Citizens Advice can guide you through a claim for benefits

As the cold weather closes in with biting frosts and long, depressing hours of darkness, the

combined effects of the pandemic and financial problems threaten to drive us into a pit of total despondency. But if lack of money is your problem, take heart because there could be a way to take control of the situation: you might be entitled to receive benefits and Citizens Advice can help you all the way.

If you are unemployed, have a low income, an illness or disability, or are caring for somebody, you could get Universal Credit. This also applies to the self-employed. The amount you might get depends on your individual circumstances. Always do a benefits check before starting an application. Don’t forget that if you need help with paying Council Tax you need to apply to the District Council.

Even if you are not a UK citizen you might be able to get some benefits, and if you already receive benefits, you could get more because of Covid-19.

All the information is on the Citizens Advice website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk. Also have a look at the government website www.gov.uk where benefits rules are signposted on the home page. There are some reliable online benefit calculators like benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk

In order to apply for benefits you will need to assemble all the relevant information: details of your bank or building society accounts; your income, e.g. payslips and savings; and proof of identity.   

Citizens Advice has a dedicated “Help to claim” team to get you started on claiming benefits. Phone us on 0800 144 8444 (Mon-Fri 0800 to 1800) or use webchat (same hours). Appointments in person are not available at present.