Today’s 80% energy price cap rise to £3549 will be catastrophic for households everywhere and the UK Government is missing in action. My Labour colleagues and I will continue to push for the UK Government to take the urgent action needed to get a grip on this national emergency.
In the meantime, please find below useful links to the advice and support available on the cost of living. My office and I are always here to help, so please get in touch if there’s anything you need.
Welsh Government support
Fuel support scheme
The Welsh Government is extending its Fuel Support Scheme this autumn and winter, meaning more households will be eligible to benefit from a £200 payment to help keep their homes warm.
More than 400,000 households will now be eligible for the £200 payment.
Households claiming universal credit, legacy means-tested benefit, working tax credits, child tax credits, pension credits, disability benefits, carers allowance, contributory benefits and those receiving a council tax reduction will be eligible.
Cost of Living Support Scheme
The £150 cost of living support payment is being provided to all households in properties in council tax bands A to D, and all households which receive support from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme regardless of their council tax band.
Payments will be made directly into people’s bank accounts by their Local Authority.
£400 Energy Bill Support Scheme
£400 off energy bills for households in Great Britain from this October. This automatic, non-repayable discount will be applied in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023 to help households through winter. There is no need to apply for the scheme and you will not be asked for your bank details. More info here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/energy-bills-support-scheme-explainer
Discretionary Assistance Fund
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
Free School Meals
Free school breakfasts are available for all children in Wales.
Free school meals are available to eligible to children in Wales, and are continuing to be provided through school holidays.
From September 2022, the universal free school meals scheme will start to be rolled out, starting with reception classes. By April 2023, years 1 and 2 will start to receive their free school meals, with the rest of primary school years following by 2024.
Pupil Development Grant
Helps families with the costs of the school day and can be used for items such as school uniform and equipment.
Learners currently eligible for free school meals can apply for the grant of £125 per learner, and £200 for those learners entering year 7, recognising the increased costs associated with starting secondary school.
Link here – https://gov.wales/pupil-development-grant-access
Help with childcare costs
The Childcare Offer for Wales provides up to 30 hours of government-funded early education and childcare to eligible working parents of three- and four-year-olds for 48 weeks of the year.
Link here – https://gov.wales/apply-childcare-offer-wales
Summer of Fun festival and activities from 1 July to 30 September. Free for ages 0-25
Help can be given to those struggling to pay their bills. Find out more on the Welsh Water website – https://www.dwrcymru.com/en/support-with-bills
The HelpU tariff helps the lowest income households in our region. If you qualify, we will cap your water bill so you won’t pay over a certain amount for the year.
If you have a water meter, you will never pay more than the amount you have used. If your consumption is less than the HelpU cap amount, you will only be billed for the amount of water you have used.
National Energy Action
Directly supports people with energy and income maximisation advice and we advocate on issues including improving the energy efficiency of our homes.
If you or someone you know can’t afford to heat their home NEA offer a range of advice and support directly to people in need.
Call 0800 304 7159, Monday to Friday 10.00 am-12.00 noon
Link here – www.nea.org.uk
Discretionary housing payments
Applies to both social and private sectors
It can provide extra money when your local authority decides that you need extra help to meet your housing costs on top of what benefit support you already receive through the DWP.
In order to receive the Discretionary Housing Payments, it is necessary to either already be receiving the old scheme Housing Benefit or the housing cost contribution element through Universal Credit.
To find out if you are eligible contact Cardiff Council. Link here – https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Benefits-and-Grants/Housing-Benefit/Discretionary-Housing-Payments/Pages/default.aspx
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs which is paid monthly. You may be eligible to apply if you are working but on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.
Universal Credit Helpline: 0800 328 5644
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Link here – https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
New Style Employment & Support Allowance
If you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work you may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
New Style ESA is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (UC). If you get both benefits, your Universal Credit payment is reduced by the amount you get for New Style ESA.
New Style ESA is a contributory benefit. Normally, this means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year, you’re claiming in.
To be eligible for the New Style ESA you usually need to have been working within the last 2 to 3 years and have made (or been credited with) Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions. This can be through employment or self–employment.
New Style Job Seekers Allowance
You might be eligible for New Style Job Seeker’s Allowance to help you when you look for work, either on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit. If you’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week you may be able to get New Style Job Seeker’s Allowance.
Personal Independence Payment
Payments to support the cost of living for individuals who:
- Have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
- Difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition
Link here – https://www.gov.uk/pip
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.
Where to get help
Citizen’s Advice Cymru offers free, confidential advice on a range of issues including money, debt and benefits. To speak to an adviser, please call 03444 77 20 20 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
Link here – https://cacv.org.uk/
Age Cymru Advice offers free, confidential and impartial support service. They can help older people, their families, friends, carers and professionals with information and advice on matters affecting older people.
To find out more, call 0300 303 398 between 9:00am and 4:00pm, Monday to Friday or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Care and Repair
Care and Repairprovides information, advice and practical services that help older people in Wales stay safe, warm and well at home. They fit disability aids and adaptations, supply home maintenance services, help maximise income and access grants, and make homes safe to return to from hospital.
To find out more, call 0300 111 3333. Even if you think that you do not ordinarily qualify for financial support you could now be eligible for some help with day to day living costs.
Money Advice Service, Cardiff
Can offer help and support in a number of areas such as budgeting, income maximisation and managing debt.
Drop-in services are available at Central Library Hub or one of their Outreach Surgeries.
Link here – https://www.cardiffmoneyadvice.co.uk/