If you’re struggling with the cost of living, advice and support is available. Find out what support you can get, including housing costs, bills, food, help for children and families, and health and wellbeing.
The government has put a range of support measures in place to help people deal with the increasing rises in the cost of goods and energy. The measures include help with income support, energy bills, childcare, and more.
You can find out more on the government’s Help for Households website.
The government has given money to councils across England. The support will be given to vulnerable households and families with children who don’t get other types of financial help. This is called the Household Support Fund.
We have been given £521,000 of Household Support funding. The support will be given out by the council and partner organisations, by 31 March 2024. It will help pay for food, energy, water and other household essentials.
There are strict eligibility criteria in place and the money has already been allocated to residents who qualify.
We have used some of the fund to help households who were not eligible for this year’s Cost of Living Payment or the Disability Cost of Living Payment from the Department of Work and Pensions. We contacted households that were eligible and invited them to apply online for the £150 one-off payment. The online application has now closed. We would have contacted you if you are on a low income and only receive:-
- Council Tax Support
- Housing Benefit
- New Style and Contribution Based Employment & Support Allowance
- New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance
You did not qualify for this part of the fund if you receive any of the following benefits:-
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) This does not include New Style JSA
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) This does not include New Style ESA or Contribution based ESA
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
Kent County Council’s Summer Voucher Scheme has now closed. They will be offering a Household Support Fund Winter Scheme later in 2023. We will include information on how to apply for the fund once applications are open.Permalink
If you need food or other everyday items but are struggling to afford them, your local food bank might be able to help. They’re run on an individual basis so it’s worth contacting them in advance to find out how they operate. Find your nearest food bank here
Too Good to Go is an app that offers leftover food at a discount price from restaurants and cafes that would otherwise be thrown away.
OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown awayPermalink
You can find information on housing in Thanet here.
If you’re homeless or at risk of being homeless we can give you help or advice. You need to complete a quick online assessment first.
You should speak to your landlord or mortgage lender first if you can’t pay your housing costs. If you’re a council tenant you should contact our housing team.
You might be able to get housing benefit if you’re on a low income. Complete our online benefits calculator to find out more.
If you’re claiming housing benefit or Universal Credit and need more help with housing costs, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). This is a one-off payment for help with rent or a rent deposit.
GOV.UK has advice on help towards mortgage interest payments which you might be eligible for if you’re receiving a qualifying benefit.Permalink
Free school meals
If you have a child under 19 in full-time education and you get certain benefits – like Universal Credit or income support – you may be eligible for free school meals. If your child is in reception, year 1 or year 2, you’ll get free school meals automatically – you don’t need to be getting a benefit. Find out more
There are a few Children’s Centres in the district. You can find your nearest Children’s Centre on Kent County Council’s website.
Babies and toddlers
If you’re expecting a baby you could get a maternity grant from Sure Start to help towards costs.
The Healthy Start Scheme offers help for milk and healthy foods for people who are 10 or more weeks pregnant or with children under the age of four.
Tax-Free childcare is a scheme where you can get up to £500 per child, every three months, to help with the cost of childcare.
The government’s Childcare Support website provides information on help that is available for childcare costs. In April 2024, changes are coming to 15 and 30 hours childcare support in England. You can sign up to receive more information on the changes, as well as how and when to register for support with childcare costs.
Family Fund offers support for essential items for families with disabled children.Permalink
Cost of living payments
If you’re getting a means tested benefit – like Universal Credit for example – you’ll get a cost of living payment of £650 this year. It’s split into two instalments, one in the summer and one in teh autumn. You don’t need to apply for it, it will be paid automatically.
If you get certain disability benefits – like Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment – you will get an extra £150 on top of the £650 payment. Read more about the cost of living payment
You could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. This will be paid automatically. If you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2022 to 2023, you will get an extra £150 or £300 paid with your normal payment from November 2022. Read more about the winter fuel payment
Ofgem is the independent energy regulator, working to protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people. They have advice on switching energy suppliers. Ofgem – advice on switching
National Energy Action, the fuel poverty charity, campaigns so everyone can afford to live in a warm and safe home. They have advice on what to do if you are struggling with your energy bills. NEA – energy bills advice
Energy Bills Support Schemes (EBSS)
Find out about the Energy Support Schemes and Alternative funding.
Learn more about Southern Water’s extra help and support available.
If you are having difficulties paying your water bill, you can contact Southern Water’s affordability team on 0800 027 0800 or email: hereTohelp@southernwater.co.uk You could be entitled to one of their payment schemes.
You can also apply to join the Priority Services Register if you have additional needs they ought to be aware of.
Mobile phones, Phones and Broadband
Ofcom has advice on how you could get cheaper phone and broadband bills by switching tariffs.
Various broadband providers have cheaper tariffs to support households on low income or in financial hardship. They’re called social tariffs. Learn more about them.Permalink
Help managing your money
You can use the Citizens Advice budgeting tool to work out what you’re earning and spending.
MoneyHelper is a free service provided by the Money and Pensions Service. It has lots of advice on things like pensions, everyday money and family money.
Help with benefits
Use our benefits calculator to find out what support you might be entitled to. The calculator is free to use, and the details you provide are anonymous.
Pension Credit is the government benefit that gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income. Pension Credit is separate to the State Pension, and you may still be eligible if you own your own home or have savings.
People who are eligible for Pension Credit can also get other financial help such as with heating costs, housing benefit and a free TV licence for over 75s.
If you are eligible, you may be able to claim around £3,500 a year. This could make a real difference and it could also entitle you to Cost of Living Payments.
Find out more here.
Kent County Council has an emergency welfare scheme for people that urgently need help with bills and other household costs.
Step Change provides the UK’s most comprehensive debt advice service. You can get free and impartial advice, and if needed help to set up a debt solution and support for as long as needed.