Last updated on 16/03/2023
Reading time: 7 minutes
We understand talking about money worries can be difficult and can feel uncomfortable. It is essential to remember you are not alone. If you are worried about the cost of living, we are here to support you to get the help you need and deserve, offer guidance and share information and support from other organisations.
Lisa, our Welfare officer is here to help you look at the whole picture if you struggle to find one that you meet the criteria for or even if you find this all too overwhelming,
The Spring Budget happened in March 2023. The Chancellor confirmed that they would continue to cap the price of energy, which we had campaigned for along with many others. However, from April 2023, the Government will no longer be supplementing this policy with a grant towards bills. Therefore, your bills may now increase.
UK Government Support
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount has changed this year, eligible customers in England and Wales will receive payments automatically rather than having to apply to your energy supplier as they did in previous years.
The Warm Home Discount provides a one-off payment of £150 to eligible customers to reduce their bills over the winter period. The scheme is open between October 2022 and March 2023.
Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
Cold Weather Payment
A Cold Weather Payment is a one-off payment to help pay for extra costs when it is very cold. Whenever the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a set period, you will get a payment of £25 a week for each seven-day period of cold weather if you are eligible.
Find out more on https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is available if you have reached state pension age and covers people who were born on or before 25th September 1956. This is an annual tax-free payment to help with heating costs.
You should ensure that you are registered to get it, and then you will receive this payment automatically every year. This year, In November or December you will automatically get an extra £300 ‘pensioner cost of living payment’ with your usual Winter Fuel Payment, if you are aged 66 on the qualifying period.
Find out how to claim at https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
We will continue to keep you updated on this as more information is released from the Government. We shall be doing so on our Website and Social Media. You can sign up for to our e-Newsletter and also subscribe to our Leukaemia Matters magazine where you can receive all news, information, support and updates directly from us.
Energy Suppliers Offering Grants to Customers
These energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:
- British Gas Energy Support Fund – apply for a grant on the British Gas Energy Trust website
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund – apply for a grant on the Scottish Power Hardship Fund website
- Ovo Energy Fund – apply for a grant on the Ovo Energy Fund website
- E.ON Energy Fund – apply for a grant on the E.ON Energy Fund website
- E.ON Next Energy Fund – apply for a grant on the E.ON Next Energy Fund website
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund – sign up to the priority services register to apply for a grant on the EDF Energy website
- Bulb Energy Fund – apply for a grant on the Bulb Energy Fund website Closed until 2023
- Octopus ‘Octo Assist Fund’ – apply for a grant on the Octopus website
- Shell Energy Support Fund – apply for help on the Shell Energy website
- Utility Warehouse project helps customers who may be experiencing or at risk of fuel poverty or are in financial hardship. Advisers and caseworkers provide holistic debt advice, including income maximisation, budgeting, benefit eligibility, and energy efficiency. They can advise on eligibility and support with applications for a one-off payment of £150 (financial assistance scheme) or debt write-off through the Utility Warehouse Customer Support Scheme. To apply for support, call Utility Warehouse on 0333 777 0777.
If your supplier isn’t listed, it’s a good idea to contact them directly to see what extra support they can give you.
British Gas Energy Trust
The British Gas Energy Trust will consider applications for grants from anyone, regardless of your energy supplier.
Help with household bills
- Household Support Fund – The Government has provided extra money to local councils to help those struggling with costs and fill gaps in support.
- Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are provided by your local authority (or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive website) and can provide extra money for help with your rent.
- Support for mortgage interest (SMI) is a loan from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and can help with mortgage costs, if you are on a means-tested benefit.
- If you are struggling with the cost of Council Tax, check if your local authority has a discretionary Council Tax scheme and whether you are entitled to any discounts.
- Council Tax Reduction, sometimes called Council Tax Support – You could be eligible if you’re on low income or claim benefits. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
- Local welfare assistance schemes – Many councils have a scheme offering financial assistance to low-income families in need. This may take the form of a grant, a loan or assistance in kind. This can be food, fuel vouchers, furniture, and white goods –in a few places this can be a cash payment.
- In England, some councils have a Local Welfare Assistance Scheme to help people with emergency support, providing vouchers or a prepaid card to pay for food, fuel or furniture. The type of help available and who qualifies varies from council to council. Check with your local council to see what support is offered locally.
- Food banks – Most food banks need a referral from a charity or a professional. You can check online to see if there are any independent food banks that you can go to without a referral, or ask the CF team if they can refer you.
Every year people in the UK miss out on billions of pounds worth of benefits. Whether you’re claiming benefits or not, it’s a good idea to check you are receiving all that you are entitled to. There are a few different ways to check this, you could:
Contact our Helpline if you would like to speak to our Welfare Team. Find out what benefits and financial support you might be able to get to help with your living costs using an independent benefits calculator to find out what benefits you could get.
You may be able to get other kinds of support, including:
- Household Support Fund from Your local council in England
- Information about Disability Living Allowance
- Information about Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Information about Universal Credit
We provide support with applying for benefits, such as DLA, PIP or Universal Credit. Please contact us if you would like more information.
Cost of Living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
- Nest offers a range of free, impartial advice and, if you are eligible, a package of free home energy efficiency improvements such as a new boiler, central heating, insulation.
- In Wales, the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) provides grants to help with essential costs after an emergency or help you or someone you care for to live independently.
- Wales fuel support scheme: A £200 one-off payment from the Winter Fuel Support Scheme to help pay winter fuel bills. This includes if you don’t use gas or electricity for heating. The scheme will be open to households in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits at any time between 1 September 2022 and 31 January 2023.
- The Scottish Government has launched the Cost of Living Support Scotland hub for advice and support.
- The Scottish Welfare Fund supports individuals and families in Scotland on low incomes through Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants.
- The Home Heating Support Fund is available in Scotland to support you if you are struggling with your energy costs.
- Section 12 Payments can be paid to a vulnerable person aged 18 or over, and can cover emergencies, debts as well as preventative help to avoid a person’s needs becoming greater.
- In Northern Ireland, the Finance Support Service supports people in need of short-term financial assistance through the Discretionary Support scheme.
If there is anything in this article you don’t quite understand, or would like more information on, our Welfare Officer will be happy to help and give you the right advice. We can help with the right information, applications and other financial support you might be eligible for. Contact our welfare Officer by emailing her at email@example.com or calling 08088 010 444.