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Cost of Living Toolkit
The rising cost of living is having an impact on everyone's bills and for many people this is a worrying time. If you don’t have enough to live on, you might be able to get help from the government, your local council or other organisations to afford essentials like bills and food.
Easily Navigate This Page
On this page we will cover the following areas, you may click on any of these to be taken to this specific place on the page:
We have created this toolkit to provide information in one place about what support there is. This list is not exhaustive and so we have also included other useful sites you may wish to explore. You are also welcome to contact us to speak to one of our locality based teams who can talk to you about support available near to you.
Winter Fuel Payment:
You should start getting the Winter Fuel Payment automatically once you reach State Pension age, but sometimes you might need to apply. You can find out how to apply for the Winter Fuel Payment here or by calling 0800 731 0160.
You’ll automatically get an extra ‘pensioner cost of living payment’ of up to £300 (depending on your household) with your usual Winter Fuel Payment in either November or December.
Warm Home Discount:
If you or your partner receive the guarantee credit part of pension or you are on a low income you can apply for a Warm Home Discount which is a one off payment to help with the cost of energy over winter. It is usually added as a credit to your electric bill and this winter is £150.
This will not this will not affect your winter fuel payment.
Support from Your Energy Provider:
Do not ignore bills or letters about money you owe. If you owe money and you’re struggling to pay, you should speak to your energy provider who has a duty to help you. Suppliers must offer payment plans you can afford and you can ask for ‘emergency credit’ if you use a prepay meter and can’t top up.
As part of the Affordable Warmth Obligation you might be able to get help for energy-saving improvements to your home if you either claim certain benefits and live in private housing (for example you own your home or rent from a private landlord) or live in social housing.
Help from Southern Water:
If you are finding it difficult to pay your water bill Southern Water can set up a payment plan, or you may be eligible for a discount. Email email@example.com or call 0800 027 0363 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). Click here for more information if you can’t pay your bill.
Let’s Talk Energy Fund:
Customers of any energy supplier can apply for support with energy bills as well as standard freestanding appliances and boilers. You need to register your interest online here to be notified when the scheme opens.
Support in West Sussex
West Sussex Energy Advice Service:
Open to all West Sussex residents and families facing financial hardship, struggling with energy payments, or need help with home grants and repairs call 01243 974063 (Monday to Friday 10am 4pm), visit Home – West Sussex Energy.
Household Support Fund:
Support is available for households in most need through the Household Support Fund, according to the eligibility criteria. If you are of state pension age, live in West Sussex and are struggling with energy bills, food or water bills, please contact the Community Hub to discuss your needs and apply for support from the Household Support Fund.
Telephone 033 022 27980. Lines are open 9.00am – 5.00pm 7 days a week, including Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays, or complete an online form here.
Grants for Carers:
Carers Support West Sussex holds funding to support those who are feeling the impact of the current cost of living crisis. To be eligible carers need to be registered with Carers Support West Sussex, live in West Sussex and are aged 65 or over or caring for someone 65+.
Carers Support West Sussex also manage other limited pots of funding which are available to carers under 65 who are registered with us who are affected by the cost of living. Carers can contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 028 8888
May be able to help with Gas and Electric top ups once a month. Please ensure you have your utility card or account details when you call the help line on 07940 900948. Click here for more information.
Help to Save Energy
Use the Simple Energy Advice calculator to see how you can improve your energy efficiency. You can also learn about schemes run by your local council. Energy efficiency improvements cover things like home heating, free boiler replacement and roof insulation. You can also call Simple Energy Advice on 0800 444 202
LEAP is a free energy and money saving service to helping people keep warm and reduce their energy bills without costing them any money. To be eligible for support, your annual household income needs to be under £31,000 or in receipt of income related benefits. To apply call 0800 060 7567 or email email@example.com.
Warmer Sussex: Click here to visit website
If you are unsure where to start when it comes to making your home more energy efficient, Warmer Sussex has developed an online tool which calculates what improvements you could make in your home within your budget.
If you plan on using your fireplace, it’s essential you know how to set it up properly and the risks that come with using it.
