Struggling to pay your bills? Paying for utilities and managing your money for essentials may seem overwhelming at the moment. Here’s our top tips on how you could help yourself during the current cost of living crisis:
Check if you are eligible for benefits to help with your living costs
Seeking help by claiming benefits may seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that receiving financial support can be extremely helpful when you are struggling on a low income for example, or perhaps if you have a medical issue where you are unable to work. No matter what your circumstances, to see which benefits you could be entitled to, visit the government website.
Use local food banks in your community
During a crisis you may need help affording food and essentials for you and your family. If you or someone you’re concerned about is experiencing financial difficulties where they cannot afford to eat, please contact one of the following:
- BAVO: 01656 810400
- Citizens Advice: 01656 762800
- Foodbank: 01656 858713
By contacting these local helplines, tokens or vouchers can be arranged to use across a series of food banks in Bridgend and the surrounding areas. Tokens and vouchers provide the financially vulnerable with a food parcel containing nutritional and non-perishable food items for 3 days at a time, including baby supplies such as nappies if needed. To find out more visit the Bridgend Food Bank website.
Find out if you should be receiving social care
If you or someone you know is in need of help with day-to-day living because of an illness or disability, there are options and support available. Social care and support can be paid for by the local council social services department, it is not always down to people who need services or their families, if they are struggling financially. Types of social care and support include:
- Meals on wheels
- Help at home from a carer
- Home adaptations
- Household gadgets or equipment
- Personal alarms and home security systems
- Types of housing, such as supported living services or care homes
To find out more about social care and what help you could be entitled to visit the NHS social care and support guide website.
Speak with your energy supplier
Many energy suppliers have schemes to help their customers who cannot afford their bills. If you are struggling to pay a bill, be honest with your supplier and communicate with them directly. Avoiding the bill or not explaining your current situation may make matters worse and cause the supplier to contact you several times. Deal with any payment issues as soon they arise, so you can work on a solution with your provider. The majority of energy suppliers do not charge for calls and also have a postal address to accept letters and written requests.
Use an energy advice service
If you need advice before or after speaking to your energy supplier, Ofgem has information about getting help with energy bills for those in financial difficulty. Scope also runs an energy advice service for those with a disability, on managing energy bills and even switching suppliers. You may feel more confident communicating with suppliers after receiving some advice from these or similar services.