Cost of living: Finance expert shares budgeting tips on GMB
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Nearly six million Britons depend on Universal Credit yet some 1.3 million people aren’t claiming payments they are entitled to, according to data from the New Economics Foundation. They could be missing out on thousands of pounds in benefit payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) plus up to 30 additional freebies that could mean even bigger savings.
There has never been a more important time to check entitlement to benefits as Britons on Universal Credit and other means-tested benefits could get hundreds of pounds towards energy bills this winter
In addition, claimants may also be entitled to other discounts and up to £10,000 to pay for a new boiler or home insulation.
Some things that people qualify include may also qualify for free prescriptions if they are on a low income or certain benefits depending on their circumstances.
People usually qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if they are out of work or on a low income.
If someone isn’t eligible for Universal Credit they may be entitled to other means-tested benefits like PIP (Personal Independence Payment) if they have an illness or disability that affects their everyday lives.
To check benefits eligibility people can go onto the Government website where there is a handy benefits calculator or speak to someone at Citizen’s Advice.
One woman shared how she is now receiving an extra £5,000 a year after following Martin Lewis’ advice to check for Universal Credit entitlement.
MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis urged anyone who is paid £40,000 or less to check their benefits entitlement on his ITV Money Show earlier this week.
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He reminded viewers that seven milion people are missing out on financial help from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and that benefits aren’t just for people out of work.
Martin said: “My rule of thumb on this is if you have family income under £40,000 check benefits eligibility.
“I am not – to repeat – saying you will get it – I am saying it is definitely worth 10 minutes of your time to go onto an online benefits calculator – there are a good few of them out there – to see if you’re due.”
All means-tested benefits will be uprated inline with September’s inflation figure of 10.1 percent next April.
It doesn’t need to be paid back all at once and payments can be spread over 24 months.
Existing claimants might be able to get a budgeting advance to help with emergency household costs, getting a job or funeral costs.
Universal Credit claimants might be able to get:
- Reduced council tax bills
- Capped water bills
- Half price bus
- Discounted rail fares
- Free or discounted gym membership
- Help with new job costs
- Warm Home Discount Scheme of £140 off fuel bills
- £25 in Cold Weather Payments
- Free or cheap broadband from TalkTalk, Virgin Media and BT
- Cheap BT phone calls
- Free prescriptions for people with zero income or those on a low income
- Free dental treatment
- Eye tests and discounted glasses
- Free school transport
- Free school meals
- Discounted childcare costs
- £150 towards school uniforms – dependent on the local authority
- £1,200 free cash as part of the Government’s Help to Save scheme
- Food vouchers for kids as part of the Healthy Start scheme
- Maternity grant up to £1,000
- Disabled Facilities Grant (up to £30,000) to make changes to a home
- 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
- Free health travel costs
- Help with housing costs
- Help with funeral costs
- Bereavement support payments
- Reduced court fees.
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