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Cost of living crisis - what help is available?

There are a number of different ways you may be able to access assistance and financial help if you are struggling financially due to the cost of living crisis. Here are some ways that might help:

Maximise your benefit income

Given the impact of the current cost of living crisis, we want to make sure that blind and partially sighted people claim what they are entitled to, along with accessing all other support that is available.

Some of the things you can do to ensure you are maximising your income are:

Carry out a benefit calculation

RNIB’s benefit calculator can help you check whether you may be able to claim additional or increased benefits. It may be that a claim for Universal Credit be beneficial for you, though this is not always the case and we recommend seeking advice before making this move. The calculator can be accessed here.

Tax Credits

Tax Credits are currently being replaced by Universal Credit, a process expected to be completed in 2025. However, people currently in receipt of working tax credit can still make a new claim for child tax credit and vice versa without having to claim Universal Credit, so don’t miss out if this applies to you.

Renegotiate the rate of debt repayments that are taken from your benefits

If you are struggling with the level of a debt repayment being taken from your Universal Credit, you can ask for a financial hardship decision to reduce the amount of benefit debt you pay by calling the debt management team on 0800 916 0647.

Check your tax code

If you are a taxpayer, check you have the correct tax code applied and are taking advantage of the marriage tax allowance and/or blind persons tax allowance.

Access local support

In the Spring budget statement, the chancellor announced that the Government will be providing a further £500 million to the Household Support Fund in England, which will continue to operate for a further six months until the end of September 2024. ,

If you are struggling to afford such things as food, utilities or clothing, we recommend you make an application with your local council as soon as possible, while the fund is still in existence.

Your local authority may have other schemes available too, such as the Discretionary Assistance Fund and the Emergency Assistance Payment which are available for people living in Wales.

Check your energy supplier is part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme

This scheme operates a rebate system that's given out once a year to people who need extra support to pay their energy bills. This scheme provides automatic assistance for people receiving Pension Credit but can also help people receiving certain other benefits.

You can find out more about this scheme and whether your supplier has signed up to it at

Check for possible help with bills from utilities providers

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills we recommend you approach your utility providers to ask what assistance of this nature they may be able to provide. Many providers have schemes that will help people who are vulnerable and find themselves in difficult financial situations.

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

If the amount of housing benefit or housing element of Universal Credit you receive does not cover the full cost of your should check with your council to see if you are eligible for a DHP. They will decide whether to give you a DHP, how much you will be paid and for how long.

Check if you are being overcharged for your care

If you are contributing towards social care at home funded through your local authority (including via direct payments), you may wish to check whether you are being charged the correct amount for this.

Broadband Social Tariff

The scheme, which is now supported by many broadband providers offers and promotes social tariffs, discounted broadband and mobile deals for people on Universal Credit and other benefits. You can visit Ofcom for more information on social tariffs.

Make sure you have received your financial support payments from the government

The final cost of living payments for 2023, provided by the government, have now been made for those in receipt of means-tested benefits and tax credits during the qualifying period in late 2023. This payment should have been made for those eligible by 22 February 2023. If you have not received this yet and think you are due a payment, you should contact the DWP Department for the benefit you are receiving.

Debt Relief Orders

A debt relief order (DRO) is one way to deal with debts if the person:

owes £30,000 or less, doesn’t own their own home, other assets or things of value or much spare income. Any customers considering accessing a DRO should seek advice from a debt specialist adviser.

Further information and advice can be found in our factsheet:

Here is a link to the government’s webpage providing more information on what help is available for people during the cost of living crises: