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Cost of living: other organisations that could help

Help from benefits

Make sure you’re getting all the benefits you should be. It’s estimated that at least seven million people aren’t claiming the benefits they should be, and any extra income will help you pay for essential items.

There are lots of different types of benefits. Each benefit has its own set of rules. What you are entitled to will depend on your personal circumstances. It can be affected by things such as your age, household income, savings, National Insurance contribution (NIC) record and whether you are able to work.

We have listed some of the main benefits below, if you click on the relevant benefit you’ll find more information about the benefit, the eligibility criteria and how to apply.

You can do a free personalised benefits check with Turn2us in less than 10 minutes. Millions of people already have, so don’t miss out: go to Turn2us and see what you could get.

Out of work and low income

  • Universal Credit is now the main benefit for people who are out of work or are on a low income. Depending on your situation, Universal Credit can also help with housing costs, the costs of raising a child and childcare costs.
  • If you are looking for work, you may be able to claim New Style Jobseekers’ Allowance.
  • If you have a low income or receive benefits, you may be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction.

Children

If you have children from a former relationship, check you are getting the correct amount of child maintenance. You can find advice and arrange child maintenance on the GOV.UK website. If you are unable to use the website, you can speak to a Child Maintenance Service case worker on 0800 171 2345.

  • If eligible, Universal Credit can help with the costs of raising a child and childcare.
  • Most people with children can also claim Child Benefit.
  • You may be able to claim Maternity Allowance if you need to take time off work to have a baby.
  • A sure start Maternity Grant is £500 that can help with the costs of having a child if you receive certain benefits.

Ill or disabled

  • Personal Independence Payments can help people aged over 16 with the costs of a long-term health condition or disability.
  • If you are employed but too ill to work, you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance can help people who do not receive Statutory Sick Pay but have limited capability to work due to illness or disability. It can be claimed alongside Universal Credit.
  • If you look after someone who is ill or disabled for at least 35 hours per week, you may be able to claim Carer's Allowance.

People over pension age

  • You may be able to claim Pension Credit if you are over state pension age and are on a low income.
  • If you are eligible for Pension Credit you will also receive a free TV Licence.

Housing costs

Help from charitable grants

Lots of organisations have set up charitable funds that give grants if you are in financial difficulty. This is money that could help make your situation easier to manage and you do not need to pay it back.

Each organisation has its own rules for who it will help. These vary and could, for example, be based on:

  • where you live;
  • you, or your partner's, current or previous job;
  • whether you have any medical needs; or
  • your financial situation.

Turn2us can search over 1,600 charitable grants for you. Use the Turn2us Grants Search tool to find charitable organisations that might be able to help you. Go to https://grants-search.turn2us.org.uk. It takes less than five minutes on average.

See our Help from charitable organisations fact sheet for more information along with tips on applying for a grant.

Energy and water grants

Several energy and water providers have charitable grants that can help people to pay their bills if they are in financial difficulty. Details of any grants will be on your energy supplier’s website. You can also find water and energy grants through the Turn2us grants search.

Help from government support schemes

The government has announced a range of support to help households with rising energy bills and living costs.

Cost of Living Payment. You may be eligible for a payment of up to £650 if you are getting certain benefits or tax credits.

The payment will be made in two instalments. To be eligible for the first instalment you must have been entitled, or later be found to be entitled to payment of:

  • Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit (or a tax credit annual award of at least £26) for any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022;
  • Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022; or
  • either income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit on any day during the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.

If you are eligible, payments will be made into the account you have your benefit paid into.

  • If you are eligible because you receive Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit, the first instalment of £326 should have been paid to you by 7 September 2022 and the second payment will be made from winter 2022.
  • If you are eligible because you receive another qualifying benefit, the first instalment of £326 should have been paid to you by 31 July 2022 and the second payment will be made from autumn 2022.

If you believe that you should have had a payment but have not yet received it, you should contact the office that pays your benefit. You can find more information on the GOV.UK page report a missing Cost of Living Payment.

The government has announced a further £900 Cost of Living Payment for 2023-24. We will update this page with more detail when we have it.

For more information, see GOV.UK.

Disability Cost of Living Payment. You may be eligible for a one-off payment of £150 if you are getting one of the following qualifying benefits: Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance, Armed Forces Independent Payment or War Pension Mobility Supplement.

To be eligible, you will need to have received (or later receive) a payment of a qualifying benefit for 25 May 2022.

If you are eligible, you should have received the payment in September 2022. The £150 is in addition to any entitlement you have for the £650 Cost of Living Payment.

The government has announced a further £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment for 2023-24. We will update this page with more detail when we have it.

For more information, see GOV.UK.

Pensioner Cost of Living Payment.

The Winter Fuel Payment is a one-off, tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 that is made during the winter to help with heating costs if you are eligible for the payment. For winter 2022-23 , this payment will be topped up with a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment of between £150 to £300.

You may be eligible for the payment if you were born on or before 25 September 1956.

The payment is normally made in November or December. It is usually paid automatically to anybody who is eligible, but in some circumstances you may have to apply for the payment.

The government has announced a further £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment for 2023-24. We will update this page with more detail when we have it.

For more information, see GOV.UK.

Council tax rebate and discretionary fund (England). If you live in England, you may be eligible for a council tax rebate of £150 if you were liable for council tax on a property within band A-D on 1 April 2022.

If you are eligible and you pay your council tax by direct debit, you should receive the money into your bank account. If you do not pay by direct debit, your local authority should contact you to invite you to make a claim for this payment.

Local authorities will also be helping some households in England that are not eligible for the £150 council tax rebate payment. This may apply to you if your home is exempt from council tax or you have a low income and your home is in council tax band E-H. Contact your local council for information on eligibility and how to apply.

See GOV.UK for a tool to check your council tax band and for a fact sheet with further information.

Cost-of-living payment (Wales). The Welsh Government has announced that a £150 payment will be provided to all households that on 15 February 2022 were

  • in receipt of Council Tax Reduction; or
  • occupied households in council tax bands A-D.

If you are eligible and you pay your council tax by direct debit, you should receive the money into your bank account. If you do not pay by direct debit, you may have to register details with your local council to receive the payment. For more information, contact your local council.

Winter Fuel Support Scheme (Wales). Under this scheme, you may be eligible for a one-off payment of £200 if you are in receipt of certain benefits. If you are eligible, you will need to apply to your local authority for the payment. Applications open on 26 September 2022.

For more information, including full eligibility criteria, see GOV.WALES.

Other government support

There are other support schemes which were already in place that may help you with paying for some of your essential items. We've detailed these below. If you find yourself struggling to pay your bills, buy food or need to purchase an essential item you should speak to your local council to see what help they can provide.

Household support fund (England only)

The Household Support Fund allows councils to give small grants to help vulnerable households meet essential costs, including paying for food and energy bills. Contact your local council to check if you may be eligible for support from the fund.

Welfare assistance schemes

In England, some councils have a welfare assistance scheme which can help if you are in an emergency situation. Individual councils decide on the rules for their scheme. Contact your local council to see whether they run a welfare assistance scheme and what it offers.

The government in Wales has made £25 million available to local authorities to provide support to households struggling with the rising costs of living. This discretionary fund may be able to help you with heating costs. Contact your local council for details of their scheme and how to apply.