Many of us are concerned about the rising costs of everyday essentials such as energy, food, and other household expenses. If you’re struggling with the cost of living, this webpage aims to highlight support available and advice to lower your bills.
Help for households
Cost of living payment
Households on means tested benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Tax Credits, should have received a payment of £650 in 2022. This was made automatically in two installments, one in the summer and another in the autumn. This is in addition to the £400 discount on energy bills.
Find out more about the cost of living payment
Disability cost of living payment
From 20 September 2022, six million people who are paid certain disability benefits should have received an automatic one-off £150 payment. The payment aims to help disabled people with the rising cost of living acknowledging the higher disability-related costs they often face, such as care and mobility needs.
This is in addition to the £650 cost of living payment for disabled people who also receive means tested benefits.
Check if you’re eligible for the disability cost of living payment
Pensioner cost of living payment
In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills.
This winter, they will also receive an extra one-off £300 pensioner cost of living payment, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the winter fuel payment.
Check if you’re eligible for the winter fuel payment
Council Tax energy rebate
We have already distributed the £150 non-repayable energy rebate for households living in Council Tax bands A to D. This was paid out automatically to residents who pay their Council Tax by direct debit and to the bank accounts of those residents who applied online.
The government has also provided funding for billing authorities to operate a discretionary fund for households in need who would not otherwise be eligible. We have identified residents who fit this criteria, written to them and paid discretionary payments.
Government energy bills support scheme (EBSS)
The government is providing support for households, including £400 off energy bills. You should get this discount to help with your energy bills over winter 2022 until the end of March 2023. You do not have to pay this money back.
Find out more about the energy bills support scheme
Government energy bill support scheme - alternative funding (EBSS AF)
The government has announced two new schemes for those households who are not entitled to the £400 discount via energy support scheme.
Alternative energy payments
This energy rebate is aimed at those not benefiting from the government energy support scheme (£400 reduction on electricity bills). These residents will live in households with no domestic electricity meter or do not have a direct relationship with an energy supplier.
The online application portal (via GOV.uk) for the £400 rebate is open and it close on Wednesday 31 May 2023. The government guidance confirms the following people may be eligible:
- care home residents
- residents of park homes
- tenants in certain private and social rented homes
- homes supplied via private wires
- residents of caravans and houseboats on registered sites
- farmers living in domestic farmhouses
- off-grid households.
The criteria for this funding is:
- The household that support is being claimed for is the main or only home address of the person to receive the support.
- The resident or applicant is responsible for paying the household energy bill. This means either directly or as part of a service charge, rent, or other arrangement and may have the impact of increased energy bills costs passed on to them between 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.
- The household is not already receiving EBSS payments in whole or in part.
- The household is not a business premises or other form of non-domestic premises. It must be used solely or mainly for domestic purposes. This is except for businesses whose main business activity is to provide long term residential accommodation (landlords, etc).
If you are eligible for the payment, the government will share your data with Woking Borough Council and vice versa to validate your entitlement and make the payment. By applying you are consenting to your data being shared.
Once the government has received an application and passed its verification checks, we will make the £400 support payment to your bank account.
Please do not phone or email us regarding these schemes. All applications will need to be made directly to central government via GOV.uk website not via Woking Borough Council.
For residents without online access or who require help applying, there is a government helpline available on 0808 175 3287. This is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
Read more information about the alternative funding scheme
Alternative fuel payments
This scheme is intended to deliver a one-off payment of £200 to UK households who are not on the mains gas grid and use alternative fuels, such as heating oil, solid fuel, biomass or bottled gas, to heat their homes.
Applications for this funding will be open soon.
The government has confirmed that most households eligible for alternative fuel support will receive payment automatically via their electricity supplier in February, with no further action needed.
Those households who will need to apply for the alternative fuel payment. For example, because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier, will be able to do so through the same GOV.UK portal as the EBSS Alternative Funding scheme.
The government has advised that eligible households should not contact councils until further instructions on how alternative fuel payments scheme will be administered.
If you are eligible for the payment, the government will share your data with Woking Borough Council and vice versa to validate your entitlement and make the payment. By applying you are consenting to your data being shared
Energy price guarantee and the energy bills support scheme
Pre-payment meter customers are eligible for the full benefit of both the energy price guarantee and the energy bills support scheme.
The energy price guarantee will be applied to the rate you pay for each unit of energy, so the money you put on the meter will last longer. The discount will be applied automatically by your supplier. Make sure they have the right contact details for you.
Pre-payment meter customers are also entitled to the £400 energy bills support scheme. Eligible residents will receive the discount from the first week of each month. Your electricity supplier will let you know in advance how you will get your discount.
Find out more about the energy bills support scheme
Find out more about the energy price guarantee
Help for members of the armed forces community
In response to increases in the cost of living, the Royal British Legion has launched everyday needs grant, providing up to £2,400 over 12 months for members of the armed forces community.
Find out more about the everyday needs grant and apply online
Household support fund
£130,000 has been given to Citizens Advice Woking to help vulnerable households cover their essential daily costs.
If you are struggling with the cost of food, fuel, water and other essentials, please speak to Citizens Advice Woking as you may be eligible to apply for financial assistance. To complete an application you will need to share information about household income and other areas of need within the family.
Find out how to contact Citizens Advice Woking
Surrey crisis fund
The Surrey crisis fund is a discretionary fund run by Surrey County Council. It provides financial help to Surrey residents who have nowhere else to turn in an emergency or following a disaster. It also can provide assistance to set up a home in the community where no other funds or resources are available.