Common Credit score has been blamed for inflicting monetary difficulties and pushing individuals into debt and poverty – in addition to resulting in an increased use of food banks.
Others have instructed of being forced into ‘survival sex’ as a result of they’re so determined for additional money.
However in the event you’re struggling to handle on Common Credit score, additional assist is on the market.
Winter and Christmas are instances when many people really feel the pressure on family budgets, as a result of increased vitality payments and the prices of meals, presents, playing cards and decorations over the festive season.
And naturally many extra individuals are actually on Common Credit score because of the affect of the coronavirus pandemic. And all the brand new and up to date claimants will not be conscious of all the extra monetary assist that is accessible.
This contains free well being prices, free college meals, cut-price journey, new boilers and double glazing, gasoline invoice reductions, capped water payments, low cost web and telephone calls, and a whopping 50 per cent bonus on prime of financial savings.
We have put collectively this useful guidelines so you possibly can work by it and be sure to’re getting all of the assist you are entitled to.
1. Free prescriptions
You could qualify for assist with well being prices comparable to free prescriptions in the event you obtain Common Credit score and had no earnings, or had internet earnings of £435 or much less, in your final one-month evaluation interval.
You may additionally be eligible in the event you obtain Common Credit score, which incorporates a component for a kid, otherwise you (or your companion) had restricted functionality for work (LCW) or restricted functionality for work and work-related exercise (LCWRA), and also you both had no earnings or internet earnings of £935 or much less in your final evaluation interval.
In January 2020, new FP10 prescription kinds have been launched which included an exemption tick field marked ‘U’ for sufferers who obtain Common Credit score and meet the factors without cost NHS prescriptions.
However the NHS says not all kinds have a tick field for Universal Credit. In some instances pharmacies are nonetheless utilizing up the previous kinds.
If there is not a field for Common Credit score, tick the field for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance as a substitute.
In case your Common Credit score declare continues to be being assessed, then you definitely’ll have to pay for any well being prices and declare a refund later.
2. Free dental therapy
These on Common Credit score may be entitled to free NHS dental therapy beneath related standards to these without cost prescriptions.
You may be requested to point out your dentist written proof that you do not have to pay for all or a part of your NHS therapy. You will even be requested to signal a type to substantiate that you do not have to pay.
If you’re unsure whether or not you are entitled to assist, you will need to pay. You may declare a refund, however be sure to hold all receipts.
You can not declare a refund for any personal dental therapy.
There’s a dental providers helpline to name for info on 0300 330 1348.
3. Free eye assessments and discounted glasses/lenses
Equally, these claiming Common Credit score can even get free eye assessments in the event that they meet the factors that additionally apply to dental therapy and prescriptions.
You can too get assist with the price of glasses or contact lenses.
The quantity of assist is named the voucher value, which is determined by the power of your lenses.
The optician will inform you which voucher worth applies to you. In case your glasses or contact lenses value greater than this, you need to pay the distinction.
There are 10 optical voucher values starting from £39.10 to £215.50, relying on the power of the lenses you want.
4. Free well being journey prices
Should you’re referred to a hospital or different clinic for specialist NHS therapy or assessments by a physician, dentist or different main care well being skilled, you could possibly get your journey prices refunded.
The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme contains these on Common Credit score who meet the identical standards as for the opposite well being prices listed above.
Often you pay upfront after which have three months to say it again.
Refunds are primarily based on what would have been the most cost effective appropriate mode of journey, which most often is public transport.
Should you glided by automotive and your declare was permitted, you may be reimbursed for the price of gasoline on the mileage charge utilized by your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
You might be additionally capable of declare for automotive parking and toll costs.
5. Free wigs and helps
Common Credit score recipients may have the ability to get refunds on the price of wigs or material assist offered by the NHS together with:
- surgical brassiere – £30.05
- belly or spinal assist – £45.35
- inventory modacrylic wig – £74.15
- partial human hair wig – £196.40
- full bespoke human hair wig – £287.20
Inform the one who suits your wig or material assist you are entitled to it free, and present proof of your entitlement. Prices may be claimed again on a refund type.
6. Free college meals
If you’re on Common Credit score, your little one could possibly get free college meals in case your family revenue is lower than £7,400 a 12 months (after tax and never together with any advantages you get).
Discover out how to apply on the Government webpage here
7. Free college transport
In case your youngsters should catch a bus, tram or practice to get to high school every day, then there could also be assist accessible with journey prices.
Eligibility standards without cost college transport is determined by every native authority, however youngsters should normally attend the closest college. In some instances, low-income households who’re in receipt of sure advantages qualify for this kind of help.
There’s a good likelihood any youngsters capable of get free college meals would additionally qualify without cost college transport.
