure you meet the following criteria:

    • Live in the UK
    • Be aged 18 or over (with exceptions for 16-17-year-olds)
    • Be under the state pension age
    • Have £16,000 or less in savings, money, and investments

If you believe you meet the criteria, submit your application through the website.

Seek Council Assistance for Essential Costs

Local councils in the UK offer support for crucial expenses like housing, food, and clothing. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for aid through:

Council Tax Reduction

This reduces your council tax based on your income and personal circumstances.

Council Cost of Living Payment

Some councils provide emergency support for essential needs, such as bills, food, and everyday items. Your council may also offer food vouchers for families during school holidays. Check with your local council to explore available support.

Financial Struggles and Mental Health

Financial difficulties can impact mental health. If financial stress is affecting your mental well-being, you can seek support through:

NHS Services

The NHS offers access to mental health services, including counseling and therapy. Discuss your feelings with your GP, who can refer you to further support. Additional assistance can be found on the NHS website.

Mental Health Charities

Organizations like Mind and Samaritans provide support for people dealing with mental health issues, helping you cope with the emotional toll of financial difficulties. Financial Counseling: Engage with financial counselors or advisors who can assist in managing your money, creating a budget, and finding ways to cope with financial stress.

Facing financial challenges is tough, but support is available, ranging from assistance with energy bills to government programs and local council aid. Don't hesitate to seek help when needed, remembering that support is there to help with money worries and preserve your mental well-being.