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Cost of living: Claiming all you are entitled to

Are you claiming all the help that you are entitled to?

Inflation and the current cost of living crisis it has caused means that many households will be noticing a definite increase in the cost of everyday items. We know that is pushing some families who might have been managing before into financial hardship.

The crisis is ongoing, but there is financial help available. This help can and does go unclaimed, so make sure you are claiming for everything you are entitled to. Check out the information on help available on the council’s website.

Councillor Donnelly, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for inclusive economy said: “If you are on a low income, seeking a job, or have been made redundant, you may already be claiming some benefits, but please check that you are getting everything you can.

“If you have only recently started to struggle financially, you might be surprised to find that there is help available. So please check what you could be eligible for before you turn to a payday loan, which might trap you into spiralling debt.”

Check out the council’s website for full details of the financial support available and also information on warm spaces in the borough, jobs and training, and tips and help to save energy costs.

Benefits

A quick way to check if you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to and calculate how much you could receive is to use the online Benefits calculatorOr you can speak to the community benefits team, who provide general advice about benefit entitlements the council provides.

There are several benefits the council can provide which can be applied for if you are on a low income or facing financial hardship. These include:

Help for families

If you have children you may be entitled to help with childcare, travel expenses, school holiday schemes and free school meals, which includes vouchers to cover school holidays.

  • Help with childcare costs – If you have a two-year-old and are on a low income or receiving benefits, you are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare per week. Children aged three and four could be eligible for an additional 15 hours.
  • Support for school aged children – There is a variety of support available for school aged children, 16-19 year olds and university students including free school meals, help towards travel expenses and school holiday schemes.
  • Free school meals – If you receive certain benefits, your children could also be entitled to free school meals.

Support with energy bills

There are a number of schemes which provide help with energy bills. Check out:

  • Help for households – Government cost of living support – Information about the range of support available from the government.
  • Energy price guarantee – Reduces the unit cost of electricity and gas so that a typical household will pay on average around £2,500 on their energy bill until April 2023.
  • Energy bill support scheme discount – All households, regardless of their circumstances or income will receive a £400 energy bill support payment directly from their energy company into their energy account.
  • Energy bills support scheme alternative funding – Some households do not get the £400 discount towards energy bills automatically, as they do not pay their bills directly to an energy supplier. They can apply for the discount instead.
  • Cold weather payments – If you receive eligible benefits and the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days, you could get a cold weather payment.
  • Warm home discount – A one-off discount off your electricity bill if you receive eligible benefits.
  • Home energy grants (Help to Heat) – Find out what grants you could apply for to make your home more energy efficient.

Support for those who are older or have a disability

If you are an older person or have a disability you are also entitled to receive:

  • Disability cost of living payment – A one-off payment of £150 will be made if you have a registered disability.
  • Household support fund – provides help directly to eligible families, pensioners and care leavers to go towards food and essential items.
  • Pensioner cost of living payment -If you are a pensioner and you claim the winter fuel allowance you will be entitled to a one-off £300 cost of living payment.
  • Winter fuel payments – If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. 

You may also be entitled to receive Attendance Allowance which helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you or you may be eligible because you are of a pensionable age.

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