So it is price checking together with your council to seek out out their coverage on this difficulty and test if Common Credit score is among the standards.
Verify for school transport assistance here.
8. Free and discounted childcare prices
You could possibly declare again as much as 85 per cent of your childcare costs if you’re on Universal Credit.
Probably the most you may get again every month is:
These on Common Credit score with a family revenue of £15,400 a 12 months or much less after tax, not together with profit funds, can get free childcare for two-year-olds.
They will additionally get 30 hours’ free childcare per week for kids aged three to 4.
9. £150 in direction of college uniforms
Dad and mom can apply for a one-off school uniform discount of as much as £150 per child.
The cash will also be used for different prices comparable to stationery. But it surely’s not a statutory responsibility in England, so the accessible quantities are likely to differ.
The Division for Training stated that oldsters who don’t obtain the grant could possibly get money assist from the college as a substitute.
Functions normally open in July, when mother and father and guardians can fill in and submit a type on-line.
You may apply for a most of three youngsters per household and should be incomes lower than £16,190 a 12 months.
To search out out in case your council gives it, enter your postcode into the Gov.uk page for school uniform support here.
10. Council tax reductions
Should you get Common Credit score or different advantages, chances are you’ll be eligible for a council tax discount.
Such schemes are run by every native authority, with a variety of various reductions in place.
You could possibly be eligible for a considerable discount in the event you’re on a low revenue or declare advantages and in some instances you may get a 100 per cent low cost and will not should pay any council tax in any respect.
You may apply whether or not you personal your private home, hire, are unemployed or working.
What you get is determined by:
- the place you reside – every council runs its personal scheme
- your circumstances (eg revenue, variety of youngsters, advantages, residency standing)
- your family revenue – this contains financial savings, pensions and your companion’s revenue
- in case your youngsters stay with you
- if different adults stay with you
You may enter your postcode on the Government website to see the place to use for one.
11. Capped water payments
These in receipt of sure advantages together with Common Credit score might qualify for a scheme often known as WaterSure, the place water payments are capped.
In addition to an eligible profit, you should:
- be accountable, and obtain little one profit, for 3 or extra youngsters beneath the age of 19 dwelling within the property, or
- have (or somebody dwelling within the property will need to have) a medical situation which requires important further use of water. Examples of medical circumstances embody weeping pores and skin illnesses (comparable to psoriasis), Crohn’s illness or ulcerative colitis.
Should you qualify for WaterSure, you will not pay any greater than the common family invoice in your space, even in the event you use greater than the traditional quantity of water.
You will not have the ability to go on WaterSure in the event you use a backyard sprinkler system or have a swimming pool.
Apply straight by your water firm.
12. Half-price bus or rail fares
Those that are out of labor and on Common Credit score or Jobseeker’s Allowance are capable of get a Jobcentre Plus Journey Low cost Card.
For many of the UK, it provides 50 per cent off the prices of fares on trains and Stagecoach buses. The intention is to assist individuals get to job interviews however the card can be utilized for basic journey.
In London, the cardboard gives half-price fares for journey by bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL rail (excluding between West Drayton and Studying) and most Nationwide Rail providers.
The Authorities says the cardboard is offered to these unemployed claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Common Credit score for 3 to 9 months if they’re aged 18 to 24, or for 3 to 12 months if 25 or over.
Playing cards are awarded on a case-by-case foundation so you should communicate to Jobcentre employees who will resolve whether or not you may be issued with one.
13. Free or discounted gymnasium membership
Folks on advantages comparable to Common Credit score could possibly get free or discounted memberships, assessments, classes or courses at gyms and leisure centres. Verify together with your native amenities to see what they provide.
For these on health-related advantages, it is price including that GPs can even refer sufferers to a leisure centre to enhance bodily or psychological wellbeing.
On this case, your physician would ship you to the native leisure centre to have an train programme developed in your well being wants. Sometimes, you’d then be anticipated to work out twice per week for 3 months, at no cost.
Such schemes are designed to assist with a spread of circumstances together with hypertension, diabetes, bronchial asthma, arthritis, weight problems, despair, anxiousness and osteoporosis, no matter whether or not you might be on advantages. Ask your GP if such schemes can be found.
Though gyms and leisure centres have been closed in the course of the coronavirus lockdowns, that is an possibility price contemplating to spice up your basic wellbeing when restrictions are lifted and we will get out of the home as soon as once more.
14. Assist with new job prices
Jobcentres are capable of assist profit claimants with the prices of discovering work, beneath what’s known as the Versatile Assist Scheme.
These on Common Credit score are amongst these eligible for this scheme however it’s not an automated entitlement. Any assist you get is on the discretion of your Jobcentre Plus advisor and quantities given will differ relying on the circumstances.
