Finance expert urges Brits to check they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to
By Phoebe Fuller
With the cost of living crisis still very much upon us, many Brits have been left wondering where they can get some extra cash. In fact, this year there has been a 26 percent increase in online searches for "what benefits can I get", as well as 28,000 searches for "cost of living help" in September alone.
As the country struggles to put food on the table and heat their homes, the government have provided some additional support - but many are still left feeling that this is not enough. Now, a financial expert is urging Brits to double check that they are receiving all the state benefits that they are entitled to claim.
There are thousands of people missing out on lifesaving lump-sums and helpful benefits, because they simply did not know that they were entitled to them. A report by online benefits calculator, EntitledTo, found that over £15billion worth of benefits were left unclaimed last year.
And financial expert at Stipendium, Christina Melling, said that the easiest way to avoid missing out on vital benefits is to use a free benefits calculator. These calculators ask you for some personal information and then use this information to assess exactly what benefits you would be entitled to, so that you can then apply for them.
The PAVE better off calculator by Stipendium is one such calculator that will tell you everything that you can apply for. Christina said: "The easiest way to avoid falling victim to losing out on benefit entitlement is to use a free benefits calculator, such as PAVE by Stipendium. The tools allows people to find all the benefits they’re entitled to, as well as access to a list of grants and payments they can apply for too."
Christina said that 91 percent of households are currently experiencing increases to their cost of living. She added: "And inflation rates are exceeding average increases in wages so it’s never been more important to check you’re receiving absolutely everything you’re entitled to. The cost of basic goods and services has reached previously unheard-of heights so we need to understand where we can get extra resources and support."
Christina said that there are several different categories of benefits, some of which include multiple benefits that can be applied for independently. These are:
This helps with heating, housing, and other living costs. Includes:
- Universal Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)
- Mortgage Interest Run On
- Council Tax Reduction
- Winter Fuel Payment
- Free or discounted TV licence
Caring for someone
Help for someone who regularly spends time caring for someone. This includes Universal Credit, Carer's Allowance, Carer's Credit, and Pension Credit.
If there’s a bereavement
Help with costs and funeral expenses after someone has died. Includes:
- Universal Credit
- Bereavement Support Payment
- Child Benefit if a child or parent dies
- Funeral Expenses Payment
- Guardian's Allowance
- Support for child funeral costs (Children’s Funeral Fund for England)
- Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Leave
- Widowed Parent's Allowance
- War Widow(er) Pension
Those looking for work
Help if someone is looking for a new job, is out of work or is affected by redundancy. This includes Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), and Pension Credit.
They’re temporarily unable to work
Help if someone is unable to work because they are ill. This includes Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
Financial support for families
Help for someone who looks after children or plans to have or adopt a child. Includes:
- Child benefits
- Maternity pay and leave
- Maternity Allowance
- the Sure Start Maternity Grant
- Paternity pay and leave
- Shared Parental Leave and Pay
- Adoption pay and leave
- Support for disabled children, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children, and Disabled Facilities Grants
Those who are disabled or dealing with a health condition
Help if someone is living with a health condition or disability. Includes:
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children
- Universal Credit.
In addition, claims may be made for work-related and armed forces injuries such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit if you were injured while serving in the armed forces, compensation for health problems caused by mining, diffuse mesothelioma payments, and Reduced Earnings Allowance.
Christina has advised that there are also a number of other benefits and tools that are available which, although not state benefits, could help people save money. These include:
Help to Save savings account
This type of savings account allows those entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over 4 years. Help to Save is backed by the government so all savings in the scheme are secure.
Work and Health Programme
The Work and Health Programme helps someone to find and keep a job if they are out of work.
Claim for help with the Cost of Living
For those who do not have enough to live on, they might be able to get help from the Government or their local council to afford essentials like bills and food. This includes the Household Support Fund and Cost of Living Payments.
Cost of Living Payment Guidance
Guidance on getting an extra payment to help with the cost of living if someone is entitled to certain benefits or tax credits.
Many charitable funds, such as Turn2Us, may help people who have no recourse to public funds - and cannot claim welfare benefits. Charitable grants do not have to be paid back.
Energy Advice and Grants
Impartial and independent advice is available to help you access national home energy efficiency grants and schemes and national grants to help you pay your energy bills, such as: -
- Winter Fuel Payments
- Warm Home Discount
- Cold Weather Payments
These can enable you to:
- Reduce your energy bills
- Make your home warmer
- Plan home improvements
- Make your home greener
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