The cost of living crisis is hitting those living in Newport East hard and I know that after today’s announcement around the price cap many families and individuals will be feeling especially anxious.
To help, my team and I have put together some information, which I hope will be useful.
Of course, as always if you would like further information or if there are issues you would like me and my team to help you with please do get in touch – you’ll find our contact details on the homepage.
Help with utility bills
- The Warm Home Discount – £150 off your electricity bill
You could get £150 off your electricity bill or £150 credit on your prepayment meter for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The eligibility requirements for the Warm Home Discount have changed this winter (2022-23) and you will not need to apply, even if you applied in previous years.
To qualify this year you need to receive either the Guarantee Credit portion of Pension Credit or a means-tested benefit and have a ‘high energy bill’ as assessed by the Government. Further clarification from the Government on the eligibility criteria is awaited. The assessment is based on your circumstances and energy supplier as of 21st August 2022.
The government and DWP will decide who is eligible and write to you if you are then either you will be paid directly, or you will need to contact a dedicated helpline to provide further proof of eligibility.
- Winter Fuel Payment -a payment of between £100-£300 if born before 26 September 1955
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
– You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you’re eligible and either get the State Pension or
get another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)
-If you’ve got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you do not need to claim again unless you’ve deferred your State Pension
- £200 Wales Winter Fuel Support Scheme – Applications open 26th September 2022 for 2022-2023 grants
This scheme will provide a one-off cash payment to one working age household member responsible for utility bills.T
The payment will be available to all eligible households regardless of whether they pay for their on-grid fuel on a pre-payment meter, by direct debit or by paying a bill quarterly.
You must have been in receipt of certain welfare benefits at any time between 1st December 2021 and 31st January 2022.eg.
Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
Income Based Employment & Support Allowance
Working Tax Credits
Applications for the scheme for 2022-2023 open on 26th September and further details. Apply via your Local Authority
Newport City Council Tel: 01633 656656
Monmouthshire County Council Tel: 01633 644644
Find out more information by clicking this link: Wales winter fuel support scheme 2022 to 2023 | GOV.WALES
- Energy Bills Support Scheme – £400 for all households
All households will get £400 of support with their energy bills through an expansion of the Energy Bills Support Scheme. This replaces the £200 loan/not loan that the Chancellor previously announced. Households will now get £400 which they will not need to pay back
Energy suppliers will deliver this support to households with a domestic electricity meter over six months from October. Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.
- Cost of Living Payment – £650 payment for those on means tested benefits:
Households on means tested benefits will receive a payment of £650 this year, made in two instalments. This includes all households receiving the following benefits:Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support
Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit,Pension Credit
DWP will make the payment in two lump sums – the first from July, the second in the autumn – you do not need to apply
Payments from HMRC for those on tax credits only will follow shortly after each to avoid duplicate payments.
Claimants will need to be in receipt of one of these benefits, or have begun a claim which is later successful, as of 25th May 2022 to be eligible for the first of the two instalments. HMRC and DWP will provide further guidance, and the government will set out the eligibility date for the second instalment, in due course.
This payment will be tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK- you do not need to apply
- Pensioner Cost of Living Payment – One-off payment of £300 for all households who receive the Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment (including the extra Pensioner Cost of Living Payment) is not taxable and does not affect eligibility for other benefits.
All pensioner households will get the one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment as a top-up to their annual Winter Fuel Payment in November/December.
People will be eligible for this payment if they are over State Pension age (aged 66 or above) between 19 – 25 September 2022. There are certain circumstances where an individual above State Pension age does not qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment which can be found here on gov.uk [https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/eligibility]
The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK – you do not need to apply
- Disability Cost of Living Payment – one off payment of £150 for all people in receipt of disability benefits
People who receive the following disability benefits will receive a one-off payment of £150 in September:
Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance, War Pension Mobility Supplement
Claimants must be in receipt of, or have begun an eventually successful claim for, one of these benefits as of 25th May 2022 to be eligible for this additional payment.
For disability benefit recipients who receive means tested benefits, this £150 will come on top of the £650 they will receive separately.
These payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
The government will make these payments directly to eligible people across the UK – you do not need to apply
If you’re a Social Housing/Housing Association tenant, you may be able to receive help from the Energy Hardship Fund. PayPoint fuel vouchers of £28 and £49 are funded from donations to the trust.