The National Chimney Sweep Guild advises that before beginning to use your fireplace you get your chimney cleaned professionally, checking for animal nests and any deterioration – ensuring it is safe to use. You should get your chimney cleaned at least once a year.
Also check the surroundings of the fireplace and remove any flammable items for example clothing, books and home decor.
Sadly there are dishonest people who are using the energy crisis to scam people into sending money or setting up direct debits to receive discounts. Please look out for fake emails and texts claiming to offer discounts on energy bills. These emails and texts look genuine and a number of different scams have been circulating, including some that appear to be from the energy regulator Ofgem.
Please do not click on links or pass on your card details. Any discounts from the government or your energy supplier will be automatic. If you have given any of your personal information like your bank details, contact your bank immediately for help.
If you are suspicious about a text or email or think you may have been the victim of a fraud, please contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the Action Fraud website to use their online reporting tool.
Sites sending out scam messages that have been identified by the BBC include:
Visit Ofgem to find out more.
You might be able to claim benefits or increase your current benefits. Carers Support West Sussex have a Benefits Toolkit available which outlines all the welfare benefits carers are likely to consider claiming with details of how to claim, visit this toolkit here. It also includes information about Council Tax reduction, Blue Badge Scheme and details other organisations offering benefits advice.
You can also visit these useful sites which will help calculate any benefits you may be entitled to:
Turn2Us: Click here to visit website
Helpline available: 0808 802 2000, 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Mondays-Friday
Age UK: Click here to visit website
Advice line available: 0800 055 6112, 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.
Entitled To: Click here to visit website
Gov.uk: Click here to visit website
Carers can also contact us to make an appointment with our specialist Benefits Advisor to check that they have applied for all of the welfare benefits they may be entitled to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 028 8888
Managing at Home
The Priority Services Register: Click here to visit website
This is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations. You will get support during power-cuts, help with meter readings and support if you are struggling to pay your bills. You need to contact your energy supplier or network operator to get on it. You may be able to get help with electricity or gas bill debts, and potentially provide essential white goods such as a fridge or cooker.
If you are struggling with being able to eat healthily due to the rise in the cost of food, consider using a food bank. There are lots of foodbanks across the county with most open to residents, but a few require a voucher. Not all are listed below and do please call us if you need further information:
Fed and Nourished: Click here to visit website
Formally known as Pop-Up Pantries, are community food hubs operated by UKHarvest.
Get the support you need whilst helping to fight food waste at their Community Food Hub. Access affordable food, learn low-cost cooking, and find support on a range of social issues. Just bring a bag and a suggested donation of £3.50. No one will be turned away. You do not need a voucher to attend, and you are not limited on the amount of times you can come.
Venues in Chichester, Midhurst, Oving, Tangmere, Selsey, East Wittering, Bognor Regis, Southwick, Crawley. Contact them on 01243 696 940.
Household Support Fund:
If you are not of state pension age and have less than two days supply of food, please phone the Community Hub on 033 022 27980, to discuss support options which may include signposting to other organisations.
If you are struggling to buy items which may make day-to-day life easier for you or the person you care for, then you can apply to our Carer Equipment Fund. Items can include medication dispensers, night lights, grab rails and one-cup hot water dispensers. Click here to visit this page and read more.
Money Off and Discount Schemes
Carers who are registered with Carers Support West Sussex can apply to receive our Carers Discount Card which has wide range of businesses and service listed in our directory which offer carers a discount.
Discount for Carers: Click here to visit website
This is free to join and offers discounts, cashback and vouchers for people who look after a relative or friend.
CarerSmart: Click here to visit website
Is a Carers Trust club that is open to carers, people with care needs and staff and volunteers from across the Carers Trust network (of which Carers Support West Sussex is). It offers cash back on shopping, reduced prices on lifestyle activities and free legal advice services.
The CEA Card: Click to visit website
This card costs £6 but enables unpaid carers to go to the cinema for free with the person they care for to provide assistance throughout the movie.