The intention is to assist with the prices incurred in getting or beginning a brand new job comparable to journey to interviews, coaching, instruments and uniforms.
If you’re claiming Common Credit score, you might also have the ability to get assist with the primary month of childcare prices.
Those that discover work may have the ability to get monetary help from their Jobcentre with commuting prices for the primary three months.
15. £25 in Chilly Climate Funds
The Chilly Climate Cost scheme runs from the beginning of November to the tip of March the next 12 months.
Those that get Common Credit score and usually are not employed or self-employed are amongst those that qualify, so long as in addition they have a health condition or disability and restricted functionality for work. or have a baby beneath 5 dwelling with them.
Additionally, you will be eligible if in case you have a disabled little one quantity in your declare, whether or not you might be employed or not.
A fee is triggered if the common temperature in your space is recorded as (or forecast to be) zero levels celsius or beneath over seven consecutive days.
For every seven day interval of very chilly climate, you get £25 paid into the identical account the place you obtain your profit funds. It is paid in robotically so that you need not put in a declare.
16. £140 off your gasoline payments
You could possibly get £140 off your electrical energy or fuel invoice beneath the Heat Residence Low cost Scheme.
It is primarily geared toward a ‘core group’ of profit claimants who get the assure credit score ingredient of Pension Credit score but additionally to a broader group who’re on “sure means-tested advantages” or a low revenue.
On this broader group, you may qualify in case your gross annual family revenue is lower than £16,190, or in the event you obtain:
- Earnings Assist, or
- Earnings-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or
- Earnings-related Employment and Assist Allowance (ESA), or
- Common Credit score.
The rebate is utilized by your vitality provider in the event you’re eligible. So it is price checking in the event you qualify.
Reductions for these on this broader group are restricted and given on a first-come, first-served foundation. Apply as quickly as potential as soon as the scheme begins (in 2020 it opened on October 12), to enhance your possibilities of getting a rebate.
Winter Gasoline Funds of £100 to £300 in direction of heating payments are additionally awarded to these on some advantages together with the state pension, however these on Common Credit score do not qualify for this.
17. Low cost broadband from Virgin Media
Virgin Media has launched its new Essential broadband service which the supplier says “gives dependable, inexpensive and hassle-free connectivity to these dealing with monetary issue and receiving Common Credit score.”
This can be a broadband-only bundle accessible to present Virgin Media clients.
The service has a velocity of 15Mbps and a hard and fast value of £15 per thirty days.
The plan has no fixed-term contract size and no value adjustments whereas Universal Credit funds are being acquired.
18. Low cost BT telephone calls (and broadband)
BT Primary is a low-cost service accessible to those that are on Common Credit score with zero earnings.
It lets you make as many calls as you prefer to numbers beginning with 01, 02, 03, 07 (UK mobiles) or to 08 numbers – for a most of £10 a month. You additionally get free weekend calls (as much as 60 minutes).
And there is additionally BT Primary + Broadband, that means you too can add on limitless broadband for a complete value of £10.07 a month for telephone plus web. You do not have to pay a connection cost for putting in the broadband, however there’s a postage and packaging cost for the BT Residence Hub router.
19. Free £1,200 on prime of financial savings
This can be a long-term supply of additional money, however is price contemplating in the event you can afford to place some cash apart every month.
Assist to Save is a Authorities scheme during which you save between £1 and £50 a month (although you need not do it each month) and get a tax-free bonus on prime. The account closes after 4 years.
This bonus is 50 per cent of the best stability you could have saved. Probably the most you possibly can earn out of your financial savings in 4 years is an additional £1,200 on prime in bonus cash – and you’ll get that in the event you managed to save lots of £2,400 by paying in £50 a month for 4 years. So that you’d then have a complete of £3,600.
You are capable of withdraw the cash at any time however this can have an effect on the bonuses you get. Be aware that if the overall quantity of any financial savings you could have reaches greater than £6,000, then Common Credit score funds begin to be lowered.
20. Further assist with hire
Councils can provide a Discretionary Housing Cost (DHP) in the event you want additional assist with housing prices.
You could be given a DHP to cowl issues comparable to a hire shortfall, or to cowl hire deposits or hire prematurely in the event you transfer to a brand new tackle.
The method of claiming this cash is determined by your native council.
Councils got funding to award this fee to individuals who have been hit by the profit cap, the bed room tax or by adjustments to the native housing allowance charges which decide how a lot personal hire is roofed by advantages.
21. Meals coupons for youths
If you’re at the least 10 weeks’ pregnant or have at the least one little one beneath the age of 4, the Authorities’s Wholesome Begin Scheme can assist you purchase fundamental meals comparable to milk or fruit.
