If you’re on a low income you might be entitled to extra benefits and entitlements. Find out more about what’s available.
- Help to pay for essential things
- Home and housing support
- If you’re retired
- If you’re pregnant or have a baby
- If you have school aged children
- If you’re ill, injured or disabled
- Other financial help
- Use a benefit calculator
- Where to get free help and advice
Help to pay for essential things
If you’re claiming benefits
If you’re receiving certain income-related benefits and need help to pay for essentials like clothing, furniture or a rent deposit, you might be able to apply for a Budgeting Loan or Budgeting Advance if you are getting Universal Credit.
If you’re on a low income you could get help towards the costs of arranging a funeral.
Home and housing support
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)
If you’re receiving certain income-related benefits and you’re struggling to keep up with the interest on your mortgage, you might be able apply for Support for Mortgage Interest.
SMI can pay the interest (but not the capital repayments) on mortgages up to £200,000. You can also use SMI to pay for essential repairs or maintenance to your home or adapt it to cope with disability needs.
SMI is a loan. You will have to repay it either when you sell your house or voluntarily when you’re able to (for example when you return to work).
Payments are made directly to your lender 39 weeks after you first apply for this benefit (unless you’re getting Pension Credit, in which case you can get help immediately) so you should claim as soon as you can.
If you’re on income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can only get SMI for up to two years.
If you’re renting from either a private or social housing landlord and you’re receiving certain income-related benefits you could get money to help pay your rent.
Housing Benefit is one of the six benefits being replaced by Universal Credit.
Universal Credit and housing costs
If you’re invited to claim Universal Credit you might get a housing costs element to go towards your rent or mortgage interest payments.
If you live in England or Wales you’ll be responsible for paying the rent to your landlord yourself.
If you live in Scotland, you can choose to have rent payments made directly to your landlord.
If you live in Northern Ireland, your rent is automatically paid to your landlord.
If you want to make some changes to your home to cut your power bills, go green and reduce the amount of energy you use, you could get help towards the costs.
If you’re retired
If you’re older, or have reached retirement age, there are a number of benefits you are entitled to, to cover heating, TV Licence, travel and medical care.
If you’re pregnant or have a baby
If you’re expecting, or have a child under 16, there are a range of benefits you might be able to claim.
If you have school aged children
Education Maintenance Allowance
If you’re in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland and you’re aged 16–18 you could get weekly help with the cost of education.
If you’re in England you might be able to get the 16-19 Bursary Fund to help with the costs of studying.
Free school meals
If you’re claiming certain benefits, including income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit, and are on a low income, your child might be entitled to free school meals.
Find out more about free school meals:
- England on the GOV.UK website
- Scotland on the Scottish Government website
- Wales on the Welsh Government website
- Northern Ireland on the nidirect website
Help with the cost of uniforms
Find out about help with school clothing costs
- In England on the GOV.UK website
- in Scotland on the Citizens Advice website
- in Wales on the Welsh Government website
- in Northern Ireland on the nidirect website
If you’re ill, injured or disabled
You might qualify for help towards some NHS charges if you’re on Income Support.
Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme
You might qualify for help towards the cost of transport if you’re on Income Support and need to travel to get medical treatment.
Disabled Facilities Grant
If you’re disabled you might be able to get money towards the cost of adapting your home for your needs.
Disabled Students’ Allowance
If you’re disabled, have an ongoing health or mental health condition or a learning disability you could get extra financial help during further education.
Blue Badge Parking Scheme
If you’re disabled you could apply for a badge allowing you to park closer to where you need to be.
Reduced Earnings Allowance
If your earning potential is reduced because you’re disabled you might be entitled to extra support.
Vaccine Damage Payment
If you’ve been severely disabled as a result of a vaccination against certain diseases, you could get a one-off tax-free payment of £120,000.
Other financial help
Cold Weather Payments
Get extra money towards your heating bills during the cold weather if you’re getting income-related benefits.
Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card
If you’ve been claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for three months you are entitled to a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card for six months (18-24-year olds) or nine months (over 25s).
If you’re claiming other benefits, you might be entitled to this discount card if you’re actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser.
Cardholders can get half price rail tickets on selected routes and discounts on some bus services.
To help with the cost of travelling to interviews, training, or in the first months of starting a new job, you might be able to use the flexible support fund. Jobcentre Plus staff will make this decision.
If you are claiming Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit, you might be entitled to a BT Basic low-cost phone and broadband package.
It comes with a price cap to help you budget and an amount of internet access for web browsing and downloads.
You must be a BT customer. If you are not, you can get connected for free. A phone and broadband package costs around £9.95 per month.
Alternatively, there are a number of cheap SIM only contracts with mobile data, which could be better value than a broadband package.
Support to help you get through a crisis or live independently
If you’re facing an emergency, there might be local help available. This is known as local welfare assistance.
- If you live in England, see this interactive map on the Children’s Society website to find your local welfare assistance scheme
- If you live in Scotland, find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund on the Scottish Government website
- If you live in Wales, find out more about the Discretionary Assistance Fund
- If you live in Northern Ireland, find out more about changes to the Social Fund on the nidirect website
Refugees and asylum seekers
Refugees might be entitled to an integration loan to pay for housing, household items, education and work training.
Asylum seekers might be able to claim asylum support for housing, education and access to the National Health Service (NHS).
The Refugee Council offers free advice and information for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
Use a benefit calculator
If you live in Northern Ireland – find out more about what benefits and financial support you might be entitled to on the nidirect website.
Where to get free help and advice
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.