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Support with living costs

If you are struggling to make ends meet at the moment, it’s important to know that there is help available.

On this page, you can find lots of suggestions to help you manage your finances and get support during these challenging times of rising living costs.


Get a benefits check

There are different benefits you might qualify for depending on your age and circumstances. Some benefits, like Pension Credit, are even under claimed.

You can request a benefits check with one of our advisers by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For an initial idea yourself, you might also find using a benefits calculator useful, like this one developed by the benefits charity, Turn2Us.

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Also see Payments if you're receiving certain benefits for information about government support that was announced in May 2022.

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Budgeting

The Money Advice Service has a free budgeting planner tool which could be helpful to get a picture of your income and outgoings. Using a budget planner can help you make informed decisions about your finances and understand any financial risks or changes future situations might bring.

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Prioritising essentials

Even after budgeting, and cutting back wherever possible, some households can be left with a terrible dilemma and feel they have to choose between food and heating requirements.

If you have been in this position, it’s important to know that there are sources of support available. To help with food costs, there are many food banks operating across the UK to help alleviate the financial pressures. You can find your nearest one here.

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There are also customer support schemes available to help with heating costs. For more information on these, see our Help with energy costs page which has lots of tips.

For support at home with substantial regular payments, such as rent and mortgage bills, contact your local council or Health and Social Care Trust (in Northern Ireland) to see if they can suggest any schemes to help. Also see our Help with Council Tax and Rate Relief page for information on discounts and exemptions.

For help with health costs, take a look at our health costs page.

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Managing phone, television and internet bills

Well aware of the cost-of-living challenges, many companies are now offering more affordable tariffs for people on a low income. Contact your provider to see if they are able to offer any discounted or lower rates for customers on lower incomes. You could use a comparison site to compare rates; OfCom also provides a useful list here.  

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Grants

Many people don’t realise that they may be entitled to a grant to buy certain equipment or to have a break which does not need to be repaid. There is support offered by a wide range of organisations including some charities.

The benefits charity Turn2Us has a useful grants finder tool. For help with applying for one, you could contact your local carers’ organisation and for more information about the sources of support available, see our page on Grants and schemes.

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Payments if you're receiving certain benefits

Households on the lowest incomes will be entitled to a £650 one-off payment in 2022, as announced by the UK Government in May 2022. This will not be taxable or affect any existing benefits and you may be eligible to receive this if you are being awarded any of the following*:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit

The amounts will be paid automatically into your bank account in July and autumn if you are eligible and you will not need to apply. (*To receive the first payment, you must have been entitled to an award in the assessment period leading up to 25 May 2022.)

In September, a one-off tax-free payment of £150 will also be awarded to anyone receiving the following disability payments:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Scottish Disability Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement.
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Planning ahead

If you have given up paid employment to care for someone or are considering doing so in the future, our e-learning tool ‘Thinking ahead’ has ideas for how to manage finances with advice on how to build up a savings buffer to avoid going into debt.

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If you are in debt

If you are getting behind on payments, it’s important to act now to get the right advice and support to get back on track. In the first instance, try to get some confidential advice from a reputable debt support charity such as National Debtline or StepChange. It may be possible to contact the companies that you are struggling to pay and see if they can help set up a repayment plan that is manageable for you.

TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People have a support service to help those who are facing tax problems and struggling to claim the support they are entitled to. Their helpline is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm: 0345 120 3779.  YouTube tutorials are also available to help.

See our Help with debt page for other useful sources of support.

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