Anyone can fall into financial difficulty, but government help is available if you’re entitled to it
Help with your rent
If you’re on a low income and have less than approximately £16,000 of savings, you can apply for Housing Benefit. The amount you receive depends on if you rent privately or from a council, your income, whether you have a spare bedroom, or share your home with children or someone who is disabled. If eligible, Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent.
Reducing your council tax
Council tax is calculated based on the value of the property you live in, and the assumption that two adults use the property as their main home. Low income families may get a reduction of up to 100%. This is based on criteria set by local authorities and differs across the country, so check on your local authority’s website.
Living alone, or with someone who doesn’t count as a second resident, can provide you with a 25% single person’s discount. People who don’t count as a second resident include apprentices studying for a recognised qualification, anyone under 25 years in approved training, full-time students, student nurses, carers, and people who are severely mentally impaired.
Benefits for carers
If you’re caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week and they receive certain benefits, you may be entitled to a weekly £67.25 Carer’s Allowance (2020/21 tax year). This allowance automatically gives you National Insurance credits, which count towards your state pension.
Assistance with unexpected costs
If your cooker or washing machine breaks down tomorrow, could you buy a new one? If you’ve been on income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Pension Credit, for six months or more, you could get a Budgeting Loan. You can borrow between £100 and £348 if single, up to £464 if you have a partner and up to £812 if you or your partner claim Child Benefit. The amount you can borrow depends on whether you can repay the loan, have savings, or already have a Budgeting or Crisis Loan.
More on managing your finances
How to boost your pension pot
It can be hard to save enough for retirement when you're buying a home and raising a family, but it’s never too late to give your pension pot a boost.
Getting your children to save
They may not thank you for it now, but one of the best things you can give your children is good financial know-how.
Prioritising your debts
Whether it’s your mortgage or paying off a credit card, debts can make you feel like burying your head in the sand. But prioritising can help you to manage what and how much you owe.
What type of cover is best for you?
Life insurance can help to protect you and your family should the unthinkable happen. But are you clued up when it comes to the type of cover you need?
Why is making a will important?
If you don’t make plans on how you want to distribute your wealth once you’re gone, you may leave a host of problems behind.
Are you paying too much tax?
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