Milton Keynes City Council has recently unveiled its Winter Plan which features extra support to help people through the cost-of-living crisis. This plan includes a telephone helpline offering financial advice and assistance, an online voucher portal and energy performance reviews.
Aside from accepting the City Council’s offer of support mentioned above, I also encourage those who are struggling to consider how else they can unlock extra money and resources through our tips below.
– Check what you’re entitled to. Up to seven million people in the UK are missing out on income-related benefits with £15bn of benefits going unclaimed every year. You can visit www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/benefits to check if you’re eligible for housing benefits or a reduction in Council Tax. In addition, visit www.gov.uk to check your eligibility for Universal Credit, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Pension Credit, and Tax Credits.
– You should also check your bank account to make sure you’ve received national payments including the Winter Fuel Payment (up to £300 for people born on or before September 26, 1955), Cold Weather Payment (£25 payment for people on certain benefits every week of very cold weather between November and March), Warm Home Discount (£140 discount for some people who get Pension Credit or are on a low-income), and the £150 Disability Cost-of-Living Payment (if you’re entitled, you should’ve received it by the end of October).
– Get help with childcare costs. Many people are missing out on free childcare for children aged between two and four, or help with childcare costs if your child is under 16 (or under 17 and has a disability).
– Carer’s Allowance. If you care for someone at least 35 hours a week, and they get certain benefits, you may be entitled to £69.70 in Carer’s Allowance.
– Water bill discount. If you’re on a low income you could get a discount of up to 50% on your water bills by switching tariffs.
– Talk to your energy supplier. Many energy companies offer help schemes and you don’t always need to be their customer. Ask about being put on your suppliers’ Priority Services Register, a free energy support service if you are vulnerable.
To find out more about the support available, Milton Keynes City Council has a factsheet that has all of the tips in one place. It also lists local groups that offer help including emergency food parcels, discounts on food, and free domestic essentials.
Find the factsheet and more information at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/benefits/cost-living-support