If you are impacted by the increased costs of living, the following support is available.
This includes support from central government, the councils and our partners.
If you are at risk of eviction or being cut-off from by your energy supplier please access the help available as soon as possible.
Please check your eligibility before applying for support.
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- From 23 November eligible pensioners will start to receive payments of up to £600 Winter Fuel Payments (WFPs).The vast majority of these will be paid direction into bank accounts automatically over the next two months. Some people need to make a claim by contacting the Department for Work and Pensions, such as those who qualify but do not receive benefits or the State Pension and have never previously received a WFP.
- Tuesday 8 November: households receiving benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will receive the second part of the cost-of-living payment - £324 from today. continuing through to the 23 November. Eligible customers who receive tax credits and no other eligible benefits from DWP will receive their payment from HM Revenue and Customs between 23 and 30 November 2022.
- Wednesday 2 November: the deadline for applications to the Energy Rebate Scheme payment of £150 has been extended to 30 November 2022. See below for more information.
- Monday 10 October 2022: the latest round of Household Support Fund grants are now open for applications.
- The Lewes District 'safety net' fund is now open for applications. Eligible residents will only need to apply once for this payment alongside their Household Support Fund payment. More information is available below.
These are safe, non-judgemental spaces where you can: sit and be warm, study or work on your laptop (with access to Wi-fi), have a hot drink, be with company, access advice or information on things such as debt, bills, benefits and food.
Warm Spaces Directory
Cost of living support on GOV.UK
You can find out about many forms of support on the government website: costoflivingsupport.campaign.gov.uk
Anyone in financial difficulty can access money and debt guidance for free via Money Helper UK: moneyhelper.org.uk
Household Support Grants
Does your household need extra financial support? If you’re finding it difficult to keep warm, buy enough food or pay essential bills, you may be able to get extra help. The latest round of Household Support Fund grants are now open for applications.
Lewes District Council ‘safety net’ fund
Lewes District Council is offering funds to residents on a low income who will miss out on the government’s £650 cost-of-living payments.
Our ‘safety net’ payment is available to eligible residents in Lewes district who are struggling to keep warm, buy enough food or pay essential bills.
To qualify you must currently receive housing benefit or council tax reduction but not one of the means-tested benefits that would qualify you for a cost-of-living payment from the government. Alternatively you can claim if you do not receive a means-tested benefit but you have a low household income, as set out in the eligibility framework.
Details of who can claim are available at Lewes District safety net fund eligibility framework
The safety net award is a one-off payment of £400, that will be paid alongside the latest Household Support Fund payment of £250 which opened for applications in October 2022. You only need to apply once to receive a payment of £650.
The funding is limited and will be paid out on a first come, first served basis.
Apply via our grants portal: grantapproval.co.uk
Pensioners are the age group least likely to be claiming all the financial help available to them, including Pension Credit. This can provide thousands of pounds in extra help each year. Check if you can claim at gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim
Emergency fuel vouchers are available for qualifying households in Sussex.
Referrals for the vouchers are available with a referral from Citizens Advice in Lewes district and Eastbourne. You can find their contact details online or by calling 03444 111 444.
The vouchers (£28 for a single person and £49 for a family) are for vulnerable residents (ie. due to age or a health condition) on limited incomes or means-tested benefits and facing difficult financial circumstances and with a pre-payment meter.
Warm home check service
East Sussex County Council provide a warm home check service which is available all year round. It offers advice and support to anyone who struggles to keep warm at home.
The service includes:
- advice on getting help to pay for heating
- an assessment of your home to identify how to keep warm
- small works such as improving insulation or repairing boilers
- emergency temporary heating
For more information about the service and to check eligibility, visit East Sussex County Council - Keep warm and well
Warm Home Discount scheme
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy will be reopening of the Warm Home Discount scheme. The scheme provides a discount of £150 off, with most households receiving the discount automatically.
All customers will receive a letter between this month November 2023 and mid-January 2023 confirming their eligibility and the payment will be made automatically through energy suppliers by March 2023.
Check if you could be eligible for the scheme by visiting: www.gov.uk - Check if you are eligible for warm home discount
Energy Rebate Scheme bills rebate
If you pay your Council Tax by direct debit and live in a band A-D property, you should have automatically received a £150 council tax rebate in May 2022.
This rebate is specifically to help with the rising energy costs and does not go against your Council Tax account balance.
You will not need to repay this rebate. If you pay in another way, you will need to make a claim for a rebate – we have now begun to write out to residents advising on how this claim can be made. The deadline to claim is Wednesday 30 November 2022.
For more information visit:
Help if you are at risk of your power being cut off
Citizens Advice have set up an Extra Help Unit for people who are vulnerable or at at risk of being disconnected by their energy provider. They can help raise complaints with your energy provider - ehu.org.uk
Loans and grants to maintain your home
There are a number of loan and grant schemes available to help home owners maintain their homes. This includes the Disabled Facilities Grant, home improvement loans and grants to repair your heating.
Citizens Advice - other grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills
Citizens Advice have information about other grants and benefits to help pay your energy bill. This includes Winter fuel payment, Warm Home Discount, Grants to help pay off your energy debts and Cold Weather Payments.
Advice on reducing energy use at home
The Energy Saving Trust offer help to save money on bills at the same time as reducing your carbon footprint.
The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charity set up to support families and individuals facing financial hardship and energy debt. You do not need to be a British Gas customer to access help.
Help with water bills
Southern Water has set up a Customer Hardship Fund to help their customers in financial difficulty to reduce their water your bills or write-off debt.
There are three different types of support available:
- Up to 50% one-year bill reduction for customers hit temporarily by hard times
- Debt write-off of up to £2,000 for customers who have managed to get back on track with payments but will never be able to repay their debt
- A grant of up to £1,000 to make improvements to a customer’s home
To find out more including who is eligible for help visit:
Phone Southern Water on 0330 303 0368.
Help if you are struggling to afford food
If you are finding you can't afford food there is a range of support available through local authority and community services.
Help if you are struggling to pay your Council Tax or need to claim Housing Benefit
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to claim Housing Benefit or a reduction on your Council Tax.
Exceptional hardship payments
The exceptional hardship payment fund has been set up to support our most vulnerable customers who have seen a reduction in the Government support which helped to pay their Council Tax liability or are suffering financial hardship due to unforeseen circumstances. Find out more at:
Help if you might get evicted
Discretionary housing payments (DHPs) help those who are in receipt of housing benefits or the Housing Element of Universal Credit (UC) to meet the cost of their rent. This is normally awarded where there is a shortfall between the eligible rent and housing benefit or UC. Find out more at:
Help with money and debt
If you are struggling with managing your money, debt or the causes of debt, there are several organisations that can help guide you.
Cost of Living Crisis Funds - funding for voluntary and community groups
These funds have now closed. We set up a crisis fund for Lewes district and for Eastbourne through which community and voluntary sector organisations could apply for grants to provide support for residents struggling with the cost of living crisis.
Be Aware of Scams
Unfortunately, scammers are using the cost-of-living crisis to take advantage of those in need.
Anyone can be a victim irrespective of age, education or income and this can have a devastating impact.
Advice on how to spot and report scams:
Please help spread the word to others about scam awareness to keep vulnerable people in our community safe.