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Financial Support from the Government and Council

25th October 2023

By Ben Walker

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There are a few different types of financial support available depending on your situation. Finding out if you are eligible for financial support can be a massive help.

Correct as at June 2022.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a benefit you may be able to get if you are on a low income or aren’t working. It has replaced a wide range of allowances and benefits. These include Housing benefit, Child tax credit, Working tax credit, Income support, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

Universal Credit works differently to the previous systems of benefits. One example of this is how you are able to get Universal credit if you’re unemployed or working. If your circumstances fit the criteria, you may be able to get Universal Credit. Additionally, you get one payment monthly with universal credit, instead of the weekly payment previous benefits may have offered.

If you are working, you may still be eligible for Universal Credit. However, the more you earn, the smaller your payments would be. If your income decreases, or if you lose your job, your Universal Credit payments will increase.

How does it work

You would normally get one monthly payment to help cover your living costs. If you are claiming universal credit as a couple, then you would get one monthly payment between the two of you. The payment includes your “standard allowance” alongside any extra payments you may be eligible for. The situations that may make you eligible for additional payments may include:

  • Needing help with housing expenses.
  • You are disabled or have a health condition.
  • You look after a child or multiple children.
  • You’re in work and pay for healthcare.
  • You are a carer and look after a disabled person, or you have a disabled child.

If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you still may be able to claim other benefits. These could include the Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, contribution-based Job Seekers Allowance, or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance. However, these are dependent on your circumstances. As always, if you think you may be eligible for financial support, it’s worth checking.

Additionally, you may be able to apply for a Council Tax Reduction. If you do get a reduction, it won’t affect the amount of Universal Credit you get. To apply for a Council Tax Reduction click here.

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a payment designed to help children under the age of 16 that suffer from a wide range of disabilities. These can range from physical disabilities, various medical conditions including behavioural and mental health conditions, or learning disabilities. Even if you don’t consider your child to be ‘disabled’, they may be eligible for DLA to help support their everyday life.

Your child may be eligible if they:

  • Need additional care, supervision or support when compared to a similar aged child who is not disabled.
  • Have difficulty walking, moving around or getting outdoors when compared to a similar aged child who is not disabled.

In order to be eligible, your child must have had the condition or illness for at least three months, and it must be expected to last at least six months. While you don’t need an official diagnosis from a doctor, it may be helpful.

However, if your child is terminally ill, and not expected to live longer than 6 months, then you can apply straight away, regardless of how long your child has had difficulties. 

But if your child is terminally ill and expected to live longer than 6 months, you should talk to an adviser to see what your options are.

The DLA isn’t dependent on your income and savings. Additionally, any other benefits you may receive won’t be impacted by the DLA. In some cases, getting the DLA could lead to being offered other benefits.

If your child is under 3 years old

It can be very difficult to prove that your child under 3 needs extra support and care, as all children under 3 require a lot anyway. However, it is still worth applying if your child does require additional care. For example, most children are expected to wake throughout the night. But, if you have to administer regular treatment 2-3 times a night, this could be an exceptional circumstance.

Moving from DLA to PIP

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is slowly replacing the DLA for people aged 16 or over. The Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) will send you a letter asking you to transfer from the DLA to PIP. The DWP will automatically send this letter when:

  • You turn 16 (unless you are terminally ill)
  • You’ve reached the end of your fixed DLA award
  • You report a change of circumstances, or the DWP finds out about a change in circumstances

But, even if none of the above happen, the DWP will send you a letter at some point to transfer over to PIP. The only exceptions are if you are aged under 16, or if you were born before the 9th of April 1948.

The DWP may send you a letter asking you to claim PIP, you should start your application within 4 weeks. If you require more time, call the PIP enquiry line. When you do this, you may get an extension and so may be able to keep claiming DLA.

If you don’t claim PIP within the 4 weeks, the DWP will halt your DLA and stop payments. If you claim PIP in the 4 weeks after your DLA was paused, any payments missed will be paid to you. Though, if you wait longer than the extra 4 weeks, you will not receive any payments.

Personal Independence Payment 

Personal Independence Payment, or PIP, is a payment made to those who need extra help due to illness, a disability or a mental health condition. When applying for PIP, it doesn’t matter if you are working, what your income is, whether you have paid national insurance, or if you are already getting help. 

PIP is normally paid every 4 weeks. However, if you have a terminal illness then it is paid every week.


To be eligible for PIP, you have to fulfil a few different requirements. First of all, you must be suffering from a physical or mental condition that makes it hard for you to get around or do everyday tasks. Secondly, you must have been finding these tasks difficult for at least 3 months, and expect to continue to find them hard for at least 9 months.

Thirdly, you must be 16 year old or over. Additionally, you must be living in England, Wales or Scotland when you apply. The exceptions to this rule are if you, or a close family member, are in the armed forces.

Qualifying difficulties

PIP is based on what you struggle to do in your everyday life. It’s worth bearing in mind it can be very hard to tell if you will be eligible for PIP, so there is no guarantee. But, it’s worth applying to find out if you do struggle with everyday tasks.

So, if you struggle with any of the following, you could be eligible for PIP. 

  • preparing and cooking food
  • eating and drinking
  • managing your treatments
  • washing and bathing
  • managing toilet needs or incontinence
  • dressing and undressing
  • communicating with other people
  • reading and understanding written information
  • mixing with others
  • making decisions about money
  • planning a journey or following a route
  • moving around

The help you actually receive could be from any number of sources. These could include a human, an aid such as a guide dog or a walking stick, or modifications made to your home or vehicle.

