The information on this page will help direct you to government support, either through the cost of living payments or Council Tax discount schemes, housing benefit, childcare costs or other benefits you could be eligible for.
There are also local charitable support groups throughout East Cambridgeshire offering help to local residents.
Cost of Living Support Fund
The Council operates a hardship fund to assist eligible residents, identified as vulnerable, with medical conditions, elderly, or those with dependent children, who are experiencing extreme financial hardship. The fund provides assistance for emergencies, such as helping with utility bills and providing food.
The fund works in partnership with other grants, and recipients can also make use of the budget and debt management assistance from the community advice team, to help identify other support they may be eligible for. People requesting assistance from the fund will need to evidence their claim by providing a recent bank statement.
For advice on accessing the hardship fund either call us on 01353 665555, or call into our weekly drop-in sessions at the Council offices, Monday to Friday 10:00am to 4:00pm.
In January 2023 the government announced when further Cost of Living Payments will be made between spring 2023 and spring 2024. These payments are:
- up to £900 for people on an eligible low income benefit
- £300 for pensioner households
- £150 for people on an eligible disability benefit
Cost of living payments made during summer and autumn of 2022 included:
- a one-off £650 cost of living payment to low-income households on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits;
- a separate one-off payment of £300 to pensioner households;
- a £150 payment to individuals receiving disability benefits who are eligible.
The cost of living support fact-sheet 26 May 2022 provides more detail.
People on low incomes may be eligible for Council Tax support to reduce the amount of Council Tax you owe. Other Council Tax reductions are available, such as the Single Person Discount.
If you are of working age and on a low income, you may be able to receive help with the cost of rent by applying for Universal Credit. If you already receive Universal Credit, help with rent should already be included in your Universal Credit payment.
People who are pension age or on a low income may be entitled to Housing Benefit. This benefit is available to both social and private renters.
If you are already receiving Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and this does not cover the full cost of your rent, you can apply for additional help with rent.
Check the government's income support pages for more ideas, including claiming Marriage Allowance, eligibility for Carer's Allowance, Pension Credit and help if you cannot pay your Tax bill.
Information on benefits for adults and older people is available on Cambridgeshire County Council's website.
The government's benefits calculator is a useful tool to check what benefits you may be entitled to.
You may be eligible for a Budgeting Loan if you have been on certain benefits for six months. You have to pay back the amount you borrow and repayments are taken automatically from your benefits.
If you are receiving Universal Credit you cannot get a budgeting loan, but you may be able to get a loan as part of your Universal Credit if you need to cover a specific expense - this is called a Budgeting Advance.
Visit the government's childcare webpage for information on tax-free childcare, 30 hours free childcare, 15 hours free childcare, Child Benefit, and a one-off payment of £500 for help with maternity costs.
Charities and Support Schemes
The Turn2Us charity can help you to access welfare benefits, grants and other help.
Cambridgeshire's Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) supports people facing unexpected financial difficulties. CLAS can provide information, advice and practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure.
Following an assessment, you may be eligible for a CLAS award. The awards can be in the form of supermarket vouchers, energy vouchers, new white goods, decorating packs, beds, mattresses, recycled white goods and furniture. To self-refer, contact CLAS directly.