Both Universal Credit claimants and low-income families on the old benefit scheme may be able to get extra discounts to stretch their payments further. From cheap bus and train fairs to food vouchers, here’s what you could get totally free – or discounted – on Universal Credit.
Council tax discount
Council tax can take a huge chunk out of your income, but those on a low income can often get a council tax discount.
You can apply for a scheme run by your local council on Gov.uk
Depending on your local council’s scheme, you might get a discount as a percentage, a set amount, or the whole amount.
All you need to do is provide details of your household income, how many children you have, and the number of people living in your home.
You also need to provide details on which benefits you get, and explain how long you have lived in the UK for.
Capped water bills
Don’t worry about cutting back on your daily showers to afford your water bill.
WaterSure is a scheme that caps the water bills of low income customers, charging them the amount of the average household bill for your water company.
Those eligible won’t be charged extra if you use more than the average amount of water.
To qualify for the scheme, you need to be claiming Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, JSA, Tax Credits, Pension Credit, or Income-related ESA.
Universal Credit discounts: You could be entitled to a whole range of benefits
£500 payment if you are pregnant
Fallen pregnant and worried about how you are going to provide for a child? You might be eligible for a grant of £500.
The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one off payment that you don’t have to pay back.
If you are already claiming benefits and you are expecting your first child, or expecting twins or triplets and already have children, you will be eligible.
You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within six months after the baby is born.
All you need to do is fill out this form and get a health professional to sign it. Then send it off to Freeport DWP SSMG.
Universal Credit discounts: Shower as often as you need with the WaterSure scheme
Universal Credit discounts: Discounted broadbands is another perk that might come alongside Universal Credit
You might get discounted broadband if you are claiming specific benefits.
BT offers these customers a basic low-rate package for broadband and phone.
You can set a specific amount of internet access to help you budget for the month, and it costs £10.
The package is available if you are claiming income support, jobseekers allowance, pension credit, employment support allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.
Ring the BT team on 0800 800 864 and ask for the application form for this scheme.
Healthy Start food vouchers
The Healthy Start voucher helps to buy basic nutritional foods like milk and fruit.
If you are pregnant or have children under four-years-old, you might qualify. You can check on the website.
The vouchers can be used in more than 30,000 UK shops, and could also be exchanged for pregnancy and breastfeeding vitamins or vitamins for children between six months to five years old.
If you live in Scotland, you should try the Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods schemes.
Universal Credit: Are YOU one of 13,000 owed extra £180 a month? [INFORMER]
Universal Credit UK: How to check how your earnings affect payment [EXPLAINER]
Universal Credit UK: How much you get will depend on these factors [INSIGHT]
Universal Credit discounts: Feed your kids a healthy diet using Healthy Start food vouchers
£150 from the Flexible Support Fund
Finding a job can be costly, from travel to interviews to getting childcare.
The Flexible Support Fund is Government grant to help you with the costs of getting a job.
The money can be used to fund things like training for a job (which could cost up to £150), tools for work, or clothing and uniforms.
There is up maximum amount that you can be granted, but it will vary.
If you think you could benefit from this grant, contact your local job centre.
Free school transport
Need extra funds to get your child to school every day? You might be eligible for help from the government.
All children between five and 16 qualify for free school transport if they go to their nearest suitable school.
You need to live at least two miles away if they are eight, or three miles away if they are older.
Check if you are eligible on the Gov.uk website.
Universal Credit discounts: Your children could get free school meals and money towards their uniforms
Money towards school uniforms
Those on income support, Universal Credit, JSA, child tax credit, ESA, and pension tax credit are entitled to support when it comes to buying school uniforms under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
Those who earn less than £16,190 a year may also be eligible.
You could get up to £150 to pay for school uniforms in some places in England, and at least £100 in Scotland.
In Wales, the government provides a grant up to £125 for children in reception to year three in primary school, and a £200 for year sevens.
In Northern Ireland, the education authority pays a grant between £22 and £56 to pupils on free school meals to get their uniform.
Type in your postcode on the Gov.uk website to find your council’s website. Search for the uniform grant in the Education section to find out what is available in your area.
Free school meals
You can apply for free school meals if you are claiming certain benefits, such as Universal Credit or Jobseekers allowance.
You might be able to apply through your school, but some will need to apply through their local authority.
Type in your postcode on Gov.uk to find your local council’s website to apply.
Half price bus or rail fares
The Jobcentre Plus travel card is free and cuts the cost of travelling on public transport by 50 percent for those outside of London.
They are accepted by all train operators in England, Scotland and Wales.
Transport for London accepts them, and you can save money by purchasing a weekly or monthly travel card at a child’s rate in London.
They are available to those unemployed but looking for work, and those who claim JSA.
If you have been claiming Universal Credit for three to nine months and are 18 to 24, you are also entitled to one.
If you are 25 or older, you will need to have been claiming benefits for three months to a year to get the card.
Published at Sun, 21 Jun 2020 08:15:00 +0000