Help with the cost of living

Everyone is being affected by the rising cost of living.

We know that some people are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

You are not alone. There are a number of local organisations that can offer financial help and advice. 

Worried about money?

Budgeting loans are available to people currently claiming Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit. Loans can be provided for items such as furniture and white goods.

The Greenwich and Bexley Credit Union is a savings and loans cooperative owned and run by its members. All profits are put back into the business or paid out to members as a dividend on savings.

If you are worried about your Council Tax payments don’t delay. Get in touch as soon as possible to seek help and advice.

Are you claiming everything you are entitled to?

Worried about debt?

Christians Against Poverty provide a free debt counselling service to everyone. They also offer a free money course and job clubs.

StepChange Debt Charity provides free debt advice through its telephone debt helpline and online debt remedy tool.

Bexley Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities to help people resolve their legal, money, debt, benefit, employment, housing, consumer, discrimination and other issues. Advice is given in person, by email or by telephone.

Worried about food?

Bexley foodbank receives donations of non-perishable and in-date food. Care professionals, registered with the food bank, such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, citizen’s advice bureau and police, identify people in crisis and issues them with a foodbank voucher. Foodbank clients bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days of emergency food.

Food Vouchers are available to help you buy fruit, vegetables and milk if you’re on a low income, pregnant or have a child under four years old.

Worried about a home?

Shelter gives practical housing advice and support online, in person and by phone 365 days a year and helps with everything from mortgage arrears to finding a place to sleep.

Kent Savers Credit Union promotes saving and provides members with loans at reasonable rates.

For people who are eligible, are homeless or threatened with homelessness, it can help secure properties by providing the deposit and rent in advance (one month) through a low interest loan. The property must be suitable and affordable and the loan repayments affordable.

Contact the Council’s Housing Options team by completing a housing support form.

Discretionary housing payments are a limited fund provided to the Council by the government each year. The fund allows the Council to provide additional assistance with rent in exceptional cases.

The scheme is purely discretionary.

Worried about childcare?

The Government has a scheme for parents to access childcare if their children are two years old or younger.

If your child is three or four years old, you could still be eligible for 30 hours’ free help from an approved provider every term time week funded by the government.

Parents are entitled to tax-free childcare for kids up to the age of 11 and can get cash from Universal Credit for children up to the age of 16.

Tax-free childcare is available to families where both parents are in work. Some people can claim up to £500 for each child every three months.

Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit provides extra support for families where the government gives the claimant extra money towards paying for childcare.

Claimants and their partner have to work at least 16 hours a week.

You can get Child Benefit if you are responsible for a child aged under 16, or if they are under 20 and in approved education or training.

Worried about energy bills

Nearly 74,000 households in the borough in Council Tax Bands A to D should by now have received their energy rebates of £150. To ensure that any remaining residents who qualify for the energy rebate do not miss out, the Council has now commenced a programme of crediting the Council Tax accounts of those who’ve yet to be paid with the £150 energy rebate - and this process began in early August. Residents who had returned their cheques because they were unable to cash them for some reason e.g. because of a mismatch on the names between their Council Tax and bank account records, will receive a credit on their Council Tax accounts before the end of August.

The Council has also been given some limited discretionary funding to assist vulnerable people with their energy bills. Details of the discretionary scheme were announced on 30 June. For any households where there is currently a reduction in the Council Tax Band due to the disability of one of those living in the property (this is where the property has an extra bathroom, kitchen or other room for the disabled person or extra space inside the property for using a wheelchair), the Council will make a ‘top up’ up payment of £250 to each household in bands A to D and £400 in E to H where the household is not in receipt of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. A small amount of money has also been set aside in order to have some ability to use the funding flexibility and to address any new or exceptional circumstances as they arise. In November 2022, any outstanding funds will be allocated to ensure that this funding reaches households in need in Bexley.

The Government has announced that support is available to help with rising energy bills and increases.