The Cost of Living is rising

We know that the huge rises in the cost of living are causing financial strain on our residents. With rising energy prices, cost of food, bills and other services, it can be difficult to make ends meet. We encourage anyone struggling to pay their rent, council tax or other bills to contact Jane White, our Welfare & Debt Advice Officer, for further advice and support.

Jane White Welfare & Debt Advice Officer

JaneW@ccha.biz 07384 255 630

What is the Government doing to help?

Central government and local councils have several schemes in place to help. The Chancellor recently announced the following initiatives to support low income and vulnerable individuals and households:

£150

What might I receive?

A one-off council tax rebate of £150 per household

Who qualifies?

If you live in a property that is Council Tax Band A, B, C or D and your name is on the bill/statement.

You should receive this money even if you don’t actually pay for council tax (e.g., you are covered by Council Tax Support) – as long as your name is on the bill.

When and how will I receive the money?

End of May 2022 if you pay by Direct Debit

If you don’t pay by Direct Debit, your local council will contact you over the coming weeks by letter or email to advise you on how to claim – for most people, this will direct you to fill out an online form with a ‘code’ you will have been given in advance.

WARNING – Beware of scams. The council will never call or email you to ask for your bank details unless by prior arrangement.

£650

What might I receive?

A one off ‘Cost of Living’ Payment of £650

Who qualifies?

For households on means-tested benefits. This includes legacy benefits (ESA – income related, JSA – income related, Tax Credits and Income Support), Universal Credit and Pension Credit.

When and how will I receive the money?

This will be paid into your bank account in two lump sums, one around July 2022 and one in the Autumn 2022.

If you don’t normally receive your benefits into a bank account, you should receive the money in the way that is ‘usual’ for you.

£150

What might I receive?

An additional £150 for people on Disability Benefits

Who qualifies?

For people in receipt of a Disability Benefit e.g., Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance. Your claim must have started before 25th May 2022.

When and how will I receive the money?

This will be paid to you in the same way as you receive your Disability Benefit. For most people, into their bank account.

Payments should be made by end of September 2022.

£300

What might I receive?

An additional £300 for Pensioner Households

Who qualifies?

Individuals/families who receive the Winter Fuel Payment will receive an additional £300 top up (as well as their usual Winter Fuel Payment).

To qualify you will need to have reached State Pension Age by 25th Sept 2022.

When and how will I receive the money?

On or around the same date you receive your Winter Fuel Payment.

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£400

What might I receive?

£400 one off payment to help with rising Fuel Costs

Who qualifies?

The £200 loan that the Government had agreed for the Autumn has been ‘changed’ to a £400 grant – i.e. you won’t need to pay it back. This is for all families responsible for paying Gas or Electricity.

When and how will I receive the money?

NB – these are NOT cash payments – but payments directly towards your fuel bills.

If you have a pre-payment meter the meter will be credited with £400.

If you don’t pay by either Direct Debit or a pre-payment meter, there will be a voucher system in place.

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What other support might be available?

Household Support Fund

The Government has also increased the money given to local councils to support residents via the Household Support Fund. Details can be found on individual council websites. This will mainly support people who are struggling with fuel and food costs. Individual councils will set out their eligibility criteria and provide information on how to apply on their websites.

You can find out more on the Government’s page for Cost of Living Support.

Water Bills

Families and individuals on low incomes, in receipt of certain means-tested benefits and/or have a health condition that necessitates an above-average water consumption, may be entitled to reduced water bills.

Find out more on Thames Water’s website.

Warm Home discount

The leading energy suppliers will reopen the Warm Home Discount Scheme to people on low incomes in the Autumn.

The money is not paid to you; it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, applied between October and March.

If you think you may be eligible, apply as early as possible to avoid missing out. You can apply directly to your energy supplier. If you need any support with this, please contact Jane White on JaneW@ccha.biz or 07384 255 630.

What has ccha been doing to assist our residents?

We have been doing our part to support residents who are struggling to make ends meet. Last year, we raised over £400,000 by helping approximately 200 residents to maximise their benefits.

If you would like a ‘Benefit Check Up’ to see if you are receiving all the money you are entitled to, please contact Jane White on the details above.

Pie chart showing breakdown of money raised for residents

Amount of money raised for residents via different schemes – April 21-Mar 22

Here’s how we helped one of our residents

Last summer, we received a call from a young single mum struggling with her bills and rent while bringing up two small children on her own. She also needed to move to a larger property as all three shared a single bedroom. She was supported to clear her rent arrears via a Discretionary Housing Payment to be eligible for a Mutual Exchange. Over the course of six months, she was supported to apply for disability benefits as well as a higher rate of Universal Credit. Her monthly income increased by 200%. She is now living in a three bedroom property, has no rent arrears and her council tax bills have reduced. She was also supported to apply for a freedom pass and is accessing counselling for anxiety, OCD and depression.

If you feel you would benefit from counselling, a review of your income or benefits, you are struggling with day to day living or want to know if you might qualify for any of the schemes in this article, please contact Jane White on JaneW@ccha.biz or call 07384 255 630.

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