Cost of Living Payments

Cost of Living Payment, Summer 2022

This is extra money from the Government to help with the increased cost of living, if you get certain benefits already.

You do not need to do anything, it will be sent to you automatically to the same bank account that your benefits go in to.

Low Income Benefits:     

If you have been on Low Income Benefits since before 25th May 2022 (e.g. Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Income Support, Income-related ESA or Income-based JSA, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit), you will receive £326 at the end of July 2022 and a second amount of £324 (if still entitled) in the Autumn. N.B. For a couple both getting a Low Income benefit, it is only one payment per joint claim.

Disability Benefits:                                                                                                             

Additionally, a payment will be made if you have been on a Disability Benefit (e.g. Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment) since before 25th May 2022, and you will receive £150 from September 2022.  

Winter Fuel Payment:                                                                                                                         

Also, if you are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment this year, you will get an extra £300 for your household, paid from November 2022.           

The payments are not taxed and will not affect any other benefits.

Further information can be found on this website:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment

or if you are a resident of the Northern Fells Group parishes, get in touch with me, Dianne Bowes, Benefits Awareness and Support, on  07752 457513  or email me on  [email protected]

For other parishes, Age UK West Cumbria 01900 844670 or Age UK Carlisle & Eden 01228 536673 or Citizens Advice Allerdale 01900 604735 or Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden 03444 111 444 are all very helpful.

Music for Dementia

Music for Dementia

Janet Wilkinson, Dementia Awareness Advisor – looks at the recently released

 ‘Power of Music Report’

Music for Dementia and UK Music have produced a powerful report on how music can be used to transform our health, wellbeing and communities.  The results of the report released on 19th April have been widely publicised as the report highlights the impact music can have on our lives. Here is a quick look at the summary they provided.

Chapter 1 considers the impact of the pandemic on the mental and physical health of the UK and our communities.

Chaper 2 looks at the “Power of Music in Action”. A double page summary of some of the outstanding academic and scientific research which illustrates the true potential of music as a therapeutic and medical tool.

Chapter 3 – “Music on the Ground” shares four very different case studies where music has been used to; help build communities in areas with high levels of poverty; improve the wellbeing of farmers in Northern Ireland through a community choir. Music and dance also being used to help boost mood in care homes and give residents, families and carers a “proper night out” and finally a case study by the MHA on putting music at the heart of the care it provides for its residents.

Chapter 4 sets out a framework to “Harness the Power of Music” with government, health and social care sectors as well as the music sector all playing a part.

Chapter 5 concludes that this report is just the beginning rather than the end of this piece of work. It’s now up to all of us to harness the power of music.

(The full report can be found on the Music for Dementia website).

There is overwhelming evidence that music can especially benefit people living with dementia and their carers. If you know anyone who you think may be interested to discover how music can improve wellbeing please get in touch. My contact details can be found on the NFG website.

Help with the Increased Cost Of Living –

Things to do to keep the bills down & maximise your income

  1. Maximise our income by claiming each and every Government Benefit/Local Authority Grant we are
    entitled to
  2. Reduce our outgoings by being more Energy Efficient, e.g. by improving Home Insulation
  3. Get rid of unnecessary costs, e.g. unused subscriptions

N.B. This information will be regularly added to as new schemes appear and previous ones are stopped, so please keep checking for new advice and forgive any out-dated information.
This year the cost of everyday living has spiralled to a new high and looks likely to continue, so here are
some suggestions from a variety of sources of how we can all:

Unclaimed benefits:
Huge numbers of people in the UK are entitled to either Disability Benefits or Earnings Related Benefits but are unaware of their eligibility – there are some really useful benefits calculators online at:
https://www.entitledto.co.uk/ or https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/

There is extra money that the Government recognises some people need, for health or low income reasons and if you are eligible, you should claim if it would help you.
Not all benefits are means-tested.
Also, this extra income coming in to the county will spread to the local economy if you are then able to
• spend in local shops
• get the help you need at home e.g. gardener, cleaner or window cleaner
• buy more logs, oil, etc.
So it helps the whole community if you get extra money coming in.
If you think you may be eligible for a Benefit, you can apply online for some of them,
e.g. Blue Badge Parking Permit https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/parking/bluebadges.asp

But some need an initial phone call e.g. PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
https://www.gov.uk/pip/how-to-claim
And some are still paper forms e.g. Attendance Allowance, that you can print off the website or you can phone the Attendance Allowance helpline Telephone: 0800 731 0122 and ask them to send you a form, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/attendance-allowance-claim-form

General Hints and Tips:
The ‘Money Saving Expert’ website (Martin Lewis) has just produced a comprehensive guide of tips and
suggestions to reduce the cost of living- we are probably already doing some of these but there might be
new ideas here to try, particularly his emphasis on ‘Heat the Human, not the Home’.
Here is the link to the guide: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/heat-the-human-not-the-home-save-energy/

Local Council Support – Eden and Allerdale:
The local councils are funded by the Government for some permanent support schemes plus some
temporary ones, responding to need e.g. during the Covid Crisis.
The leaflet ‘Cost of Living Support’ from Cumbria County Council has some useful ideas for local support,
https://cumbria.gov.uk/elibrary/Content/Internet/536/6181/44650132218.pdf

Direct Government Help:
Council Tax Rebate: In February it was announced that those people in the Council Tax bands A-D will get a rebate of £150 this year, to reduce their Council Tax costs. It will be taken off this year’s 2022/23 Council
Tax bill and DOES NOT NEED TO BE REPAID. Even if you have your Council Tax paid for you by the local
council under a https://www.allerdale.gov.uk/en/council-tax/council-tax-discounts/discounts-andexemptions/ – you will still receive this money.
The £150 will be sent automatically to your bank, if they have your bank details/pay by Direct Debit.

Energy Bill Help: In October 2022, every household will be given £200 direct to their energy supplier, to
reduce their bill while energy prices are so high. Those on a pre-pay meter will be paid through the Smart
meter or will receive a credit voucher. This money will be added back to your energy account from April
2023, at a rate of £40 a year. It is anticipated that unit prices for Gas and Electricity will have come down
by then so the £40 payment each year will have less effect.

Further information to follow.

Winter Benefits 2021-2022

Are you aware that there are several sources of funding to help with the cost of keeping your home warm over the winter months? These include-

WINTER FUEL PAYMENT

https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

An extra payment of £200-£300 from the Government on top of your State Retirement Pension, paid by mid-January. It should be paid automatically with the pension, it will not affect other benefits and is tax free. To qualify, you must be born on or before 26th September 1955 & living in the UK during week 20-26 Sept 2021.

 If you do not get State Pension but do get Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit you may also eligible, so please check by contacting Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160

WINTER WARMTH FUND

https://www.cumbriafoundation.org/winter-warmth-fund/

A £150 grant towards heating bills, available from the Cumbria Community Foundation.

The criteria are: you must be 60 years plus, in receipt of State Pension/Pension Credit or struggling to maintain a basic standard of living during the winter due to the cost of heating your home. If this money would help you to stay warm and comfortable this winter, please apply for this Grant, by contacting Age UK who administer the scheme.

Age UK West Cumbria     01900 844670 or 08443 843 843    or    Age UK Carlisle and Eden    01228 536673

WARM HOME DISCOUNT SCHEME

https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme

This is a £140 payment from the Government, to help you to afford to heat your home over winter. It is paid as a credit to your account with your Energy Supplier.

If you get the ‘Guaranteed Credit’ part of Pension Credit you will automatically be contacted by letter before January and asked to call the Helpline 0800 731 0214 before 26th February 2021, to confirm your details.                  

Even if you do not get Pension Credit but are on a low income, you can claim as long as your Supplier is a part of this scheme and you get a means-tested benefit. Those on Pre-pay and Pay as You Go meters can apply too

A full list of suppliers plus further details, can be found on https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme

COLD WEATHER PAYMENT

https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment

From 1st Nov 2021 to 31st March 2022, people on Pension Credit, Universal Credit (& some income-based benefits if you or your child has a disability) may get a Cold Weather Payment from the Government of £25/week for every 7-day period that the average weather in your area is below freezing

PRIORITY SERVICES REGISTER – OFGEM

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/getting-extra-help-priority-services-register

A free service from Energy Suppliers for elderly, disabled, hearing/visually impaired or vulnerable people or those with pre-school children.

You will get: Advanced Notice of Power Cuts, Priority Support in an emergency (e.g. alternative heating/cooking facilities or electrical supply for medical equipment), password protection for Energy Supply Workers to contact you safely, meter readings done if you cannot do them yourself and you can nominate someone to act on your behalf in dealings with the supplier. To register, contact your own Energy Supplier.

If you live in the Northern Fells parishes of Caldbeck, Castle Sowerby, Ireby and Uldale, Mungrisdale, Sebergham and Welton, The Boltons, Westward and Rosley I am able to support you with any of these schemes. For those living outside our area,  I hope that this information will prompt you to find out more about these grants and benefits and to apply if eligible.

Age UK West Cumbria   01900 844670 or 08443 843 843 or Age UK Carlisle and Eden 01228 536673 and Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden  0344 411 1444 can offer support with applying.

Dianne Bowes, Benefits Support and Awareness Service, Northern Fells Group – Tel: 07752 457513

Information From Dianne Bowes The NFG Benefits Advisor

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM OUR NORTHERN FELLS GROUP BENEFITS ADVISOR

Our NFG Benefits Advisor Dianne Bowes is still taking referrals for anyone who might be eligible for Attendance Allowance, Blue Badge, Employment Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, etc.

This is for anyone who thinks they may be entitled to financial help due to their low income or poor health, she can still talk to clients on the phone and see what benefits they might be open to.

Continue reading “Information From Dianne Bowes The NFG Benefits Advisor”
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