Finding information on benefits and grants
With everyone trying to cut costs these days, it’s increasingly unlikely that people will hand you the information you need for everything you might be entitled to.
You need to go and seek out the right information about benefits and grants. Below are some of the things you might be able to claim for:
- Employment and Support Allowance
This is available for those who have limited capability for work due to sickness or disability. The ESA comes in two ways: you can get a Contributory ESA if you have paid enough national insurance contributions while the Income-Related ESA is for those whose savings and income is low. Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to get both types of ESA.
- Income Support
Those not in full-time employment (less than 16 hours a week) can apply if they fall into these groups: single parents with a child under five years old (seven in Northern Ireland); people getting Carer’s Allowance or Statutory Sick Pay; people who regularly care for someone who is getting either Attendance Allowance or a high component of Disability Living Allowance.
- Council Tax Support
These means-tested schemes provide help for people on low incomes towards their Council Tax bill. The schemes will apply differently in across the various parts of Great Britain.
- Housing Benefit
Housing Benefit is money paid by a local council to help with housing costs, if you are on a low income. You have to be the person who is responsible for paying the rent to get Housing Benefit. It does not matter if your landlord is a private landlord or a social landlord eg a council or housing association. Homeowners may qualify for help with housing costs including mortgage interest as part of a benefit claim.
Finding information online
If you need more information about whether you’re eligible for benefits or how they might be able to help, the internet can be a useful resource. Citizens Advice has a useful section on its website about all the benefits available, as well as a section dedicated specifically to benefits for older people.
The Money Advice Service also has some information about benefits on its website that may be useful. For a detailed overview of all the benefits available, the Government website is also a good place to look.
Charitable funds give grants to people in financial need who meet their eligibility criteria. Such funds have been set up to assist people who have something in common, such as particular disabilities or illnesses, a job or industry, faiths, nationalities, or a specific age group.
Types of grants
Charitable funds will offer various types of grants, such as regular sums of money to help with bills, one-off grants to help with a specific item, educational grants to help with the costs of training courses, vouchers, help with house repairs or funding to improve job prospects.
Finding information online
If you’re interested in finding more about grants and whether or not there are any you might be eligible for, there are a handful of useful websites that can provide the right information. Charity Turn2Us has a grant search tool along with information about benefits so you can find all you need in one place. Grants For Individuals is another organisation that helps filter information about grants, while Grant Finder also has a database of grants of all kinds which could be useful.
What was your experience of seeking a grant or benefit for the first time?