However notice that additionally, you will be eligible for the Wholesome Begin scheme in the event you’re pregnant and beneath 18, even in the event you do NOT obtain any advantages.
These on Common Credit score qualify if your loved ones earns £408 or much less per thirty days from paid work.
If eligible, you can be despatched vouchers that can be utilized in additional than 30,000 outlets within the UK. The vouchers are price £3.10 every and may be spent on milk, recent or frozen fruit and veg, and toddler system.
You get one voucher per week in the event you’re pregnant or have a baby aged one to 4, and two vouchers per week if in case you have a baby beneath one.
22. Maternity grant as much as £1,000
You could possibly get a one-off fee of as much as £1,000 to assist in direction of the prices of getting youngsters.
It is often known as a Certain Begin Maternity Grant. You do not have to pay it again and may have the ability to get it in case you are adopting or changing into a surrogate father or mother.
You may declare from 11 weeks earlier than the week the beginning is due. The newest you possibly can declare is six months after.
The grant is normally £500 however it may be as a lot as £1,000 if you have already got a number of youngsters after which give beginning to triplets. Find out more about the Sure Start Maternity Grant here
23. Assist with funeral prices
It is a unhappy incontrovertible fact that more people die in the winter than at different instances of 12 months and naturally we are actually seeing the extra affect of deaths from Covid-19 because the pandemic continues within the UK and the world over.
A Funeral Expenses Payment can assist pay for burial or cremation, journey to the service, any transporting of the physique required throughout the UK, and loss of life certificates or different paperwork.
You can too get cash for funeral director’s charges, flowers or the coffin. As much as £1,000 may be given in direction of this.
If you’re left any cash by the one who died, the funeral fee awarded to you can be taken again out of that by the Authorities.
24. Bereavement assist funds
Along with the funeral bills fee detailed above, you could possibly get a Bereavement Support Payment in case your husband, spouse or civil companion passes away, or a Guardian’s Allowance if in case you have been left to convey up a baby whose mother and father have died.
Bereavement Assist Cost (BSP) is on the market in case your husband, spouse or civil companion died previously 21 months. It changed Bereavement Allowance (beforehand Widow’s Pension), Bereavement Cost, and Widowed Mother or father’s Allowance.
The preliminary payout is £2,500 or £3,500, after which as much as 18 month-to-month funds of £100 or £350.
The Guardian’s Allowance rate is £17.90 per week. You get it on prime of Baby Profit and it is tax-free.
25. Disabled Amenities Grant as much as £30,000
The council can award a grant in the event you – or somebody dwelling in your house – is disabled and have to make adjustments comparable to:
- widening doorways and putting in ramps
- bettering entry to rooms and amenities – comparable to stairlifts or a downstairs lavatory
- offering a heating system appropriate in your wants
- adapting heating or lighting controls to make them simpler to make use of
In England, grants of as much as £30,000 can be found. The scheme is open to householders and tenants. You can too apply in the event you’re a landlord and have a disabled tenant.
26. £10,000 in direction of energy-saving enhancements
In a scheme run by the Authorities, you could possibly get a Green Home Grant. This comes within the type of a voucher protecting two-thirds of the price of vitality environment friendly and low-carbon heating enhancements, as much as a most worth of £5,000.
However in case you are a house owner and both you or a member of your family receives sure advantages, vouchers of as much as £10,000 can be found to cowl the whole value of the work. The advantages that qualify for this a lot increased degree of assist embody Common Credit score.
Work that is coated contains insulation, warmth pumps, biomass boilers, double glazing, draught proofing, new doorways and thermostats. Apply for a Green Home Grant here
As well as, you might also have the ability to get assist from the Vitality Firm Obligation (ECO) scheme, which was beforehand often known as the Reasonably priced Heat Scheme and gives householders and tenants with new boilers and insulation.
With ECO, there’s a small value to pay in direction of having a brand new boiler however loft and cavity wall insulation might be put in freed from cost. All the large vitality firms participate – ask yours for particulars.
27. Cash off courtroom and tribunal charges
Many individuals do not realise there are charges for going to a courtroom or tribunal. These are totally different to the authorized prices of getting a solicitor.
As an illustration, there’s a price of £550 for a divorce listening to and £680 for making use of for chapter. However interesting towards a advantages determination is free.
Should you’re on a low revenue, are on sure advantages and don’t have a lot in financial savings, you may have the ability to get these prices lowered.
These on Common Credit score qualify for assist in the event that they earn lower than £6,000 a 12 months.
Learn the way to apply for help with fees here
For assist with the prices of a solicitor, check if you can get legal aid