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Get help with the cost of living

This advice applies to Wales

If you owe money and you're struggling to pay

You should speak to the organisations you owe money to – they might let you pay smaller amounts or take a break from payments.

Don’t ignore bills or letters about money you owe.

Check what benefits you can get

You might be able to claim benefits or increase your current benefits if you’re:

  • of working age and on a low income

  • sick or disabled

  • of State Pension age and on a low income

  • a carer

  • responsible for children

You can check what benefits you can get.

If your client is subject to immigration control

Your client might not be able to apply for all UK benefits if they’re subject to immigration control.

If having ‘no recourse to public funds’ is one of the conditions of your client’s stay, it might be possible for them to get this condition removed. 

You can check how to get a no public funds condition removed.

Get your benefit paid early

A small amount will be taken off future payments to pay it back - usually for 12 weeks.

You can also ask for an advance payment of Universal Credit to help you while you’re waiting for your first payment. You can check how to get a Universal Credit advance payment.

You can’t get a benefit paid early for:

  • Housing Benefit

  • Attendance Allowance

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

  • Child Benefit

  • Guardian's Allowance

  • Working or Child Tax credits

To ask for an advance, contact the DWP office that's dealing with your benefit claim. You can find their contact details on any letter or email you’ve had from them.

Check what help you can get from your local council

Check if you can get one-off payments from the government

The government will give every household in Great Britain £400 off their electricity bill. This is called the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

You don’t need to do anything to get the money and you won’t have to pay it back. The £400 will be automatically added to your energy account over 6 months starting from October 2022.

If you have a prepayment meter, the £400 will be added to your meter or you’ll be given vouchers - the government will confirm how you'll get the money nearer to the time.

The government will also send you extra one-off payments if you:

  • get certain benefits - for example, Universal Credit, PIP or Attendance Allowance

  • are over State Pension age and get Winter Fuel Payments

You can get as many of these extra payments as you're eligible for. You won't have to pay tax on them and they won't count as income when calculating your benefits.

If you get benefits based on your income

The government will give you a £326 'Cost of Living Payment'.

You'll get the Cost of Living Payment automatically if you get any of the following:

  • Universal Credit

  • Pension Credit

  • Working Tax Credit

  • Child Tax Credit

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income Support

If you get Working or Child Tax Credit, you'll get your Cost of Living Payment in autumn 2022.

If you get one of the other benefits, you'll get your Cost of Living Payment on or after 14 July 2022. You'll probably get your payment by the end of July.

You’ll only get 1 Cost of Living Payment - even if you’re claiming more than 1 benefit. 

To get this payment you must have either:

  • been paid your benefit on or between 26 April 2022 and 25 May 2022

  • started a successful benefit claim by 25 May 2022

If you’re applying for Universal Credit, you won’t get the Cost of Living Payment until your benefits claim is successful.

The government have said they'll send a second Cost of Living Payment in 2022. If you get Working or Child Tax Credit, you'll get your second payment in winter. If you get one of the other benefits, you'll get your second payment in autumn.

If you’re not claiming any of these benefits yet, you should check if you can claim benefits. It's worth starting a claim as soon as possible if you're eligible - this means you might be able to get the second Cost of Living Payment.

If you get a disability benefit

If you're over State Pension age and get Winter Fuel Payments

You’ll automatically get an extra £300 with your usual Winter Fuel Payment in either November or December.

You're usually entitled to Winter Fuel Payments if you’re of State Pension age in the third week of September. The State Pension age is 66.

You should start getting the Winter Fuel Payment automatically once you reach State Pension age, but sometimes you might need to apply. You can find out how to apply for the Winter Fuel Payment on GOV.UK.

Get help with essential costs

If you’re struggling to afford essentials like bills or food, there are things you can do.

Get help paying for bills and rent

There are things you can do if you’re struggling to pay your rent and bills.

You can check what help and support you can get with your rent and bills.

Get help paying for food

Get help with health costs

Get help with your child's school costs

If you’re on a low income or claim certain benefits, you might be able to get help with the costs of sending your children to school.

Get help with travel costs

Contact your local council to check if they offer free or discounted travel - for example, if you’re:

  • in education

  • on a work placement

  • unemployed and looking for work

  • a veteran

You can find your local council on GOV.UK.

Work out your budget

You should use our budgeting tool to help you understand:

  • what money you've got coming in and what you have going out

  • where you might be able to cut costs

You can use our budgeting tool.

Apply for a charitable grant

You might be able to get extra money from a charity. Some of these charitable grants are open to everyone, others might be available to you based on your situation - for example, your health or your previous or current job.

You can check what help you can get from local and national charities on the Turn2us website. You’ll need to know your postcode.

If you’re over 55 and have a personal pension

You might be able to take some money from your pension savings to help pay for essential costs or to pay off your debts.

Taking money from your pension will mean you have less income when you retire. If you’re getting benefits, taking money from your pension could affect your claim.

You can get free guidance on your pension options from Pension Wise. They’ll explain the different options so you can decide which is best for you.

You should also get financial advice before taking any money from your pension savings - you’ll have to pay. 

You can check how to find a financial adviser - they can tell you which option is best for you.

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