Universal Credit applicants can get extra money and it’s not a loan
As the cost of living continues to soar, millions of us are feeling the pressure, and for those on fixed incomes like Universal Credit, household spending can quickly rise more than wages.
There are, however, many free programs and cash grants offered by charities and local authorities to help reduce fixed costs and bills, as well as offering help with buying clothes and food. All these incentives are offered with no expectation of repayment.
There are several formulas depending on your place of residence, mirror reports.
READ MORE:PIP myths that stop people claiming up to £627 from DWP
Here we list the grants and other support available, with links to where you can find help.
Huge reductions on council tax
Many people on low incomes and Universal Credit don’t know they can get a big discount on one of the biggest household bills – Council Tax. This reduction is administered by your local council but can range from a quarter off your bill to paying nothing at all.
The amount of the reduction depends on your income, savings, and the number of dependents and people you live with. It aims to reduce the tax burden for those with the lowest incomes and benefit recipients, but it also offers reductions for those with family responsibilities.
Along with the £150 council tax rebate being offered by the government in response to the cost of living crisis, this could mean a significantly lower tax bill for low-income households. You can use the government postcode checker to see who your local authority is and direct you to their website.
You will need to live in a property that is within the AD municipal tax brackets, and many local councils will also have a discretionary fund available for ineligible households.
One-time payment of £650 for cost of living
In a belated move to help the lowest income families with spiraling food and energy costs, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that eight million households on Universal Credit will receive an extra £650 this year.
This will be paid directly into people’s bank accounts in two installments of £325. The first payment will be made in July, while the second will be invoiced in the fall.
On top of that, the Chancellor announced that the previous £200 cut on the energy bill would be doubled to £400 for all households and would be a non-repayable grant rather than a loan. Rather than going straight into bank accounts, this will span six months and act as a monthly discount for anyone on a monthly rate.
People applying for disability benefits will receive a £150 cost of living on top of these payments, bringing their total cost of living reduction to £1,200.
Free cash grants and bill discounts
Despite the cost of living announced by the government, many low-income households will still face higher prices in supermarkets and will have to inflate their books to keep the gas meter ticking.
There are many local charities and organizations trying to help people struggling with the cost of living crisis by offering cash grants or bill reductions, you can search for all of them using the Turn2Us Grants Eligibility Calculator.
In addition to government assistance with energy bills, many utility providers also offer hardship funds for low-income customers, as well as affordable repayment plans to keep debt from spiraling. For example, British Gas is handing out up to £750 to some of its struggling customers, while the charity Water United Kingdom has a long list of cash grants and bill reductions for people struggling to pay their water rates.
Free municipal subsidy for food, clothing and rent
A £500million Household Support Fund has been set up by the central government for local councils to distribute to struggling families and, although it varies in each region, provides help to buy household food, clothing and other essentials. Separately, local authorities also offer grants to recipients of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit which can help them cover the cost of rent. These grants are offered on a case-by-case basis, based on the judgment of the board.
Some also offer support through the Social Support Fund, which helps cover the cost of basic necessities, from buying new furniture to food and other big weekly bills. These grants can be up to £1,000 but are entirely dependent on where you live and what help is available to you. You can find out who your local council is by visiting the gov.uk website and contact them to find out if help is available in your area.
Warm Home Discount to be further deployed
With gas and electricity prices steadily rising, many who were already struggling to make ends meet are wondering how they can afford further rises – with the energy price cap set to hit 2800 £ in October.
The government has decided to extend its rebate on warm homes to include low-income families and those receiving a pension credit. Previously, retirees with the pension credit got it automatically while benefit recipients had to apply for the reduction on a first-come, first-served basis.
This year the £140 grant has been increased to £150 to help with household energy bills, but will not be paid out for months. Eligible individuals must be contacted by their utility provider prior to October regarding the rebate. If you think you have been missed, you can contact the government helpline.
In his emergency cost of living announcement, the Chancellor said this payment would be doubled for households where at least one person is claiming the pension credit.
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