Cost of living Q&A with Citizens Advice
We know the rise in cost of living is making things even harder for young people and families facing cancer. We asked James from our Welfare Advice Service and Citizens Advice to answer some questions on bills, benefits and how you can get help.
Please note: this information was correct as of November 2022.
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you will receive a discount of £66 per month from October 2022 to March 2023 – this is from the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme.
If you use alternative fuels to heat your home (e.g. heating oil, LPG or biomass boilers), you’ll get an extra £200 on top of this.
A similar scheme will be introduced in Northern Ireland, and all households will get the extra £200.
If you have a pre-payment meter, you’ll get your discount as a voucher.
The price of energy bills is limited by the Energy Price Guarantee. You can find out more on the Money Saving Expert website.
This is a discount of £150 off energy bills for winter 2022-23 in England and Wales. You can get it if:
- you receive a means-tested benefit or tax credits as of 21 August 2022 (this doesn’t include DLA or PIP)
- you were with a participating energy supplier on 21 August 2022 (most suppliers are included), and
- the government decides you have high energy costs (based on your home).
If you’re eligible, you don’t need to apply – you’ll get a letter between November 2022 and January 2023.
The rules are similar in Scotland, but people of working age who receive means-tested benefits will have to apply to their electricity supplier.
In Scotland, there are two additional payments that you might be able to claim: Winter Heating Payment and Child Winter Heating Assistance. Find out more on the Scottish government’s website.
If you receive means-tested benefits and a member of your household is receiving disability benefits or has been assessed as having poor health, you may be able to get a Cold Weather Payment.
It’s a payment of £25 for each seven-day period of cold weather (0 Celsius or below) between 1 November and 31 March.
Find out more on the UK government’s website.
If you receive Universal Credit, Income Support, income-related ESA or JSA, Pension Credit or Tax Credits, you’ll get a £650 Cost of Living Payment paid in two instalments. The first instalment was paid in July 2022 and the second is being paid in November 2022.
In the 2023/24 financial year, you’ll get a further £900 Cost of Living Payment.
If you were receiving Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or certain other disability benefits (including the new Scottish Adult and Child Disability Payments) as of 25th May 2022, you will have received a £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment in September 2022.
In the 2023/24 financial year, you’ll get a further £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment.
From April 2023, all benefits will be increased by 10.1%.
The benefit cap (the limit on the total amount you can get) will also go up 10.1%.
Local Housing Allowance will stay the same, while increases to social housing rent prices will be capped at 7%.
If you’re falling behind with your energy bills, and finding yourself struggling to pay, contact your supplier as soon as possible. Under rules from Ofgem, your supplier has to help you – usually by negotiating a payment plan that you can afford.
Talk to a debt adviser – such as Citizens Advice, StepChange or National Debtline.
Many energy suppliers have charitable trusts and funds that can help if you’re in debt and struggling to repay. You will usually need to be a customer, and to have spoken to a debt adviser before applying.
Many broadband providers offer low-cost broadband and phone packages to people on Universal Credit and other means-tested or disability benefits. Search for “social tariffs” on the Ofcom or Money Saving Expert websites.
All water companies offer low-cost tariffs to people on low household incomes and/or receiving means-tested benefits.
A number of water companies also have charitable funds that can help customers who are in debt or struggling to pay their water bills. Find out more on the CCW website.
How we can help
If you’re a young person facing cancer, or you have a child with cancer, we may be able to help you with financial advice and support, including grants. Visit our financial support page to find out more.
You can also contact us for advice and support.
For more help from Citizens Advice, visit their website.