Make sure you’re getting the right entitlements

Use a benefit calculator

arrow icon

If you live in Northern Ireland, find out more about what benefits and financial support you might be entitled to on the nidirect website

arrow icon

Help to pay for essential things

If you’re already claiming benefits

Are you getting certain income-related benefits and need help to pay for essentials like clothing, furniture or a rent deposit? Then you might be able to apply for a Budgeting Loan or Budgeting Advance if you’re getting Universal Credit.

You’ll need to have been claiming Universal Credit for at least six months before you can apply.

arrow icon

Support to help you get through a crisis

If you’re facing an emergency, such as broken washing machine or you need urgent help with heating costs and are vulnerable, there might be local help available. This is known as local welfare assistance.

Help is given on a case-by-case basis.

  • If you live in England, contact your council to see if they have a welfare assistance scheme. Find your local council on the GOV.UK website
  • If you live in Scotland, find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund on the Scottish Government website
  • If you live in Wales, find out more about the Discretionary Assistance Fund on the Welsh Government website
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, find out more about changes to the Social Fund on the nidirect website

Apply for a charitable grant

Many charities, professional, faith and local organisations offer grants for people who are linked to them in some way. You usually don’t have to pay the money back.

arrow icon

Financial help during the coronavirus pandemic

Test and Trace Support Payment

If you’re told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace system, can’t work from home and are claiming any of the benefits listed below, you’ll be entitled to a payment of £500:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit.

This payment will be made by your local authority.

You’ll have to show proof of your employment (or self-employment) to qualify, and checks will be carried out to check you’re unable to work from home.

arrow icon

Home and housing support

Support for Mortgage Interest

Are you getting certain income-related benefits and struggling to keep up with the interest on your mortgage? Then you might be able apply for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

SMI can pay the interest (but not the capital repayments) on mortgages up to £200,000.

You can also use SMI to pay for essential repairs or maintenance to your home, or adapt it to cope with disability needs.

SMI is a loan. You’ll have to repay it either when you sell your house, or voluntarily when you’re able to (for example, when you return to work).

Payments are made directly to your lender 39 weeks after you first apply for this benefit, so claim as soon as you can. This is unless you’re getting Pension Credit, in which case you can get help immediately.

If you’re on income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can only get SMI for up to two years.

arrow icon
arrow icon

Help with housing costs if you’re renting

If you’re renting from either a private or social housing landlord and you’re receiving certain income-related benefits, you could get money to help pay your rent.

If you’re making a new claim for help with housing costs, this will be through Universal Credit.

Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit and you can no longer make a new claim for it. But you might be able to get extra support if you’re already getting it. 

arrow icon

Universal Credit and housing costs

If you qualify for Universal Credit, you might get a housing costs element to go towards your rent or mortgage interest payments.

If you live in England or Wales, you’ll be responsible for paying the rent to your landlord yourself.

If you live in Scotland, you can choose to have rent payments made directly to your landlord.

If you live in Northern Ireland, your rent is automatically paid to your landlord.

arrow icon

Discretionary Housing Payments

Your Universal Credit payment (or Housing Benefit) might not cover all your housing costs. This is more likely to be the case if you’re living in private rented housing.

If this happens, you might be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from your local council to cover the shortfall in rent.

You can also apply for a DHP to cover a tenancy deposit or some ground rent charges.

You can only claim a DHP after you’ve received your first Universal Credit payment.

arrow icon

Council Tax Reduction

You might be able to get a reduction on your Council Tax if:

  • you’re on a low income
  • you’re a student or you live with students
  • you live alone or are the only adult in your home
  • you get certain benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
  • you or someone you live with has a disability, and as a result needs to live in a larger home
  • You’re severely mentally impaired or living with someone who is
  • you’re a care leaver in Scotland, where you’ll be exempt from Council Tax between the ages of 18 until you turn 26
  • you live in certain counties in England and Wales and are a care leaver
  • you’re a member of the armed forces, depending on your circumstances
  • you’ve moved into a care home or hospital
  • in prison – unless you’re serving a prison sentence for failing to pay Council Tax.
arrow icon

Rates relief

If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to claim Rate Relief instead.

arrow icon

Help with heating and energy costs

Warm Home Discount

A Warm Home Discount can give you £140 off your electricity bill.

For some energy companies, you can also choose to use this towards your gas bills instead of your electricity. 

If you’re on a low income and getting certain means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, you might be able to get it.

Talk to your electricity supplier to see if they can offer it to you. 