PIP Rates

Your PIP is made up of 2 different parts, also known as components. The first is the ‘daily living component’. This is the payment made to help you perform everyday tasks. These can include cooking food, getting dressed and many more. The second is the ‘mobility component’. This is for those who have difficulty moving around, going to places, planning and route and more. 

There are different rates available depending on how much help you need:

Daily living component (per week)

Standard rate – £61.85

Enhanced rate – £92.40

Mobility component (per week)

Standard rate – £24.45

Enhanced rate – £64.50

How long will you receive PIP for

The length of time you get PIP depends on your circumstances. If either you think that your condition will never improve, or if you have reached state pension age, then you will be given an indefinite award. This means that there is no end date on your agreement. However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will normally review your case every 10 years.

If you don’t get an indefinite award, then the DWP will give you PIP for a fixed time period. You will be told how long for in the decision letter. If you are terminally ill, your PIP time period will be 3 years. If you are awarded PIP for more than 2 years, the DWP will normally review your case before the award expires. They may renew it if this happens.

However, the DWP normally won’t review your award if it is for less than 2 years, or you have challenged the DWP’s decision, and the tribunal sided with you, and increased your award period.

What if your circumstances change

If your circumstances change, and the amount of PIP you are entitled to changes, you should let the DWP know as soon as possible. If you don’t let the DWP know about a change, you could receive extra payments. While this sounds great, you may have to pay this money back. If your condition worsens you could be eligible for more money, so in this case it is very important to get as much support as you can.

DWP reviews

If you DWP does review your award, they will normally do so about a year before it is due to expire. But, bear in mind that they may review your award at any time. They do this by writing to you and asking you to fill out a PIP review form. This form is similar to the claim application form, just a bit shorter.

If the DWP doesn’t review your award, but you want to keep receiving PIP, you will have to make a new claim. It can take a while to process new claims, so it’s sensible to do this well before your PIP is due to end. You can make a new claim up to 6 months before your old claim ends.


If you’re struggling to pay for food, there are “Healthy Start” and free vitamin vouchers that you may be eligible for. In order to be eligible for these vouchers, there are a few criteria you may have to fill. First of all, if you are at least 10 weeks pregnant, or have a child under 4 years old you may be eligible. 

Or, you must also be claiming one or more of the following:

  • Universal Credit, plus your monthly income must be below £408
  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit, plus your annual household income must be below £16,190
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance, but only if you’re pregnant
  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance

If you are under 18 and pregnant, you can still get these vouchers even if you are not on any of these credits or benefits. 

Local Council

Your local council may be able to offer you vouchers for everyday needs and necessities. These could include a hot meal, second hand furniture or appliances, such as a cooker or fridge. This is known as the Household Support Fund or “welfare assistance”.

Who is eligible and what help on offer from this fund varies between councils. To find your local council, click here.

Interest free loan – budgeting loan

In some cases, budgeting loans may be able to help you afford essential goods you can’t afford. This could include various furnitures, clothes, rent in advance, maintenance costs and more. 

If you claim one of the following, you may be eligible:

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Income related ESA
  • Income based JSA

Housing benefit

For the most part, Housing Benefit has been replaced by Universal Credit. However, if you have reached state pension age, you may still be eligible for Housing benefit. Alternatively, you may be eligible if you live in sheltered, supported or temporary housing. For more information, click here.

Discretionary Housing Payment

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a payment made at the discretion of your local council to help with housing costs. To be eligible, you have to be claiming Housing benefit or the Housing costs part of Universal Credit. It is different from Housing Benefit in that it’s provided by your local council. You should ask your local council if you want to make a claim. You may be able to claim it over phone, email or post.

DHP can be provided to assist with continuous rent, or can be paid as a one-off sum to cover deposits. It is designed to assist those who don’t currently receive enough benefits to pay for all of their rental and housing costs. It is provided at the discretion of your local council.

Benefit calculators 

If you aren’t sure whether you would be eligible for any financial support, it’s worth finding out. Click the button below to find different benefit calculators that could help you find out. 

Promise Money is a broker not a lender. Therefore we offer lenders representing the whole of market for mortgages, secured loans, bridging finance, commercial mortgages and development finance. These loans are secured on property and subject to the borrowers status.

More than 50% of borrowers receive offers better than our representative examples

The %APR rate you will be offered is dependent on your personal circumstances.

Mortgages and Remortgages

Representative example

Borrow £270,000 over 300 months at 7.1% APRC representative at a fixed rate of 4.79% for 60 months at £1,539.39 per month and thereafter 240 instalments of £2050.55 at 8.49% or the lender’s current variable rate at the time. The total charge for credit is £317,807.66 which includes £2,500 advice / processing fees and £125 application fee. Total repayable £587,807.66

Secured / Second Charge Loans

Representative example

Borrow £62,000 over 180 months at 9.9% APRC representative at a fixed rate of 7.85% for 60 months at £622.09 per month and thereafter 120 instalments of £667.54 at 9.49% or the lender’s current variable rate at the time. The total charge for credit is £55,730.20 which includes £2,660 advice / processing fees and £125 application fee. Total repayable £117,730.20

Unsecured Loans

Representative example

Annual Interest Rate (fixed) is 49.7% p.a. with a Representative 49.7% APR, based on borrowing £5,000 and repaying this over 36 monthly repayments. Monthly repayment is £243.57 with a total amount repayable of £8,768.52 which includes the total interest repayable of £3,768.52.



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