If you are impacted by the increased costs of living and energy prices in particular, 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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If you are struggling financially, have a pre-payment meter, have less than £4 on it, and not due a payment for a while, you can seek help.
You can phone your utility company and ask for a fuel voucher - worth £49 – which you can apply for twice a year and does not have to be repaid.
A PIN number is sent to your mobile phone. You show this at your top-up shop, along with your gas card or electricity key.
Energy Rebate Scheme bills rebate
If you pay your Council Tax by direct debit and live in a band A-D property, you will automatically receive a £150 council tax rebate in May.
This rebate is specifically to help with the rising energy costs and does not go against your Council Tax account balance. We will be processing Council Tax payments for April instalments before paying out the £150 rebate in May.
Taking the April instalment for Council Tax first, ensures we hold the correct bank details for those that pay by direct debit and that the account belongs to a liable party named on the Council Tax account.
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.
Please be aware that we will not be calling residents asking for their payment details for this rebate. Information on how to protect yourself against scam calls, or report a suspected scam, can be found at www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/phishing-scams/report-scam-call
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.