Universal Credit claimants urged to claim freebies and discounts available worth thousands | Personal Finance | Finance


Universal Credit explained

Those receiving Universal Credit could be entitled to extra help (Image: GETTY)

Those receiving Universal Credit could be entitled to extra help, like special discounts and free food among other support.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, any extra cash could help take the pressure of high bills and squeezed finances.

As another £301 cost of living payment drops into accounts, Britons are reminded of other funds and grants that could offer a helping hand too.

Council tax discounts

Claimants may have to pay less in Council Tax, but they will need to apply for that separately. They can start the process to apply for a Council Tax Reduction on GOV.UK.

They can apply for a Council Tax Reduction straight away – they do not need to wait until their claim for Universal Credit has been approved or paid.

Universal Credit explained

Universal Credit can help people on low incomes (Image: EXPRESS)

Free prescriptions

Not everyone getting Universal Credit is entitled to help with their health costs. They are only entitled if their take-home pay in their last assessment period was:

  • £435 or less
  • £935 or less if your Universal Credit includes a payment for a child, or you have a limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work related activity

If someone claims Universal Credit as a couple, the take-home pay limit applies to the joint income of them and their partner. If their working hours and income change it’s important to regularly check if they are entitled.

The last assessment period is the one that ended immediately before the date you claim help with health costs. It runs for a calendar month.

Universal Credit explained

Britons are reminded of other funds and grants that could offer a helping hand too (Image: GETTY)

If someone is entitled because they get Universal Credit and their latest take-home pay is under the limit, they could get:

Help to Save scheme – £1,200 bonus

Those claiming Universal Credit and their household income in their last assessment period was £722.45 or more, may be able to open a Help to Save account.

Through the scheme they could get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over four years. Each month the maximum that can be paid in is £50. If people save the maximum amount over four years they can get a sum of £1,200 from the government, topping up their own savings of £2,400.

Free cash

Claimants may be able to get a one-off payment worth £500 to help towards the costs of having a child through the Sure Start Maternity Grant and they don’t have to pay it back.

To qualify for the grant both of the following apply:

  • they’re expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a multiple birth (such as twins) and have children already
  • they or their partner already get certain benefits

Britons must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within six months after the baby’s birth.

Claimants can also get a grant of up top £300 to help cover the cost of school uniforms for the year ahead, depending on where they are.

The Healthy Start scheme offers thousands of parents on low incomes help to feed their kids. They can get a prepaid card and payments worth up to £442 a year for those claiming certain benefits.

Those claiming certain benefits including Universal Credit, JSA and Child Tax Credit will find their child could be entitled to free school meals.

They will need to apply through their local authority so that they can apply for extra funding from the Government, while some councils ask them to contact the school directly.

Energy bill grants – up to £1,500

Several suppliers offer energy bill help through hardship funds and give out grants. These can be worth up to £1,500 and they don’t need to be repaid. British Gas has a hardship fund for struggling households – and people don’t have to be a customer to apply.

Cold Weather Payment

People may get a Cold Weather Payment if they’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest. They’ll get a payment if the average temperature in the area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days.

They’ll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between November 1 and March 31.

Disabled Facilities Grants

People could get a grant from their council if they’re disabled and need to make changes to their home. How much someone gets usually depends on their household income and household savings over £6,000.  In England claimants can get up to 30,000

Universal Credit claimants can claim more than 23 DWP benefits and freebies such as:

  • Capped water bills

  • Half price bus

  • Discounted rail fares

  • Free or discounted gym membership

  • Help with new job costs

  • Free or cheap broadband from TalkTalk, Virgin Media and BT

  • Cheap BT phone calls

  • Homeowners can apply for up to £10,000 to pay for a boiler

  • Homeowners can get help to pay for double glazing as part of the Green Homes Scheme

  • Up to £300 in Winter Fuel Payments

  • Free wigs or fabric support provided by the NHS



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