With the cost of living rising and the recent changes to the energy price cap, national insurance and interest rates we’re all feeling an impact on our personal finances. We offer money and benefits advice to all our customers, providing guidance on managing your money and ways to reduce costs.
As we look ahead to some of the Spring changes coming into effect, we’ve collated some tips and advice on the things you can consider looking into to maximise your income and help save money.
Check if you should be receiving the Winter fuel grant
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. Find out more and when you need to claim by on the Government’s website.
Apply for Pension Credit
Pension credit is separate from your state pension and gives you extra money to help with your living costs. You can be eligible if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income (total income for single person/couple under £177/£270). If you’re entitled, you’ll also get housing benefit to help with your rent and other housing costs such as ground rent or service charges. You can get help with other things such as help with heating costs and council tax benefit too. Find out more by clicking here.
Look into Council Tax support
You can apply to your local council for a Council Tax reduction (otherwise known as Council Tax support). You could be eligible to claim if you’re on a low income or you claim benefits and your bill could be reduced by up to 100%. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working. Read more on how to apply here.
Research your local household support options
The Government is offering targeted household support to those who’re struggling to pay for food, clothing or other household bills. Funding is available on a discretionary basis and each council decides its own eligibility criteria, as well as deciding what the money can be spent on. Some families could be given the support in cash, or in the form of vouchers or credit paid directly to your bill or energy supplier. Contact your local council to see what support is available.
See if you meet the criteria for a Cold Weather Payment
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re receiving certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest. You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. Find out more here on how to check if you’re eligible and whether a payment is due in your area.
Check out cheaper broadband deals and water tariffs
If you’re claiming Universal Credit, or on a low income, you can often get cheaper broadband packages or social tariffs with your water company. Some companies which offer reduced broadband packages include BT and Virgin Media. To explore the options further, speak to your provider or supplier directly to see what support they have on offer and contact your water company to ask about their social tariff.
Seek support with the food shop
There’s lots of local organisations and options available for those who need help with their food shop, or need a bit of support to top it up every now and again: