As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, making sure that you are getting all of the help you’re entitled to is becoming more important than ever.
Universal Credit is a government-run scheme that helps those on low incomes or who are unable to work with living costs.
For those who are eligible for UC and certain other benefits, there are a number of freebies you could be entitled to.
Here’s a look at what you could get in June 2023.
£150 disability cost of living payment
The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that more than six million people will get a one off payment of £150 paid into their bank accounts between June 20 and July 4.
The payment is to help disabled people with the extra costs they often face, such as for care and mobility needs.
To be eligible for the payment, you must be in receipt of the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Scottish Disability Benefits (Adult Disability Payment and Child Disability Payment)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
Free school meals
If you’re on benefits such as Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit your child may be eligible for free school meals.
To apply visit the government website and type in your postcode.
You will then be directed to your council’s website, where you can apply.
The amount of money you can get varies depending on location, but it will be around £2.50 a day or around £400-£500 a year.
Energy bills grant
A number of energy suppliers can offer energy bills help to struggling households in the form of hardship funds and grants.
These do not need to be paid back and can be worth up to £1,500.
British Gas has a hardship fund that can be used to pay off energy bills in arrears and you don’t even have to be a customer to apply.
Other suppliers offer similar help so its best to check your energy providers website to see what you could get.
Eligibility varies from supplier to supplier.
Free milk, fruit and veg
Thousands of parents on low incomes are entitled to free milk, fruit and vegetables, through the healthy start scheme.
You can get the payments if you are on a variety of benefits, such as Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit,.
You are eligible from when you are 10 weeks pregnant, to when your child turns four and you will receive the money in the form of a prepaid card loaded with up to £442.
The card can be used at all major supermarkets to buy:
- cow’s milk
- fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables
- infant formula milk
- fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
You can apply by filling out the NHS online form.
£300 for school uniforms
People on income support, Universal Credit, JSA, child tax credit, ESA, and pension tax credit are entitled to help with covering the cost of school uniforms.
Those earning less than £16,190 may also be eligible for the help.
You can get up to £300 – depending on where you are.
To apply head to your council’s website and type in ‘uniform grant’ to find out what help is available in your area.
Household support fund
The Household support fund is distributed to your local council so you should get in touch with them to see whether you are eligible and if so, what you could get.
You can find out what council you fall under by using this handy locator tool.
Help is usually offered to households on benefits such as Universal Credit, and comes in the form of either vouchers or cash payments paid directly into your bank.
As an example, Brent Council is paying eligible residents up to £1,000 in cash.
Help to save bonus
With a Help to Save account, anyone on Universal Credit can put away between £1 and £50 a month, and will get a 50% bonus on top.
If you save the maximum amount over four years, you will get £1,200 from the government, topping up your own savings of £2,400.
Not everyone is in a position to save, but of you are it’s worth getting a specific account that offers a generous bonus.
With the Help to Save account, anyone on Universal Credit can put away between £1 and £50 every month and you get a 50% bonus on top.
If you save the maximum amount over four years you can get a sum of £1,200 from the government, topping up your own savings of £2,400.
You can find out more about the scheme here.
Water bill help
The WaterSure scheme caps the bills of those on UC or other benefits who have families with more than three children, or certain medical conditions that require them to use a lot of water.
To qualify for the scheme you need to be on a water meter and to be able to prove that you need to use a lot of water.
Those who are eligible will have bills capped at the average price of water bills in their area.
£500 if you’re pregnant
If you are pregnant you may be eligible for £500 to help towards the cost of having a child through the Sure Start Maternity Grant.
To be eligible, you or your partner must be in receipt of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest loans, in some cases
You will qualify if you are claiming one of the above benefits and are expecting your first child or if you’re expecting twins or triplets and already have kids.
New parents must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or six months after their birth.
You will need to fill out this form – and have it signed by a healthcare professional- to apply.
Free prescriptions and dental
Those on Universal credit are entitled to free prescriptions and dental care.
You just need to show a copy of your Universal Credit award notice when asked to pay for the treatment.
You can find out more about claiming here.
Council tax reduction
Universal Credit and other benefits claimants can get up to a 100% reduction on their council tax bills.
This discount depends on where you live as local councils decide where to allocate them.
You can apply via the government website.
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First appear at Freebies you can get on Universal Credit and benefits in June 2023