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Cost of Living information

Information for people who may be struggling with the cost of living

This page has lots of information that can help with the current cost of living and fuel costs increase. Click on each section to see more information on that subject.

Cost of living

If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn't cover all your rent, check to see if you can make a claim for a discretionary housing payment.

You might also be able to get some Council tax support or a reduction on your council tax.

The Welfare Support Scheme provides B&NES residents with short-term, emergency help with living costs.

Water bills

You can request help to pay for your water bill:

Bristol Water

Wessex Water

Benefits

Find out what you might be entitled to with the free benefits calculator.

Have a look at the Council's benefit page for information on Housing benefit, Council tax benefit or reductions and other relevant benefits information. 

The Welfare Support Scheme provides B&NES residents with short-term, emergency help with living costs.

Take the quick Clean Slate’s Future Proof Finance Quiz 

Citizens Advice have advisers available to help - call 0808 278 7897 (9.30am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday)

If you are turned down for a benefit, seek advice on whether to challenge the decision. Many benefit decisions are overturned, and organisations like Citizens Advice can offer advice about challenges.

If your benefit award is partially successful, seek advice before challenging as this can lead to awards being reduced as well as increasing or staying the same

Energy costs

The Bath & North East Somerset Energy at Home Scheme aims to help residents improve the energy performance of their homes by providing information on energy related home improvements, financial assistance schemes and signposting to suitable installers and contractors.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol https://www.cse.org.uk/advice  have advisers who cover B&NES and there’s good advice on their website to help reduce fuel bills, access the priority services register and more.

Contact your energy supplier if you are struggling to pay for energy or think you may get into difficulty – if you already have energy debts, some larger suppliers offer grants to help pay this off.

If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, check if you can get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust (0121 348 7797). These grants are available to anyone - you don’t have to be a British Gas customer.

Food

Quids in - Doomsday Cupboard

Managing meals on a limited budget

Find food options

Live Well B&NES hosts details of all the places you can get food support

Healthy Start

If you're at least ten weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old, you might be able to get free vitamins and Healthy Start vouchers for milk, fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk

If you are eligible, you can apply online, call 0300 330 7010 (8.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday) or email healthy.start@nhsbsa.nhs.uk

Free School Meals

If you or your child receive certain benefits,apply for free school meals from Year 3 and above.

Holiday activities and food programme HAF)

If your child is eligible for Free School Meals, they will receive information from their school about the Holiday, Activities and Food programme which runs during school holidays. Find out more on our Holiday, Activities and Food pages.

Debt advice

There are a number of local and national organisations that can help you with debt, have a look on Live Well B&NES for details.

Pension credit

Find out if you’re eligible and how much you could get using the Pension Credit calculator. You can apply online or call 0800 99 1234

An award of Pension Credit can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with housing costs, Council Tax, heating bills and, for those aged 75 or over, a free TV licence

People who have an income or savings may still qualify for Pension Credit

If you are entitled you might also be able to get additional amounts within Pension Credit. For example, if you receive other benefits for a disability or caring responsibilities.

Money and Pensions Service https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en have very comprehensive resources around benefits, debt, budgeting, savings and pensions all in on place.

Childcare costs

You can find details about getting help with the cost of childcare and other related information on our Children and Families section of Live Well B&NES.

Help if you’re experiencing illness or disability

Information about benefits and accessible funding can be found on our Benefits and Funding page.

There are a number of benefits that are not means tested:

The assessment considers the way that your health conditions affect your daily living and mobility needs.

Receiving these benefits may increase entitlement to other benefits such as Pension Credit, Council Tax Support

Seek advice if you are already claiming a disability benefit such as DLA for adults, as your award will stop if you claim PIP instead

If you’re too unwell to work, you may be entitled to New Style Employment and Support Allowance and/or Universal Credit with Limited Capability for Work or Work Related Activity

If you or any member of your household is disabled, you may qualify for a reduction in your Council Tax.

Carers

If you are a carer, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance and/or an extra amount called the ‘carer element’ within Universal Credit

It is recognise that long-term care has a major impact on many people's lives. If this applies to you or someone in your household, you may be able to reduce the amount of Council Tax payable by you, or by the person you care for. Have a look at the Council Tax and long-term care webpage.

Help with prescription and dental treatment charges

If you have a low income, the NHS Low Income Scheme could help you pay for:

  • NHS prescription charges
  • NHS dental treatment charges
  • the cost of sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • the cost of travelling to receive NHS treatment
  • NHS wigs and fabric supports (check with your hospital for their arrangements for supplying NHS wigs)

How much help you get depends on your weekly income and necessary outgoings, plus any savings or investments you have at the time you apply.

Money and Mental Health

Bath Mind have a page dedicated to Money and Mental Health.

You can also find related information on the Mental Health and Money Advice website.