Help available if you are struggling to pay your bills

Check your benefit entitlements

Make sure you’re not missing out on valuable benefit income you are entitled to. You might be able to claim benefits or increase your current benefits if you’re:

  • of working age and on a low income
  • sick or disabled
  • of State Pension age and on a low income
  • a carer
  • responsible for children

You can use an online benefit calculator to check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to – it only takes 10 minutes.  If you don’t have internet access or need some extra help, our advisers can carry out a benefit check for you.

Energy Bills Support Scheme

The government will give every household in Great Britain £400 off their electricity bill. This is called the Energy Bills Support Scheme. You don’t need to do anything to get the money and you won’t have to pay it back.

You’ll get the £400 in 6 instalments starting from October 2022. You’ll get:

  • £66 in October and November
  • £67 in December, January, February and March

If you have an electricity meter and pay your bills every month or quarterly, your supplier will automatically take the amounts off your energy bill each month. If you have a prepayment meter, your supplier will confirm how you’ll get the £400 closer to October 2022. They’ll either automatically add the instalments to your energy meter or give you the instalments as vouchers by email, text or post.

Cost of Living Payment

If you get benefits based on your income, the government will give you a £326 Cost of Living Payment. If you get Working or Child Tax Credit, you’ll get your Cost of Living Payment in autumn 2022. If you get another benefit, you’ll get your Cost of Living Payment on or after 14 July 2022. You’ll only get 1 Cost of Living Payment – even if you’re claiming more than 1 benefit.

To get this payment you must have either:

  • been getting a benefit payment on or between 26 April 2022 and 25 May 2022 – it doesn’t matter if it gets paid to someone else, like your landlord
  • started a successful benefit claim by 25 May 2022 – or by 26 April 2022 if you’re applying for Universal Credit

The government have said they’ll send a second Cost of Living Payment in 2022. If you get Working or Child Tax Credit, you’ll get your second payment in winter. If you get other benefits, you’ll get your second payment in autumn.

If you’re not currently claiming any benefits, you should check if you can claim right away. It’s worth starting a claim as soon as possible if you’re eligible – this means you might be able to get the second Cost of Living Payment.

Help from the District Council

Uttlesford households in Council Tax bands A-D will receive a £150 rebate in their council tax bill this year to help with the rising cost of living.  This does not have to be repaid.  Payment will be made directly by UDC – how you will be paid depends on how you pay your bill. Go to the UDC website or call 01799 510510 for more information.

A separate discretionary fund is also available for people who do not pay Council Tax, whose homes are in brackets E-H or where households have suffered a recent change that has led to financial hardship. You can check eligibility and make an application on the UDC website. These schemes are separate to the Exceptional Hardship Fund for help towards Council Tax bills.

Warm Home Discount

There are some changes to the Warm Home Discount Scheme this year. The new process will identify households with high fuel costs and match the addresses to low-income households, who receive certain benefits – you no longer need to apply as the rebate will be paid automatically by suppliers. You should receive the money by March 2023. If you have previously received the grant and are concerned that you may miss out this year, please contact us.

If you have a disability

If you were receiving a disability benefit on 25th May 2022, the government will automatically give you an additional £150 to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport.  The majority of these payments will be made within two weeks of 20th September 2022. If your entitlement to a disability benefit has not yet been determined, you will still receive the payment automatically, assuming your disability benefit is awarded for a period including 25 May 2022.

Winter Fuel Payment

If you’re over State Pension age and get Winter Fuel Payments, you’ll automatically get an extra £300 with your usual Winter Fuel Payment in either November or December.

You can find more information about these extra payments at

Other sources of help

If you cannot pay your energy and water bills, food or afford essential items – for example, clothes or an oven or need help with health costs, school costs or essential travel if you’re looking for work, there is other support available.  Please contact us for more information or visit You can also whether you could get help from local and national charities at

If you are already in debt

If you owe money and you’re struggling to pay, speak to the organisations you owe money to – they might let you pay smaller amounts or take a break from payments. Don’t ignore bills or letters about money you owe. Our specialist debt team can provide confidential help and support to manage problem debt.  Our service is completely free, so please get in touch.

Looking after yourself

If you’re finding things difficult, remember your mental health is as important as your physical health. You should talk to your GP if your money problems are affecting your mental health. Or go to for information and to self-refer to a wide variety of local health and wellbeing support groups.