Tuesday, September 27, 2022

All the things you can get financial help with (Updated)


Financial Help

Claimants of Universal Credit could be due thousands worth of extra financial of extra help, but may not be aware of it.

Low income Brits are struggling with their household budgets in the face of rising costs – from household bills like gas and electricity to food and general cost of living – but they could get up to thirty different kinds of assistance.

Universal Credit claimants almost doubled during the pandemic to 6 million Brits, and more than a third of these are working but claiming from the Department for Work and Pensions because their income is not high enough on its own. Benefits than can be claimed include Council Tax reduction.

Shockingly, 15 billion pounds of benefit money is lost every year by not being claimed, with pensioners missing out the most. More than a quarter of million older people also don’t claim Housing Benefit which could save them £4,000 per year.

A complete list of help available…

Experts say one of the main problems remains that there is a stigma attached to asking for help, although people may genuinely not be aware that this help is available. So here’s a list of benefits you could be claiming to help you through hard times, each one is linked to more information:

Reduced council tax bills

You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Your bill could be reduced by up to 100%.

You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working. What you get depends on where you live, your individual circumstances, such as your income, the number of children you have, the benefits you receive, etc, your entire household income, whether your children live with you and whether other adults live with you.

Capped water bills

If you live in England or Wales, are on certain benefits, have a water meter and use a lot of water because you either have a medical condition or three or more children, you could claim financial aid. This is called the Water Sure scheme.

People who meet the criteria for help may have their water bill capped at the amount of the average household water bill for their water company, or in some cases, even less.

Half price bus

You may get free or reduced price travel with the Statutory English National Concessionary Travel Scheme pass. The scheme provides travel for free on local bus services anywhere in England, between 9:30am and 11pm during weekdays and anytime on weekends and bank holidays.

DISCOUNTED RAIL FARES

There are a range of railcards available that offer discounts on rail travel. These include the 16-25 railcard, the family and friends railcard, the senior railcard and more. Find out which railcard suits you here.

Free or discounted gym membership

You may be eligible for free or concessionary memberships at your local gym or leisure centre if you claim:

  • Housing benefit
  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers’ Allowance
  • Working Families Tax Credit
  • Carers Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Help with new job costs

Going back to work does not mean giving up all your benefits. Some benefits may carry on, and others may become available once you’re working.

You should contact Jobcentre Plus if you’ve found a job and you or your partner have been getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Allowance, Income Support or Universal Credit.

Your work coach will help you to manage your move into work, and sort out changes to your other benefits, including tax credits. What you can get will depend on how long you were claiming these benefits without a break.

Warm Home Discount

You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. This is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March. There are 2 ways you could qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The first, is if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, the second is if you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.

Cold Weather Payments

If you are eligible for Cold Weather Payments, you will get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. You will receive £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

Free or cheap broadband from TalkTalk, Virgin Media and BT

Do you know about Social Tariffs? Ofcom has discovered that millions of families struggling with the rising cost of living could save £144 each on their annual broadband costs.

Free prescriptions for people on low incomes

Some groups are automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions. Others can apply for certificates that entitle them to free NHS prescriptions. Some prescribed items are always free, including contraceptives and medication given to hospital inpatients.

Free dental treatment

You may be eligible for free dental treatment if you receive Universal Credit and either had no earnings or had net earnings of £435 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period, or if you or your partner had limited capability for work, and you either had no earnings or net earnings of £935 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period.

Eye tests and discounted glasses

You’re entitled to a free NHS sight test if you are under 16, between 16 and 18 years old or are in full time education. You are also eligible if you are over the age of 60. If you are registered as partially sighted, blind, have diabetes or glaucoma, you are also entitled to a free sight test.

Similarly, if you are over the age of 40 and a close family member has been diagnosed with glaucoma or have been advised by an eye doctor you are at risk of glaucoma, you are eligible.

You are also entitled if you or your partner  receive, or are the dependant of someone receiving:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria

Free school transport

You may be able to get help with home to school transport for your child. You can search for your postcode here, to see the help available in your area.

Free school meals

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit

Discounted childcare costs

You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit. The most you can get back each month from childcare costs is £646 for one child and £1108 for 2 or more children.

£150 towards school uniforms

This is dependent on your local authority. Check if your local council provides help with the cost of school uniform and sports kit. If your council does not offer help, you can ask your child’s school directly.

£1,200 free cash as part of the Government’s Help to Save scheme

Saving when you’re on a low income seems impossible – but with the Government’s Help to Save account, it’s not only possible but lands you with a whopping 50% bonus.

Food vouchers for kids as part of the Healthy Start scheme

You may qualify for the Healthy Start scheme if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or you have at least one child that’s under 4. In addition, you must be receiving at least of the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

Maternity grant up to £1,000

You could get a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. This is known as a Sure Start Maternity Grant. You usually qualify for the grant if you are expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a multiple birth and have children already. You or your partner must also be in receipt of certain benefits.

Disabled Facilities Grant (up to £30,000) to make changes to a home

You could be eligible for a grant from your council if you’re disabled and need to make changes to your home, such as widening doors and installing ramps, improving access to certain rooms and facilities, providing an essential heating system or adapting lighting and heating controls.

Homeowners can apply for up to £10,000 to pay for a boiler

You may be eligible for a boiler grant if your current boiler is over 5 years old and you claim one of the 16 benefits listed here.

help to pay for double glazing as part of the Green Homes Scheme

On 8th July 2020, the Chancellor announced a Green Homes Grant available in England, Wales, and Scotland. This scheme enables landlords and homeowners to fund, or partially fund, costs of upgrading their homes’ energy performance.

Up to £300 in Winter Fuel Payments

If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills.

Free wigs or fabric support provided by the NHS

You can get free wigs and fabric supports if you are:

  • under 16
  • 16-18 and in full-time education
  • a hospital inpatient
  • a war pensioner and the wig or fabric support is for your accepted disablement and you have a valid war pension exemption certificate

You may also be eligible if you receive certain benefits.

Free health travel costs

f you’re referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund of reasonable travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS).

Help with housing costs

You may be eligible for housing benefit. This helps with the cost of your rent. Housing Benefit will not cover heating, hot water, energy or food. If you need help, use a benefits calculator to check what else you might be entitled to.

Help with funeral costs

You can get a Funeral Expenses Payment if you get certain benefits or tax credits, you meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased and you’re arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Bereavement support payments

You may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner died in the last 21 months. This must be claimed within 3 months of your partner’s death to get the full amount. You can claim up to 21 months after their death but you’ll get fewer monthly payments.





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