Cost of Living Support

The cost of living crisis is impacting nearly every household in some way, and for many, it is causing great hardship.

Household energy bills are expected to rise to between £2,800 and £3,300 a year in October when the latest energy price cap comes into play. The government has pledged a variety of support to alleviate the pressure on household finances, but trying to make sense of the support available can be quite a challenge. Here is a helpful guide to know whether you may be entitled to support and how you can access it.

Every household will receive a one-off £400 energy rebate in October 2022. This will be paid automatically by a reduction in your household energy bill. If you use a prepayment meter, the £400 will be applied to your meter or you will be given a voucher.

Households in council tax bands A to D will receive a £150 council tax rebate which is in the process of being paid into bank accounts. If you have not received this by the end of July you should check with Cherwell District Council.

If you are on low income, a pensioner or receiving disability benefits there is more help for you as follows;

A £650 one-off payment will be made to low-income households who are in receipt of universal credit, tax credits, pension credit, or legacy benefits. The payments will be made directly into bank accounts in two tax-free instalments, the first will be in July and the second in the autumn.

All pensioner households who receive the Winter Fuel Payment will receive an extra £300 which will be paid in November or December. If you don’t already receive the Winter Fuel Payment it is worth checking if you are entitled to it either on the gov.uk website.

Individuals receiving disability benefits will get a one-off payment of £150. To be eligible, people must be in receipt of one of the following benefits: Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance or War Pension Mobility Supplement. This payment is expected in September and will be made automatically, so you do not need to apply for it.

The most recent tranche of the Household Support Fund for April to September 2022 has been made available. Unfortunately the fund for working age people in Cherwell is already spent, but there is still funding available to people of pensionable age who live in Cherwell. This is a limited pot which will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so act quickly to avoid losing out. To access this support either call us on 0300 303 0993 or email hsf@cano.org.uk. and leave your name and a contact number so our advisers can call you to make arrangements.

The income from these cost of living support measures will not count towards the benefit cap and will not need to be repaid.

However, with inflation expected to hit over 10% later this year, many households will still be struggling with costs of food, fuel, rent and energy despite this support. If you are struggling with bills, it’s important to contact Citizens Advice for help as soon as possible. You can do this by going online to www.canosn.org.uk or calling us on our free number 0808 278 7906. If you are already in debt call 0800 240 4420 to speak to a debt adviser.

We know that times are incredibly tough but please remember, you don’t have to face this alone. A relieved client sent us this wonderful feedback

“Just to say a very big THANK YOU to the lovely adviser for all the help you gave me on 4th July. It was so lovely to know that help was at hand. You were very helpful and very kind. I feel so much better. Thank you, thank you so much”.

The demand for advice has doubled at a point when funding for advice charities is under extreme pressure. We are finding it difficult to secure funding to continue to provide the same level of advice service, let alone increase the capacity to meet the growing need caused by the cost of living crisis.

There is a fine line between swimming and drowning. Having free specialist advice when you need it most is a lifeline for so many people who fall on hard times. This is why we now need your help. If you would like to support us you can do this by making a donation directly on our website www.canosn.org.uk. Every £1 you donate could help a family or a pensioner who cannot afford food or heating this winter. Alternatively, if you want to do fun things to raise money for this worthwhile cause by participating in fundraising events then please contact our community fundraiser Steve Kingsford. You can email steve.kingsford@cano.org.uk or call him on 01869 943920. Together we can ensure that no one in our community is left behind.

If you need advice then contact Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire on our free phone number 0808 278 7906 or pop into one of our advice hubs or offices.
Details can be found on our website www.canosn.org.uk where you can also make a donation to support the work we do.