Help for those on a low income is available and there is always hope if you are having financial difficulties. However, systems can be challenging to navigate especially when you are already feeling stressed about your financial plight.
I thought I would list things that are well worth investigating when the wolf is at the door and you are feeling stressed.
Help with rent
Rents can be very high and housing costs are often the biggest expenditure item for individuals and families. If you are renting whether on benefits or working, check if you are entitled to Housing Benefit to cover all or part of your rental costs. The roll-out of Universal Credit will see housing costs covered in a different way so check out information on that too.
Help with council tax
Council tax can be another big strain on finances. Depending on where you live Council Tax Reduction may be available giving a discount depending on your individual circumstances.
There are quite a number of circumstances that make you eligible for free prescriptions and help with other health costs. The basic message is if you have health costs, it is always worth finding out if you can get some help towards them.
Free school meals
All pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools are eligible for free school meals. If you are on certain welfare benefits, you may also be able to obtain free school meals for your children.
Social Fund and grants
If you are on certain benefits, you may be able to get help towards expenditure such as clothing or a washing machine via a budgeting loan. This is interest free so you only pay back what you borrow normally within a 2 year period.
You would be amazed how many organisations offer grants to those in need. The Turn2Us website helps you search for the ones that apply to your particular situation.
There are lots of food banks so check online to find one near where you live. You can go to some without a referral but sometimes you need to be sent by someone like a GP, charity, advice agency or social worker.
When money is tight it is vital to view your options and to seek good advice from someone like the Citizens Advice Bureau Service.
Do you know of any good help for those on a low income?