Many families have got in touch with Steve in recent weeks and months about the cost of living, this has led to families across the constituency facing hardship.
Steve’s team have put together some resources to help you if you and your family are struggling:
Birmingham Household Support Fund April 22 to September 2022
Support in Birmingham is being made available to help with covering essentials such as food and energy (gas/electricity/water) costs. This consists of £200 hardship grant payment to households in financial distress as well as signposting to other forms of support available in their local area.
The programme runs only until 31st September 2022.
How to apply?
Applicants will need to undergo an assessment process, via a trusted local partner agencies delivering Early Help or Neighbourhood Network Schemes, who will complete applications and determine eligibility to access the fund.
BVSC are administering the scheme on behalf of Birmingham City Council. General information can be found on the BCC website and how to apply on the BVSC website (links below).
General Information – https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/50231/coronavirus_covid-19/2497/household_support_fund
Apply – https://www.bvsc.org/hsf
DWP Cost of Living Payment Schemes
You do not need to apply, you will be paid automatically
The schemes are:
- a Cost of Living Payment, if you get a qualifying low income benefit or tax credits
- a Disability Cost of Living Payment, if you get a qualifying disability benefit
- a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, if you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2022 to 2023
For information on eligibility and full guidance please see: Cost of Living Payment – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Energy Bills Support Fund
All households with a domestic electricity connection in Great Britain are eligible for the £400 discount. There is no need to contact energy suppliers concerning this.
- The £400 discount will be administered by suppliers and paid to consumers over 6 months with payments starting from October 2022, to ensure households receive financial support over the winter months
- Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023
- The discount will be provided on a monthly basis regardless of whether consumers pay monthly, quarterly or have an associated payment card
- Households will never be asked for their bank details, and those with a domestic electricity connection will not need to apply
- Electricity bill payers should enquire with their supplier if they have not received their first instalment by the end of October.
Breakdown of the delivery process for each payment method:
- Direct debit customers will receive the discount automatically as a reduction to the monthly direct debit amount collected, or as a refund to the customer’s bank account following direct debit collection during each month of delivery
- Standard credit customers and payment card customers will see the discount automatically applied as a credit to standard credit customers’ accounts in the first week of each month of delivery, with the credit appearing as it would if the customer had made a payment
- Smart prepayment meter customers will see the discount credited directly to their smart prepayment meters in the first week of each month of delivery
- Traditional prepayment meter customers will be provided with redeemable vouchers or Special Action Messages (SAMs) from the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post. Customers will need to take action to redeem these at their usual top-up point
Advice and support regarding energy bills – Are energy costs stressing you out? – Warmer Homes West Midlands (warmerhomeswm.org.uk)
Local Energy Advice Partnership can provide help and advice with energy switching, free energy saving measures, money advice and check if you’re eligible for insulation, a new appliance or even a new boiler. Please call LEAP on 0800 060 7567 or visit LEAP | The Energy and Money Saving Service | Free Advice (applyforleap.org.uk)
Connected for Warmth is funded by the Warm Homes Fund, it provides free air source heat pumps and first-time gas central heating to fuel poor homeowners that need a helping hand. The scheme is run locally by AgilityEco in partnership with Birmingham City Council, installers and housing associations across the Cadent Gas area.
It’s free for eligible households and can also provide a free connection to the gas main if required, ensuring that those in need can benefit from affordable heat and hot water.
Apply for the Connected for Warmth scheme online, or call (free) on 0800 029 4547.
Help in Short-Term Crisis
Birmingham’s Local Welfare Provision (LWP) scheme helps vulnerable people in short-term crisis with food and essential items. It is grant-based, which means people who receive help from it will not have to repay anything
There are two types of awards:
- Crisis payments are made to citizens to meet their needs for subsistence in terms of essential food and or clothing.
- Community support grants are paid to citizens to meet their immediate needs for essential furniture or white goods to sustain their housing needs and to gain greater independence within the community.
For more information and to apply please see:
Help in a short-term crisis | Help in a short-term crisis | Birmingham City Council
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 25/09/1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. The amount you’ll get includes your ‘pensioner cost of living payment’. This is between £150 and £300. You’ll only get this extra amount in winter 2022 to 2023. This is in addition to any Cost of Living Payment you get with your benefit or tax credits.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you’re eligible and either:
- get the State Pension
- get another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)
If you do not get either of these, or if you live abroad, you may need to make a claim. If you’ve got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you do not need to claim again unless you’ve deferred your State Pension or moved abroad.
Call 0800 731 0160 or apply online https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/how-to-claim
Citizens Advice Birmingham: Get help with the cost of living – Citizens Advice
Debt helpline: 0800 240 4420, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Adviceline (England): 0800 144 8848
Benefits: Need help with checking what benefits you are entitled to:
Foodbanks: Find Foodbank Near you:
Find a Food Bank – The Trussell Trust
Healthy Start Food Vouchers:
To help buy fruit, vegetables and milk if you’re on a low income and pregnant or have a child under 4.
Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)
Free School Meals:
You may be eligible to claim free school meals for your child, up to the age of 19 years, if you (or your child) get one of the following:
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker Allowance
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
Ask your child’s school for an application form
Student Support Fund, University of Birmingham: Student Support Fund (SSF) (birmingham.ac.uk)
Free impartial money guidance and advice: Free and impartial help with money, backed by the government | MoneyHelper
Debt help and advice: StepChange Debt Charity – Free Expert Debt Advice.
Pension Credit: Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges, Pension Credit: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)