Cost of Living: Help and Advice
Many families across Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough will be very worried about the cost of living crisis. Energy bills are already much higher and are set to rise again in October. I have collected information about agencies, organisations and charities who might be able to help you during this difficult time.
Labour has a plan to fix the energy price crisis, you can find out more by visiting the Labour Party website.
- Support with Energy Bills
- Support for Households
- Support for Businesses
- General Support and Advice
- Support for Families
With thanks for information courtesy of Sheffield City Council, Citizens Advice Bureau, StepChange, and Age UK.
Published September 2022.
Support with Energy Bills
If you are struggling to pay your energy bill, you should talk to your supplier as soon as possible. Remember that many call centre workers are likely to be experiencing the same pressures and will be working very hard to talk to as many customers as possible.
- Your energy supplier will have a ‘Priority Services Register‘ which provides support to vulnerable people including those with a mental health condition or children under five. If you are eligible, you should register for this service.
- The Government has published a ‘Simple Energy Advice‘ webpage, including a calculator to provide personalised advice on reducing energy bills.
- Energy Saving Trust has advice on how to save money on your energy bills.
- National Energy Action (NEA) provides one-to-one advice, support and grants for vulnerable and low-income households. They have grants for customers on pre-pay meters and on low-incomes or benefits.
- If you are struggling to pay your water bill, you can find information about support from Yorkshire Water.
Support for Households
- If you are a council or housing association tenant and struggling to pay your rent, you should speak to your housing officer as early as possible. Council tenants may be able to make an arrangement about their debt over a long period of time.
- Private rented tenants struggling to pay or at risk of homelessness should contact Sheffield City Council Housing Solutions Team on 0114 273 6306.
- If you are of pension age, you may be eligible to claim Housing Benefit
- People of pension age may also be able to claim Pension Credit, lots of eligible people are missing out and it could pay to check.
- If you are worrying about paying your rent or mortgage, you can find information on Shelter’s website or via their freephone line (0808 800 4444). You can also contact Shelter’s Sheffield office on 0344 515 1515 or email Sheffield_Hub@shelter.org.uk.
Support for Businesses
There is currently no announcement on support for businesses from central Government. I am working closely with Labour colleagues in Parliament to raise concerns about small and medium sized businesses. As more information becomes available this page will be updated.
- South Yorkshire Community Foundation has set up a Cost of Living fund, this will soo be available to provide grants for organisations such as food banks that are supporting local people with the cost of living crisis.
General Support and Advice
- Sheffield City Council have produced a website called ‘Money Support Guide‘ and ‘Worrying About Money?‘ You can view these online or your GP may have a paper copy with the information on.
- You can access support from Citizens Advice Sheffield, they offer free and independent advice on benefits, debt, housing, and employment rights.
- If you are concerned about a Loan Shark or need confidential support, you can access this or make a report to Stop Loan Sharks team. They a 24-hour telephone helpline (0300 555 2222) and an online chat.
- The Money Helper website which gives advice to people facing financial difficulties.
- Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert website has advice on reducing your spending as costs rise.
- Turn2Us has a Benefit Calculator which you can use to check if you are entitled to benefits.
- StepChange Debt Charity offer free and independent advice on debt, they have a page on coping with the cost of living crisis.
Are you of pension age?
You may be eligible for a payment to help with the cost of living if you are receiving certain benefits or tax credits. If you’re eligible the payment will be automatic. Depending on your circumstances you could get three payments, a Cost of Living Payment (if you get a qualifying low income benefit or tax credits), a Disability Cost of Living Payment (if you’re getting a qualifying disability benefit), a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment (if you’re eligible for Winter Fuel Payments for Winter 2022/23).
If you’re unsure what you’re entitled to please contact Age UK Sheffield’s free Information and Advice Service on 0114 250 2850 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.30pm) or email email@example.com.
Support for Families
There are new rules surrounding school uniform from September, every school must (1) list affordable options on their website, (2) keep branded items to a minimum, and (3) set up sustainable swap shops. If you need help with school uniform, talk to your children’s school.
Expecting a child
If you are expecting a child through birth or adoption, you may be eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Leave and Pay, or Maternity Allowance. To find out more about these, visit Turn2Us’ webpage.
Bringing up a child
There are several benefits that people bringing up a child may be entitled to, including Child Benefit, Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Guardian’s Allowance. You can check your eligibility using the Turn2Us Benefit Calculator.
You could also be entitled to Health Start Food Vouchers if you are at least ten weeks pregnant, or have a child under four and are getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit (if your family’s income is £16,190 or less, but not Working Tax Credits), Universal Credit, or Pension Credit.
You can also search on the Turn2Us Grants Search tool to look for grants you may be eligible for.