Home Tv & Show Universal Credit claimants to get £500m help with bills after benefit cut...

Universal Credit claimants to get £500m help with bills after benefit cut – how much can you get?

175
0


BRTIS struggling to get by after the Universal Credit was cut by £20 a week can access fresh cash.

The government has made £500m available to local councils to help cover the cost of bills, food and other essentials this winter.

Money for help with bills depends on where you live

The pot of cash is distributed according to each areas size, population and needs, and is then dished out to those who need it locally.

There will be £12.8m given out in Birmingham – the largest amount of any area – followed by £11m for Kent and £9.7million in Lancashire.

Posh areas like Windsor and Richmond will be allocated less than £1m each while Tower Hamlets, the most deprived area in London, will get £3m of funding.

Cash through the Household Support Fund will go to local authorities by the end of October.

Anyone who needs help with bills, food or other household essentials, not just those in Universal Credit, will need to apply directly.

You can find your local council using this tool and searching you postcode.

If information about the scheme is not yet listed on your local authority’s website, you can call or email for more information.


Each area will have a different way to access the money, like with previous support known as the Winter Covid Support Grant.

For instance in Wokingham that grant was given out as cash, while in Oxfordshire vouchers were made available for help with fuel costs.

And the amount you can get will depend on where you are too.

The cash has been made available for council to hand out locally according to needs of people in the area.

An investigation by The Sun found that the maximum Covid Winter Grant was £1,500.

The new Household Support Fund will replace the Covid Winter Grant scheme.

The help comes as millions of Brits face their first month without the Covid uplift to Unviersal Credit, leaving them over £1,000 a year worse off.

At the same time households face rising cost for everyday living costs, including energy bills, fuel and food.

There’s other help anyone struggling can get when they’re on Universal Credit too.

Council tax help

If you’re on Universal Credit or a low income then you may be able to get help paying for your council tax.

You’ll need to apply for this from your local council in England and Wales, which you can find on Gov.uk.

The amount of discount you get depends on your circumstances, your income and who you live with as well as your local council, as they each run different schemes.

The help can range from a reduction of your bill to a total exemption where you pay no council tax at all.

Energy bill support

Cold Weather Payment are intended to help you with the cost of heating your home during winter.

With bills set to rise this could help cover extra the cost.

Cold Weather Payments are given out when the average temperature in your area is recorded as or is forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.

You’ll receive £25 for each period of very cold weather between November 1 and March 31.

You do not need to apply for this benefit, if you are on Universal Credit you will get it automatically.

Brits can also apply for extra help with their energy bills worth £140 from their energy company.

Anyone on a low income struggling with electricity costs can apply for the help now ahead of winter.

You can find out how to apply for the £140 reduction on your energy bill through the Warm Home Discount scheme here.

Cheaper internet

People on Universal Credit can get low cost connections from providers.

BT Home Essentials can save customers who are on Universal Credit and other benefits £240 per year on their bills, the telecoms firm says.

You can get online and make calls for just £15 per month, or £20 a month if you want speedier internet.

There’s also call-only tariff which costs £10 per month.

Equivalent tariffs for those not claiming benefits cost £27.99 for the internet connections and £7 for calls.

Virgin Media also offers a deal for those on Universal Credit called Essential.

It’s priced at £15 per month and offers 15mbps, but does not come with calls and is for existing Virgin customers only.

Other options out there right now are similarly priced, but are not as widely available, including local provider Hyperoptic and KCOM.

Reducing your grocery bills

If you’re pregnant or have a child under the age of four then you may qualify for Healthy Start vouchers to help pay for basic foods such as milk or fruit.

They can be used in shops across the UK and can also be used to buy pregnancy and breastfeeding vitamins, and vitamins for children aged six months to five years old.

You can apply for free school meals for your child if you’re claiming certain benefits including Universal Credit.

Some will need to apply through their local authority so that it can ask for extra funding from the government, while other councils will ask you to contact the school directly.

Type in your postcode on the government website and you’ll be redirected to your local council’s website to apply.

Debt advisers shared their eight money saving secrets with us – including cutting grocery bills.

Using food waste apps could cut hundreds off your bill.

If you’re really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free.

You can find your nearest one on the Trussell Trust website.

Help with rent

If your Universal Credit payment is not enough to cover your rent, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

This will give you extra money if your council decides you need help to meet your housing costs. You don’t need to repay a DHP.

You can use it to cover a rent shortfall, rent deposits, or rent in advance if you need to move house.

You can’t get a payment to help pay your Council Tax, but we’ve outlined ways you could get help on that above.

You’ll have to apply through your local council by downloading an application form from their website or phoning them.

Check out how to find your local council here.

If you’re falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord.

You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you’re part of a couple.

Support looking for work

The Flexible Support Fund is designed to help people claiming unemployment benefits to find a job.

It is offered by local jobcentres by Jobcentre Plus advisers.

The scheme is discretionary and you do not have an automatic right to it if you qualify.

The payment will cover travel expenses to attend an interview and tools and clothing or uniforms required to start work.

If you are claiming Universal Credit, you may also be able to get help with the first month of childcare costs from the Flexible Support Fund.

There is no set amount you claim as the payment will depend on individual circumstances.

You could get a one-off payment worth up to £812 – but you’ll need to pay it back.

 

We pay for your stories!

Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team?

Email us at [email protected]

Previous articleMcDavid nets hat trick, Oilers douse Flames 5-2
Next article'Stick with science' Patrick Vallance hits out at scientists getting political

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here