Understanding UC. There are so many anxieties at the moment about the cost of living, rising energy bills and a dozen other things, not to mention what help is available – the whole thing can be daunting.
There is help out there, which is great, but how do you find out you’re not missing out on hundreds of pounds?
With energy bills due to rise to an average of £3,615 in October, 24 million energy users are deeply concerned, particularly those on low incomes – and these prices will be reviewed four times a year going forward, which is double the current amount that the energy price cap is amended.
Inflation rates are also set to reach record highs, driving up the price of food and fuel, with the Bank of England warning that rates are heading for 13%, an amount not seen since the early 80s.
This all adds up to the need for as much help as possible for hard-hit households. So what help is out there?
Universal Credit claimants can also get help with a social tariff for their water bill, depending on how much those bills are.
Customers will generally need to have a household income of less than £16,500, excluding benefits, but it’s well worth looking into because you can get up to 90% off your bills.
Social tariffs are also available for broadband services such as BT and Virgin. You may need to double check with your own provider and make sure you’ll benefit from a social tariff price for your broadband, but you stand to save a few hundred pounds a year.
The Healthy Start Scheme is set up to net you up to £442 worth of food over the year: each voucher is worth £4.25 a week (at the time of writing), an annual amount of £221 – and you’ll get double that if you have a child under the age of one year. The vouchers are available for people with children under four, or pregnant women.
Again, if you claim benefits, including Universal Credit, you can sign up for free school meals ready for term.
That includes claiming for free school meals over holidays too – you can claim supermarket vouchers of equal value to what the child would receive during the school term.
We recently published this story about how to get discounts on school uniforms.
You can apply for a grant through your local council, but even if you aren’t eligible, there are other schemes that could help like your local council’s Household Support Fund or the welfare assistance scheme.
understanding UC: Further Reading
Problems with Universal Credit: Where to go for help – here.
All the things you can get financial help with – here
MoneyMagpie’s Monthly Hardship Grant Round-Up – here
Where to get help with School Uniforms – here
Are you entitled to £650 – here