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Extra help you can get if your Universal Credit Payment isn’t enough
Lots of people are struggling because their Universal Credit payment isn’t enough to cover the bills, in this guide we share other ways people on low income can get help.
The cost of living has already hit a fresh 30-year high, sending food, fuel and energy prices soaring. In the past 12 months, prices surged by more than 5.5% increasing the squeeze on household budgets for many UK families.
From 14th July 2022, over 8 million families in the UK will be getting a new cost of living payment. This is part of the £1,200 package meant to ease the cost of living pressure on UK homes. However, there are ways you and your family can save costs when you get universal credit cuts.
Want to know how? Keep reading!
1. Free School Meals
If you have kids, you know how parenting can be pricey. Fortunately, you can save costs with free school meals. Free school meals are a benefit available to students from families receiving universal credit.
In England, free lunches are usually available to all infant school pupils learning in state-funded schools. Basically, every child in reception class, years 1 and 2 receives a free lunch. In Scotland, free lunches are available to all children from primary one to three learning in state-funded schools.
For your child to qualify for free lunches at school, you must be claiming one of the following:
- Pension Credit
- Jobseeker’s allowance
- Child tax credit
- Employment allowance
- Working tax credit
- Child tax credit
- Income Support
To apply for free school meals, head to the GOV.UK website and enter your postcode. The site will show the process of claiming free school meals in your council.
2. Get Help From Your Local Council
Your local council might help you afford essentials such as food and bills during the current cost of living crisis. Also known as the Cost of Living Payments, your local council will pay for things such as food, energy and water bills plus other essentials.
What you ought to know is that each council runs its own scheme and the help they offer varies. To find out if your local council runs a welfare assistance scheme, contact your local council on GOV.UK.
With the welfare assistance scheme, you don’t have to be getting any benefits such as universal credit or child tax credit. If you’re getting benefits, they will not be affected once you start receiving funds from the Household Support Fund Scheme.
3. Free Guidance With Debt
Budgeting, tracking your spending and others are some of the ways that keep your financial life organised. However, more than half of UK adults do not budget their money. As such, a lot of people are struggling with debt. In fact, the numbers are rising as a result of the rise in the cost of living.
If you’re struggling with debt, you don’t have to stick your head in the sand. You’re not alone, and you can get help. Several services offer free advice and guidance on managing debt. They do so over the phone or via live chat.
These services include:
They offer a variety of debt solutions such as:
- Debt Relief Order
- Debt Management Plan
- Individual Voluntary Arrangement
- Equity Release
- Bankruptcy and more
You can also get help in dealing with taxes, pensions and more.
4. Get One-off Payments From the Government
The government is giving Great Britain households £400 off their electricity bill. This is under the Energy Bills Support Scheme. The money will be automatically added to your energy account over 6 months starting from October 2022.
If you’ve a prepaid meter, the government may give you vouchers or add £400 to your meter. They will also start sending extra one-off payments if you’re getting universal credit. If you’re over the State pension age and receive Winter fuel payments, you’ll also receive the extra one-off payments. You won’t have to pay tax for these one-off payments as the government will not count them as income.
5. Get Food Bank Vouchers
Two decades ago, there were a handful of food banks in the UK. Today, food banks outnumber McDonald’s franchises. In fact, more than 2,000 food banks are stretching from Shetlands to southwest Cornwall.
The cost of living crisis in the UK and the rising inflation have highlighted how important food banks have become. Food banks are there for everyone and anyone in the community who needs them. Whether you’re unemployed or unable to work due to a disability, you can get food bank vouchers which you can redeem for meals.
You don’t need to make an appointment. However, several food banks require a referral from a job centre, GP or social worker. To get food bank vouchers, visit your local support service. They will discuss your circumstances with you, and if your status qualifies, you’ll receive an electronic voucher code. Every time you visit a food bank, bring the voucher code to exchange for a food parcel.
If you’re struggling during the current cost of living crisis in the UK, there are different ways you can get help. You can get free school lunches for your kids, food bank vouchers, free guidance and advice with debt.
Your local council may also have a welfare assistance program that caters for essentials such as food and other bills. By getting all the necessary help and support during the cost of living crisis, you can survive it.