With rising bills and prices kicking in from today onwards, many on a low income will be worried about how to make ends meet. However, many Universal Credit claimants will find they are eligible for important forms of support. When taken all together, these ‘freebies’ are worth nearly £9,000 and could make a real difference.
Energy supplier grants
For example, the British Gas Energy Trust currently offers £1,500 to struggling households, regardless of whether they are a British Gas customer or not.
Other supplier grants on offer include:
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
- EDF Customer Support Fund
- E.ON Grant
- E.ON Next Grant
- British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
- British Gas Energy Trust.
Cost of living payments – £900
A £900 cost of living payment is coming in instalments to Britons on certain benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Pension Credit
From April, millions will receive £301 in cash to help them with rising bills, and the payment will be made automatically to those who are eligible.
Help to Save – up to £1,200
A Help to Save account could help some Universal Credit claimants get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over four years.
Universal Credit claimants will be eligible if they, and their partner if it is a joint claim, had take-home pay of £658.64 or more in their last monthly assessment period.
The most a person can pay into their account each calendar month is £50, which is £2,400 over four years. The most they can earn from savings in four years is £1,200 in bonus money.
Council tax help
The average bill for a band D home is £1,966, so a reduction in council tax for low income families could be a real help.
As bills rise this month, millions will be worried about increased costs, but some could get a discount.
People can check their eligibility for this by reaching out to their local council.
Other ‘freebies’ and forms of support people could find they are entitled to include:
- Free travel and childcare when looking for work
- Free prescriptions and dental treatment
- WaterSure scheme to help with bills
- Free £150 for school uniforms
- Free school meals
- Household Support Fund.