If you don’t qualify for a Warm Home Discount with your supplier, see if you can switch to one where you do.

arrow icon

Switch energy-suppliers

If you pay your energy bills directly, you could save up to £200 a year by switching gas and electricity suppliers. It only takes 20 minutes to check.

Energy-Efficiency Grants

If you want to make some changes to your home to cut your power bills, you can go green and reduce the amount of energy you use. You might be able to get help towards the costs.

arrow icon

Cold Weather Payments

Are you getting certain income-related benefits and the average temperature in your area is, or is forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for seven consecutive days? Then you’re entitled to an extra payment.

You’ll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between November and March.

This is separate to the Winter Fuel Allowance you’ll get if you’re in retirement.

arrow icon

If you’re retired

If you’re older, or have reached retirement age, there are a number of benefits you are entitled to – to cover heating, TV Licence, travel and medical care.

arrow icon

If you’re pregnant or have a baby

If you’re expecting, or have a child under 16, there are a range of benefits you might be able to claim.

If you have school-aged children

Education Maintenance Allowance

If you’re in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland and you’re aged between 16 and 18, you could get weekly help with the cost of education.

arrow icon

16-19 Bursary

If you’re in England, you might be able to get the 16-19 Bursary Fund to help with the costs of studying.

arrow icon

Free school meals

Are you claiming certain benefits, including income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit, and are on a low income? Then your child might be entitled to free school meals.

Find out more about free school meals:

Help with the cost of uniforms

Find out about help with school clothing costs:

If you’re ill, injured or disabled

arrow icon

Health costs

You might qualify for help towards some NHS charges if you’re on Income Support.

arrow icon

Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme

You might qualify for help towards the cost of transport if you’re on Income Support and need to travel to get medical treatment.

arrow icon

Disabled Facilities Grant

If you’re disabled, you might be able to get money towards the cost of adapting your home for your needs.

arrow icon

Disabled Students’ Allowance

If you’re disabled, have an ongoing health or mental health condition or a learning disability, you could get extra financial help during further education.

arrow icon

Blue Badge Parking Scheme

If you’re disabled, you could apply for a badge allowing you to park closer to where you need to be.

arrow icon

Reduced Earnings Allowance

If your earning potential is reduced because you’re disabled, you might be entitled to extra support.

arrow icon

Help with travel and looking for work

You might be able to apply for support for the costs of getting to interviews, or buying clothes and equipment to work if you find a job. 

Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card

When you’ve been claiming certain income-related benefits – including Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit – for three months, you’re entitled to a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card.

You can get half-price rail tickets and discounts on selected bus services for six months (18-24-year olds) or nine months (over 25s).

You can apply for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card at your local Jobcentre Plus.

arrow icon
arrow icon

Flexible support fund

You might be able to use the flexible support fund to help with the cost of travelling to interviews, training, or in the first months of starting a new job. 

arrow icon

Help with phone and broadband costs

BT Basic

Are you claiming Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit? Then you might be entitled to a BT Basic low-cost phone and broadband package.

The monthly line rental only costs £5.16 (including VAT) a month. As well as getting free weekend calls (up to 60 minutes duration) to 0845 and 0870 numbers, it comes with a call allowance of £1.50 and a £10 monthly price cap.

If you would like to add broadband  to a BT Basic line, the total monthly cost of this is £10.07.

With the price cap, it means no matter  how many calls you make the most you’ll pay each month is £15.16 or £20.07 with broadband.

arrow icon

Or, there are a number of cheap SIM only contracts with mobile data, which could be better value than a broadband package.

Refugees and asylum seekers

Refugees might be entitled to an integration loan to pay for housing, household items, education and work training.

arrow icon

Asylum seekers might be able to claim asylum support for housing, education and access to the National Health Service (NHS).

arrow icon

The Refugee Council offers free advice and information for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

arrow icon

Where to get free help and advice

Was this information useful?
Thank you for your feedback.
We’re always trying to improve our website and services, and your feedback helps us understand how we’re doing.
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for pensions guidance using…
Talk to us live for money guidance using…
0800 011 3797* Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for money guidance using the telephone
0800 138 7777* Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for pensions guidance using web chat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us live for money guidance using webchat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat:8.00am – 3.00pm
  • Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us for pensions guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 5 working days

Talk to us for money guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 2 working days

Talk to us live for money guidance using WhatsApp
+44 77 0134 2744

Download app: WhatsApp

For help sorting out your debts or credit questions. For everything else please contact us via Webchat or telephone.