Cost of Living Support

Support with Finances

Find out what help may be available to you through benefits, grants and other sources of support

 

Step One: Maximise your income 

Benefits

You may be entitled to benefits, depending on your situation.

To check what benefits you might be entitled to quickly and easily, you can use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator.

The Benefits Calculator mainly calculates means-tested benefits. Depending on your circumstances, there might be extra benefits you can claim.

Depending on your situation, you may find the following information pages from turn2us.org.uk helpful:

· Expecting a Child       Bringing up a Child     Studying 16+      Ill, Injured or Disabled    Carer

 Charitable grants

Help may be available to you through a charitable grant and other help, depending on your background, circumstances and needs. To find out what help may be available from grant-giving charities, you can use the Turn2us Grants Search:

Money from local councils

Help may be available through your local council, such as  local welfare assistance schemes, depending on your circumstances and where you live in the UK.

Councils in England, Scotland and Wales have also been given money to provide £150 to all Council Tax payers in bands A-D. People who pay Council Tax by direct debit will get this automatically. Otherwise, you may need to apply. Keep an eye on your council’s website to check for updates (West Oxfordshire District Council).

Information taken from www.turn2us.org.uk July 2022

Step two: Managing your budget

Draw up a budget

The government-backed Money Helper website, produced by the Money and Pensions Service, provides information on a wide range of financial subjects, including:

· A free budget planner tool

· A guide to Managing Your Money in Uncertain Times

· Bill Prioritiser Tool

You can also contact them for money guidance that’s impartial and free to use, whether that’s online or over the phone. See the Money Helper: Money Guidance page for details.

Money Saving Expert

Money Saving Expert is a website with articles and tips for saving and managing your money, including:

· Budget Planner

· Cost of Living Survival Kit

· Heat the Human not the Home guide

Quaker Social Action Made of Money

Quaker Social Action Made of Money service promotes financial wellbeing through resources and training to help people on low incomes manage money better.

Debt

If you’re struggling to keep up with debt or paying a lot in interest, it is important to get free, confidential, and responsible debt advice.

Water bills

Water companies have schemes to help people who are struggling to pay their water bill or who have fallen behind on their water bill.

Energy Bills

Energy companies have schemes to help people who are struggling to afford their bills. 

Energy Saving Trust provides information on help to improve the energy efficiency of your home and so cut your bills.

The government has announced extra help with energy bills through a £400 payment to be applied to the energy accounts of everyone who pays an electricity bill in Winter 2022/23.

Help with phone, TV and Internet bills

There are discounted tariffs available for people on low incomes.

The Citizens Advice website has an If you’re struggling to pay your mobile, phone, internet or TV bill guide.

Food

Read the I don’t have enough to eat section of our Emergency Information guide for details of food banks and how to access them.

Health costs

Some people can get free or discounted prescriptions, help with travel to medical appointments, and help with the cost of dental services. See our Help with Health Costs guide for more information.

Extra help for disabled people

Getting a disability benefit can give entitlement to a range of schemes to help with the additional costs of living with a disability.

Household items

The Reuse Network

The Reuse Network is a national charity that works with reuse centres that stock high-quality, affordable household items including furniture, electrical appliances, IT equipment and more. 

Are you looking for somewhere you can find affordable household items? find a reuse centre near you.

Advice and Support

Turn2us is unable to offer advice on individual situations. To find an adviser in your area to discuss your situation with, you can use the Turn2us Find an Adviser

FURTHER  USEFUL CONTACTS

Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire – for welfare support and debt advice https://citizensadvicewestoxon.org/ 

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) – for welfare support and debt advice.  The nearest CAP centre is at St Mary’s in Chipping Norton  http://chippingnorton.occ.org.uk/cap 

The National Debtline provides free advice on how to manage finances to reduce debts.  The Debtline’s freephone number is 0808 808 4000.  They have a website:  https://www.nationaldebtline.org/

Fact sheet library | National Debtline | National Debtline

The Money Advice Service provides free debt advice on 0800 138 1677.  This service has now been combined with two other Government advice services – Pension Advisory Service and Pension Wise – to form a new service “Money Helper”.  Their website is here: https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en

Turn2us – A national charity providing practical help to people who are struggling financially.  You can use their website to find out what help may be available to you through benefits, grants and other sources of support: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Your-Situation/Cost-of-Living

StepChange – A national charity providing a free debt advice service that helps people with debt problems take back control of their finances and their lives.  See their website at https://www.stepchange.org/how-we-help/rising-cost-of-living.aspx

Macmillan Cancer Support – Are able to provide cost of living support for people with cancer.  See https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/get-help/cost-of-living

West Oxfordshire District Council – Council Tax Support.  If you are struggling with payment of your Council Tax, you may be able to get help.  Information on this is available at https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/council-tax-support/

West Oxfordshire District Council – Council Tax Rebate. Households in council tax bands A-D are eligible to receive a non-repayable £150 Council Tax Rebate from the Government to help households with rising energy bills. West Oxfordshire District Council will be distributing the payments to everyone eligible within the district.  See https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/150-council-tax-rebate/ 

West Oxfordshire District Council – Housing Benefit.  If you are on a low income and meet particular criteria, you may be able to get help with payment of your rent. See  https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/housing-benefits-and-universal-credit/apply-for-housing-benefit/.  If you are on a low income and do not meet the criteria to claim Housing Benefit you will need to claim Universal Credit for help with your housing costs.