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Claimants of Universal Credit could be due thousands worth of extra financial of extra help, but may not be aware of it.
Low income Brits are struggling with their household budgets in the face of rising costs – from household bills like gas and electricity to food and general cost of living – but they could get up to thirty different kinds of assistance.
Universal Credit claimants almost doubled during the pandemic to 6 million Brits, and more than a third of these are working but claiming from the Department for Work and Pensions because their income is not high enough on its own. Benefits than can be claimed include Council Tax reduction.
Shockingly, 15 billion pounds of benefit money is lost every year by not being claimed, with pensioners missing out the most. More than a quarter of million older people also don’t claim Housing Benefit which could save them £4,000 per year.
Experts say one of the main problems remains that there is a stigma attached to asking for help, although people may genuinely not be aware that this help is available. So here’s a list of benefits you could be claiming to help you through hard times, each one is linked to more information:
You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Your bill could be reduced by up to 100%.
You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working. What you get depends on where you live, your individual circumstances, such as your income, the number of children you have, the benefits you receive, etc, your entire household income, whether your children live with you and whether other adults live with you.
If you live in England or Wales, are on certain benefits, have a water meter and use a lot of water because you either have a medical condition or three or more children, you could claim financial aid. This is called the Water Sure scheme.
People who meet the criteria for help may have their water bill capped at the amount of the average household water bill for their water company, or in some cases, even less.
You may get free or reduced price travel with the Statutory English National Concessionary Travel Scheme pass. The scheme provides travel for free on local bus services anywhere in England, between 9:30am and 11pm during weekdays and anytime on weekends and bank holidays.
There are a range of railcards available that offer discounts on rail travel. These include the 16-25 railcard, the family and friends railcard, the senior railcard and more. Find out which railcard suits you here.
You may be eligible for free or concessionary memberships at your local gym or leisure centre if you claim:
Going back to work does not mean giving up all your benefits. Some benefits may carry on, and others may become available once you’re working.
You should contact Jobcentre Plus if you’ve found a job and you or your partner have been getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Allowance, Income Support or Universal Credit.
Your work coach will help you to manage your move into work, and sort out changes to your other benefits, including tax credits. What you can get will depend on how long you were claiming these benefits without a break.
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. This is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March. There are 2 ways you could qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The first, is if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, the second is if you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.
If you are eligible for Cold Weather Payments, you will 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 will receive £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
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Some groups are automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions. Others can apply for certificates that entitle them to free NHS prescriptions. Some prescribed items are always free, including contraceptives and medication given to hospital inpatients.
You may be eligible for free dental treatment if you receive Universal Credit and either had no earnings or had net earnings of £435 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period, or if you or your partner had limited capability for work, and you either had no earnings or net earnings of £935 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period.
You’re entitled to a free NHS sight test if you are under 16, between 16 and 18 years old or are in full time education. You are also eligible if you are over the age of 60. If you are registered as partially sighted, blind, have diabetes or glaucoma, you are also entitled to a free sight test.
Similarly, if you are over the age of 40 and a close family member has been diagnosed with glaucoma or have been advised by an eye doctor you are at risk of glaucoma, you are eligible.
You are also entitled if you or your partner receive, or are the dependant of someone receiving:
You may be able to get help with home to school transport for your child. You can search for your postcode here, to see the help available in your area.
Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:
You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit. The most you can get back each month from childcare costs is £646 for one child and £1108 for 2 or more children.
This is dependent on your local authority. Check if your local council provides help with the cost of school uniform and sports kit. If your council does not offer help, you can ask your child’s school directly.
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You may qualify for the Healthy Start scheme if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or you have at least one child that’s under 4. In addition, you must be receiving at least of the following benefits:
You could get a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. This is known as a Sure Start Maternity Grant. You usually qualify for the grant if you are expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a multiple birth and have children already. You or your partner must also be in receipt of certain benefits.
You could be eligible for a grant from your council if you’re disabled and need to make changes to your home, such as widening doors and installing ramps, improving access to certain rooms and facilities, providing an essential heating system or adapting lighting and heating controls.
You may be eligible for a boiler grant if your current boiler is over 5 years old and you claim one of the 16 benefits listed here.
On 8th July 2020, the Chancellor announced a Green Homes Grant available in England, Wales, and Scotland. This scheme enables landlords and homeowners to fund, or partially fund, costs of upgrading their homes’ energy performance.
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills.
You can get free wigs and fabric supports if you are:
You may also be eligible if you receive certain benefits.
f you’re referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund of reasonable travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS).
You may be eligible for housing benefit. This helps with the cost of your rent. Housing Benefit will not cover heating, hot water, energy or food. If you need help, use a benefits calculator to check what else you might be entitled to.
You can get a Funeral Expenses Payment if you get certain benefits or tax credits, you meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased and you’re arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
You may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner died in the last 21 months. This must be claimed within 3 months of your partner’s death to get the full amount. You can claim up to 21 months after their death but you’ll get fewer monthly payments.
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