The National Trust: Click here to visit website
Has an Essential Companion card , which allows up to two carers to attend free with someone who needs their support.
Currently nine broadband providers offer so-called social tariffs for those on certain benefits. However, according to regulator Ofcom, while they are available to an estimated 4.2 million households that receive universal credit, only 55,000 have signed up to the schemes. For up to date information visit Money Saving Expert
The UK Government has put together a Help for Households Discounts & Offers page with offers are available from businesses to help with the cost of living. Offers include support from supermarkets, stores, utilities, and days out.
Money & Debt Advice
If you owe money and you’re struggling to pay it back, there are actions you can take. Do not ignore bills or letters about money you owe.
Citizens Advice: Click here to visit website
Offers information and advice about what you should do if you owe money. Free phone Advice line 0808 278 7969 (Mon-Fri 9am – 4:30pm)
Money Helper: Click here to visit website
Formerly Money Advice Service, provides impartial information and guidance on a range of financial services. It won’t sell you anything and it doesn’t recommend specific products or providers.
Christians Against Poverty: Click here to visit website
(CAP) provides free debt help and local community groups across the UK. Their free services, run with local churches, provide practical and emotional support and show people that there is always hope.
Step Change Debt Charity: Click here to visit website
This is a free anonymous debt advice from the UK’s leading debt charity. Call 0800 138 1111. Lines open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm
National Debt Line: Click here to visit website
Freephone – 0808 808 4000
Breathing Space: Click here to visit website
May be able to offer support through the debt respite scheme, also known as Breathing Space. This could give you valuable time to find an effective and long-term solution for dealing with your debts and help you move forward.
Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove: Click here to visit website
Have a Money Advice Service for people aged over 50 with advisers who cover anything from benefits, pensions and retirement planning, budgeting to saving and lots more and because the service is truly impartial, they won’t recommend any products or try to sell you anything.
Contact the Advice team on 0800 019 1310 between 9am – 2pm Monday to Friday (select option 2).
NHS Health Travel Cost Scheme: Click here to visit website
If you’re referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund of reasonable travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS). Call 0300 330 1343 with any queries
Older Persons Bus Pass: Click here to visit website
West Sussex Council can provide a five-year bus pass offering free off-peak (weekdays 9.30am-11.00pm and all day on weekends and bank holidays) bus travel in England for those who live in West Sussex and are of pensionable age
Disabled Persons Bus Pass: Click here to visit website
West Sussex can provide a bus pass offering free bus travel to people who are disabled, incapacitated or medically unfit to drive.
Disabled Persons Railcard: Click here to visit website
West Sussex Council can provide a one-year disabled person’s railcard which can save you a third off rail travel for you and a friend, with no time restrictions and means you also save the cost of buying a railcard yourself.
Click on the links for details or call West Sussex Council on 01243 777100 between 9.00am-5.00pm, Monday to Friday.
How You Feel
It is not surprising that the worry of the rising cost of living may have an impact on people’s mental health. There are services available for you to have the opportunity to talk to someone about how you are feeling.
Time to Talk: Click here to visit
This is a free NHS service offering a range of talking therapies that can help you feel better. Your GP can refer you or you can refer yourself. The number you call depends on where you live:
- Adur, Arun, Chanctonbury or Worthing call 01903 703540
- Bognor, Chichester or the surrounding area call 01273 265967
- Crawley, Horsham or Mid Sussex (Burgess Hill, East Grinstead or Hayward’s Heath) call 01403 620434
Pathfinder West Sussex: Click to visit website
Is an alliance of organisations in the county working together to enable people with mental health support needs, and their carers, to improve their mental health and well-being.
The Silverline: Click to visit website
Is a free and confidential telephone service for older people. They provide friendship, conversation and support and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 0800 4 70 80 90
Rethink Shayak Asian Language Mental Healthline: Click to visit website
Offers free, confidential, telephone-based information and support for anybody from diverse ethnic communities who is affected by issues of mental health, including carers and professionals. Volunteer operators speak English, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati. Phone: 0808 800 2073
Samaritans: Click here to visit website
Are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 for free.