Contact your Housing Association or Social Landlord to find out more
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.
You’ll 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’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2022 to 31 March 2023.
You will receive this payment automatically if you are eligible, you do not need to apply.
Nest – Energy efficiency advice and free home improvements:
The Nest scheme offers a range of free, impartial advice and, if you are eligible, a package of free home energy efficiency improvements such as a new boiler, central heating or insulation. This can lower your energy bills and benefit your health and wellbeing.
Tel: 0808 808 2244
Help with water bills:
Dwr Cymru offers a number of schemes to help customers make bills more affordable:
– HelpU – help for people on low incomes
– Customer Assistance Fund – help for people who owe money on their water bill
– WaterSure – helps households in receipt of certain benefits who use more water because of the size of the household or because someone needs to use more water due to a medical condition
Contact Dwr Cymru for more information and to apply: 0800 0520145
Are you getting all of the money that you could?
Every year, thousands of people miss out on benefits. Below are some of the main benefits that are underclaimed each year. It is not a comprehensive list and it is recommended that you speak to an advice agency to check whether you are claiming everything that you are entitled to.
You can check you are claiming everything you are entitled to via www.turn2us.org.uk
If you are facing any issues with benefit claims or payments, please contact my office
Turn2us helpline Tel:0808 8022000
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living and, if applicable, housing costs.
You may be able to get it if you are working and on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.
If you are already receiving benefits, it is essential you seek advice before switching to Universal Credit
Pension Credit – gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges.
You might get extra help if you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person.
Pension Credit is separate from your State Pension. You can get Pension Credit even if you have other income, savings or own your own home.
To apply call the Pension Credit claim line: 0800 99 1234
If you have a long term physical or mental health condition you may be able to claim disability benefits. You can claim if you are working and/or have savings as these benefits are not means tested.
- Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can help with extra living costs if you have both a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability,
difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition
You can get PIP even if you’re working, have savings or are getting most other benefits.
To apply call the Personal Independence Payment helpline: 0800 917 2222
Attendance Allowance helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you. It does not cover mobility needs.
To be eligible you must be both over State Pension Age and have a physical or mental disability.
The other benefits you get can increase if you get Attendance Allowance.
To apply call the Attendance Allowance helpline: 0800 731 0122
Find lost pensions
Many people are not receiving personal or workplace pensions that they have paid into. To find out how to contact potential old pension providers please contact the Pension Tracing Service
Tel: 0800 731 0193
Find lost bank, savings and premium bonds
You may have money in old bank or building society accounts or in National Savings and Investments / Premium Bonds
You can trace these accounts for free using My Lost Account
There are thousands of charitable organisations offering help and support to people who are struggling in the form of grants that do not have to be paid back. Eligibility criteria varies greatly and may depend on employment history, health conditions, union membership, where you live, what you need help with, and many other possibilities.
You can check whether there is help available by using the Turn2Us online tool or telephoning their helpline: 0808 802 2000
Turn2us also administer their own response fund for people who have faced a life changing event in the last 12 months:
Turn2us Response Fund – Turn2us
Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF)
If you are experiencing extreme financial hardship, you might also wish to make a claim to Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund.
- Emergency Assistance Payment (EAP)
A grant to help pay for essential costs, such as food, gas, electricity, clothing or emergency travel if you:
are experiencing extreme financial hardship
have lost your job
have applied for benefits and are waiting for your first payment
You cannot use it to pay for ongoing bills that you cannot afford to pay.
If you need help to apply for this, please contact my office
- Individual Assistance Payment (IAP)
A grant to help you or someone you care for live independently in their home or a property that you or they are moving into. The grant may be used for:
a fridge, cooker or washing machine and other ‘white goods’
home furniture such as beds, sofas and chairs
To apply or contact the Discretionary Assistance Fund on: 0800 859 5924 or apply online via: Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF): Apply | GOV.WALES
There is always more than one way to deal with debt. It is never too early or too late to seek help.
Contact a money advice charity that will be able to help with options for creditors and bills.
03444 77 2020 – Adviceline
0808 808 4000
0800 280 2816
0808 808 4000