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Cost of living support

Advice and support to help manage the rising cost of living.

Government financial support

There are many government schemes now to help with the cost of living as prices increase, find out what you could be entitled to.

What am I entitled to and when?

Everyone£400 energy bills support schemeFrom October 2022, until April 2023
Under 66 in receipt of benefits£325 cost of living paymentsSecond payment in Autumn 2022
Aged 66+£300 cost of living paymentNovember/December 2022
Disability benefit claimants£150 cost of living paymentFrom September 2022
Customers who did not receive the £400 energy bills support£400 energy bill support - alternative fundFrom 27 February 2023 until 31 May 2023
Customers who use alternative fuels for heating instead of mains gas
Most homes that are eligible for this payment will get it automatically as a credit on their electricity bills from February 2023.
£200 Alternative Fuels Payment (AFP)From early March 2023

Full details of the qualifying benefits and the payment timetable can be found here:

You may also find it useful to look up benefits that you might be entitled to, either as an individual or as an organisation, by visiting: or

Council Tax Support Fund 2023-24

Uttlesford District Council has received £84,546 from the government's Council Tax Support Fund. We will be using this to to reduce Council Tax bills for current working age and pension age Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) claimants by up to £25 with an additional top-up payment of up to £25.00, providing they were in receipt of LCTS with effect from 1 April 2023.

If you are not claiming LCTS you can apply for up to £25 Council Tax support through our Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF).

Visit Council Tax Support Fund 2023-24 for more information.

Energy Bill Support Scheme - Alternative Fund

Most households get a £400 discount on their energy bills automatically. In some cases, you do not get the discount automatically, for example if you:

  • pay for energy through a landlord, housing manager or site owner
  • live in a park home, houseboat or off the electricity grid

From 27 February 2023 you will be able to apply for the discount through the Energy Bill Support Scheme if you do not get it automatically.

Alternative Fuels Payment

The domestic Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) provides a £200 government grant payment to UK households that use alternative fuels for heating instead of mains gas.

You may be eligible for a £200 Alternative Fuels Payment (AFP) if both the following are true:

  • your household is not connected to the mains gas grid
  • you use alternative fuels as your main form of heating

Most homes that are eligible for this payment will get it automatically as a credit on their electricity bills from February 2023.

If you do not get this payment automatically

You will have to apply for this payment through the AFP Alternative Fund if you do not get it automatically - for example, because you do not have a contract with an electricity supplier.

Alternative Payment Arrangements

Alternative Payment Arrangements are for those claimants who cannot manage their single monthly payment and there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family.

The following Alternative Payment Arrangements are available to help people who need additional support:

  • Paying housing costs out of Universal Credit as a Managed Payment - direct to the landlord
  • More frequent than monthly payments
  • Split payment of an award between partners

Visit Universal Credit - Alternative Payment Arrangements for more information.

You can also contact Uttlesford Citizen's Advice for information and guidance.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It is paid monthly. You may be able to get Universal Credit if you are on a low income or need help with your living costs.

You could be working (including self employed or part time) or be out of work.

To claim you must:

  • live in the UK
  • be aged 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you're 16 to 17)
  • be under State Pension age
  • have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investments

Use our online benefits calculator to find out what you're entitled to.

Council Tax Exceptional Hardship Fund

The Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF) offers short-term to help with your Council Tax bill if you are struggling to pay the monthly instalments.

People on low incomes may be eligible for Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payments and Local Council Tax Support (LCTS).

All schemes will depend on your current circumstances.

Use our online benefits calculator to find out what you're entitled to.

Essex Essential Living Fund

The Essential Living Fund (ELF) provides emergency financial assistance for adults and families to help pay for bills and essential household income.

Visit ELF to apply and click on the link for Essex residents.

Warm Homes Discount

The Warm Home Discount Scheme has undergone some changes and will now be used to help even more people in England and Wales.

You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The money is not paid to you - it is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October 2022 and March 2023.

You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and  electricity and you are eligible. Contact your supplier to find out. The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.

Sustainable Warmth Grant

Government-funded Sustainable warmth grants are designed to support those households most impacted by rising energy bills.

Here are a few of the ways they could transform your home:

  1. Installing improved insulation stops buildings from losing heat quickly. This means it takes less energy to keep your home warm, reducing your energy bills.
  2. Solar panels allow you to use energy from the sun to generate electricity to power your home, lowering your energy bills and helping to protect the planet.
  3. Low Carbon Heating Gas and oil-fired boilers are a key source of UK carbon emissions and older models are an inefficient way to heat your home. A heat pump system could create a warmer, more comfortable home while using less energy.

Call: 0808 196 8255