All the cost of living help available and how to get the payment

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a host of new measures after criticism the government was not doing enough to address economic hardship

Rishi Sunak announces £15bn package for cost of living crisis

The rising cost of living is continuing to stretch budgets across the UK, with warnings of more to come.

Energy bills are soaring, rents are increasing and inflation has hit record highs for several months in a row.

Living standards are forecast to fall at their fastest page since the 1950s in response to the crisis, as wages fail to keep up with rocketing prices.

Poorer households are expected to be hardest-hit, while eldery people have reported having to choose between heating or food.

The government has since revealed more help to try and help households navigate the cost of living crisis.

Here is what is available at the moment to help easy the financial burden.

£200 Household Support Fund

Prior to his dramatic recent resignation, former chancellor Rishi Sunak has twiced extended the lifespan of the Household Support Fund, originally only intended to run from October 2021 to March 2022, so that it will now be available until March 2023, granting local authorities a total of £1.5 billion to hand out over 18 months among residents they deem to be most in need of financial help.

Precisely how much individuals receive could vary between households depending on their circumstances as the calculation is left up to councils’ discretion, although £200 is the headline rate.

Cost of living: how to get help

The cost of living crisis has touched every corner of the UK, pushing families to the brink with rising food and fuel prices. The Independent has asked experts to explain small ways you can stretch your money, including managing debt and obtaining items for free.

If you need to access a food bank, find your local council’s website using gov.uk and then use the local authority’s site to locate your nearest centre. The Trussell Trust, which runs many foodbanks, has a similar tool.

Citizens Advice provides free help to people in need. The organisation can help you find grants or benefits, or advise on rent, debt and budgeting.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

The process of applying begins through your local council’s website, which you can find here by entering your postcode.

Search “Household Support Fund” on your local authority’s site for more details about how funds are allocated and distributed in your area to see whether you are eligible for a grant and, if so, how much.

£400 energy bill discount

The now ex-chancellor said has said that every household will receive a £400 energy bill discount as a cushion for soaring prices.

This will replace a planned £200 universial loan that was announced in February. It is now being doubled and turned into a grant, with customers no longer having to pay the money back.

Households will get the £400 energy discount from October. It will be paid directly to households across the UK.

£650 one-off payment to low-income households

This was another measure announced by Mr Sunak to try and ease the cost of living crisis for the poorest in the UK.

The grant applies to more than eight million households on benefits on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit, and legacy benefits.

There is no need to apply for it. Instead, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will pay the money straight into the bank accounts of those eligible.

It will be paid in two instalments. The first will be in July and the second later in the autumn.

£300 payment to pensioners

Mr Sunak also announced a new one-off grant for pensioners.

Individuals will be eligible if they are over the state pension age – 66 years old or above – between 19 and 25 September this year.

Again, pensioners do not need to apply to receive the payment. It will be paid directly to them in November or December alongside the winter fuel payment.

They usually receive £200 to £300 to cover energy costs in winter, so this means they will get double the usual support.

£150 to individuals receiving disability benefits

This was another cost of living payment revealed by the former chancellor.

The grant will be paid to eligible individuals receiving disability benefits. These are:

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

As with all the new cost of living grants, there is no need to apply and the grant will be paid directly to those eligible.

This payment will be made by September.

The additional payments to low-income households, pensioners and those in receipt of disability benefits aim to give extra help to those considered the most vulnerable to the rising cost of living.

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