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?

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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11th Jun 2015
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Welfare benefits are made very difficult indeed to access. The requirements would not help the over 60s.

Jobcentres and work programmes give no rights to water or toilets, whilst expecting you to stay for hours or be sanctioned.

Sanctions have massively increased, shown by the trebling of Department of Work and Pensions sanction decision-makers.

Housing Benefit is being capped.

Universal Credit will all but wipe out benefit by permanent sanctions.


There is no flat rate for all new pensioners from next year, on and from 6 April 2016, of £155 per week.

That was a lie from day one. Everyone will get different amounts forever from each other.

Lowest forecast seen so far is £8.39 per week flat rate after 45 years in work.

The other myth is that the state pension and pension credit is safe from the even deeper austerity cuts to come.

And of course, the flat rate is a CUT TO STATE PENSION as the current full basic state pension combined with Pension credit is MORE THAN the full flat rate.

And then there is the SERPs opt out that merges with your National Insurance history for the first time next year, to wipe out NI record.

SERPs opt out also hits works and private pensions.
Some have stopped opting out since 2012.
But the SERPs opt out is not formally ended in law til next year.

SERPs began 6 April 1978, and strange to relate, the opt out began the same day.

But it has been a mis-selling we can do nothing about, as done by government.

Because with SERPs and 30 years of NI and SERPs together, you could have gained a state pension of £276.10 per week.

The flat rate pension raises the required NI and SERPs to 35 years.

This will especially hit women.

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