Cost of living crisis

Ashley
red piggy bank with white spots

The cost of living crisis has been on everyone's minds lately. Make sure you're getting all the help you are entitled to.

Dealing with benefits and finances can be stressful at the best of times. The system itself can be confusing and difficult to navigate.

After a stroke the whole process can feel overwhelming.

Here is the Citizen's Advice website mentioned in the above video.

Where can I go for information?

There are some online benefits calculators that can help you work out what you are entitled to. Here are a couple online benefits calculators to try:

You can also check your what benefits and financial support you can access on the gov.uk website.

There are also organisations that provide independent advice. These include Citizen’s Advice, Independent Age and Age UK.

It's a good time to find out what you can apply for with the rising cost of living and an energy crisis squeezing everyone's wallets.

Help with energy and rising living costs

The government has announced that a typical UK household will pay no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bill. It starts from 1 October 2022 and will last for the next two years.

But if you're still worried, there is more help available.

We have a summary of what help is available with energy bills and the cost of living on our website. There is also a short list below showing payments that are made automatically based on your current benefits package.

  • Cost of Living Payment - For people on low incomes.
  • Disability Cost of Living Payment - For people claiming disability-related benefits.
  • Pensioner Cost of Living Payment - For people eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment.
  • Energy Bill Discount - Automatic, non-repayable discount on your energy bills.
  • Winter Fuel Payments - A scheme to help older people pay their energy bills.
  • Cold Weather Payments - Payments that are made whenever there is a seven-day period of very cold weather.

You can also visit this government web page for up to date information on the main help available.

Help from energy companies

Besides to government benefits, many energy companies have trusts or funds. These exist to help people who are struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills.

To find out more, you can:

Food banks

If you are struggling with having enough to eat, there are hundreds of food banks all around the UK that can help.

There is a wealth of information about using food banks on the Citizen's Advice website.

You will usually need a referral to use a food bank. You can contact your local Citizen's Advice to get a referral. If there is no Citizen's Advice in your area, you can also get a referral from an organisation that is already supporting you or even your local council. You can find your local council's contact details on GOV.UK.

Some food banks require a referral before each visit. Others limit how many times you can access them. If you have concerns about this, speak with your Citizen's Advice advisor or someone at the food bank.

There are websites you can go to that show food banks in your area:

Don't worry if you don't see one in your area. These websites represent food banks that below to a particular scheme.

Warm banks

A warm bank is a place you can go to stay warm this winter. You may also see them called "warm spaces" or "heat banks." As with food banks, these are operated by local community centres like libraries and churches.

Because they are so new, there isn't a good centralised way to find your nearest warm bank.

If you think you will need to use a warm bank this winter, contact your local council. They will be able to help you find one close to you.

There is also a video with tips on how to Stay Safe, Warm and Well. It was produced by the Royal Voluntary Service. There is also a PDF that you can request.

Help with one-off expenses

In addition to ongoing benefits, there is help if you are facing one-off expenses.

These expenses could be for an emergency, purchasing essential household items or even making modifications to your home.

There are also charities and organisations that offer one-off grants. You can find out more information about what is available on these sites:

  • Sense offer information on grants for disabled people.
  • Grants Online offer information about many of the Cost of Living Grants available.
  • Turn2us has a grants search available.
  • Lightening Reach is a service enabling access to a wide range of financial support.

There is also help out there for costs around health, housing and more. You can find more detailed information about financial help after a stroke on our website.

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