Free cash worth up to £4,866 you can get on Universal Credit and benefits as inflation hits 9.4% | The Sun

Free cash worth up to £4,866 you can get on Universal Credit and benefits as inflation hits 9.4% | The Sun

PRICES are rising leaving many struggling to cover the essentials like food shops and bills.

Inflation has hit 9.4% new figures released today show, up from 9.1% last month.

It means the pressure on household finances is set to continue, and those already on tight budgets will be feeling the pinch.

Those on Universal Credit and other benefits could be missing out on extra help – and it could be worth thousands of pounds.

Here we explain what you can get and how to apply if you're struggling to get by in the cost of living crisis.

Council tax discount – £938.63

As one of the biggest bills facing households, getting some relief on council tax could be a big help.

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Nearly three million households are missing out on £2.6billion a year, on average, that's over £900 a year each.

You can apply for a council tax reduction if you're on a low income or claim other benefits.

Depending on your circumstances, you could get your bill reduced by up to 100%, meaning you pay no council tax at all.

Exactly what discount you get depends on factors including where you live, your circumstances (like if you have kids) and your income.

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For instance, if you're the only adult in your household, you automatically get 25% off your bill, but many people get far more.

To apply, enter your postcode into the government website, and then head to your local council to see what's available.

You'll need to apply directly to them the get the discount.

Council tax rebate – £150

The council tax energy rebate will see all households in bands A-D get £150 payment.

Many have got the cash already if they pay by direct debit.If you don't pay your bill this way then you may have to apply.

In some areas vouchers are being sent out – but beware they may have an expiry date on. Here's how to check.

Plus there's extra cash worth £150 you could get if you're not eligible, and sometimes more in some areas.

But you'll need to apply to your local council to get a share of this £144million discretionary fund.

What you get and how you get it depends on where you are so check with your local council.

There may also be deadlines for claiming this cash so it's worth checking now.

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 you don't need to repay the cash.

British Gas has just opened its hardship fund – and you don't have to be a customer to apply.

The cash can be used to pay off energy bill arrears, but you need to get debt advice first to be eligible – find out more about how to apply.

Other suppliers are also offering similar help to their own customers.

Check with yours directly to see what they offer. Eligibility and how much you get can vary between them.

Cost of living payment – £326

Eight million households on means-tested benefits will get a £650 cost of living payment.

The payments will go to those on: Universal Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), income support, Pension Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions will make the payment in two lump sums, These are both tax-free and won't affect your benefits, or count towards the benefit cap.

The first half of the cash has started to be paid from July 14 and most people should get it before July 31.

It comes as a separate payment to your normal benefit amount, and then a second instalment will follow some time in Autumn.

You will need to be on eligible benefits or have begun a successful claim which is later, as of May 25 2022 to get the first payment.

If you have a joint claim with a partner, both of you will get one payment of £650.

Anyone on working tax credit and child tax credit is also eligible but you'll get the cash at later dates.

Further cost of living payments are coming too – but not in July.

Every household in the UK will be given £400 to help cover spiralling energy bills in Autumn, which are set to rise by hundreds of pounds more this winter.

Pensioners will get an extra £300 one-off payment during the coldest months, and six million people with disabilities will receive £150 in September.

Cash grants for essentials – as much as £210

The Household Support Fund helps families with the rising cost of living.

This could include cash grants to pay bills or cover food costs – the help will depend on where you live.

Each area is giving out the cash in different ways. For instance we found six places giving out up to £210 in supermarket vouchers.

To find out what support is available in your area, contact your local council.

There are around 8,000 charities and organisations in the UK that offer cash to help struggling families.

Turn2Us has a free grants search tool so you can find out what help is available to you.

Free school meals – up to £500 a year

If you're claiming certain benefits including Universal Credit, JSA and Child Tax Credit then your child might be entitled to free school meals.

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

Simply click here and type in your postcode to be redirected to your local council's website and apply.

The exact amount you'll get depends on where you are, but ranges from around £2.15 to £2.50 per day, or around £400-£500 each school year.

Over the school holidays many councils are giving out cash to help parents during the break – check out our guide.

Free milk, fruit and veg – up to £442

The Healthy Start scheme offers thousands of parents on low incomes help to feed their kids.

You get a prepaid card and payments worth up to £442 a year for those claiming certain benefits.

You can start getting the cash from 10 weeks pregnant up to when the child turns four.

The card can be used at major supermarkets and shops to but the following:

  • cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables
  • infant formula milk
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses

Check out how to apply for the Healthy Start scheme in our guide.

Free £200 for school uniforms

It's not just food costs that can add up quickly if you have kids.

You can get a grant of up top £200 to help cover the cost of school uniforms for the year ahead, depending on where you are.

As a general rule, those on income support, Universal Credit, JSA, child tax credit, ESA, and pension tax credit are entitled to support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

You may also be eligible if your annual income is less than £16,190.

To apply enter your postcode on the Gov.uk website, which will direct you to your council's website where you should search for “uniform grant” to find out what help is available in your area.

Water bill help – as much as £600

Some water companies offer bill help if you're on a low income, or debt write-off schemes if you're in arrears.

What you can get depends on your water company so you'll need to contact them directly.

For instance one woman on Universal Credit slashed her bill by £600 a year thanks to a fund from Severn Trent water.

Many water companies also offer free water-saving devices that shave pounds off your bills.

Contact your supplier. Freebies include shower timers and buffalo bags, which save water with every flush. Check out savewatersavemoney.co.uk.

Large families on Universal Credit or other benefits may be eligible for a cap on their bills under the WaterSure scheme.

To qualify for the scheme you need to already have a water meter installed, and prove you need to use a lot of water.

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You also need to have three or more children under the age of 19 living in the house, and receive child benefit for them.

You can find out more about the scheme in our guide.

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