Struggling With Living Expenses

You may be able to get support from the local council or an interest-free loan from the government if you do not have enough to survive on. 

If you’re waiting to start insurance payments, you might be able to get paid early for your benefit. 

Get aid paying for critical daily supplies 

You would be able to get assistance from: 

  • Local council of yours 
  • A loan from the government 


Find out how to get help from a food bank if you’re struggling to pay for food. 

You may be eligible to get free vitamins and Healthy Start coupons for milk, fruit and vegetables and baby formula milk if you are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 years of age. 

You must also demand either in order to get the free vitamins and Safe Start vouchers: 

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance dependent on wages 
  • Jobs and Care Allowance linked to salary – but only if you’re pregnant 
  • Child Tax Credit – and you receive £ 16,190 a year or less from your household 
  • Credit for Pension 
  • Universal Credit – and you earn £ 408 a month or less from your household 

You can’t get the vitamins and coupons if you get Child Tax Credit if you get Working Tax Credit too – unless you get the ‘run-on’ payment. The payment you receive for 4 weeks after you quit applying for Working Tax Credit is a work tax credit run-on. 

You will also get supplements and food coupons if you’re under 18 and pregnant, even if you do not get any of these advantages. 

Ask for an application form from your midwife or health visitor. On 0345 607 6823, you can also call the Safe Start helpline and ask them to give you a form. 

Calls from landlines cost up to 9p a minute and from mobiles up to 55p a minute. When you call from your mobile and have landline calls included in your contract, it should be free. 

Check what support from the local council you can get 

You could be issued vouchers by your local council to help pay for day-to-day necessities like: 

  • A hot meal 
  • Second-hand furnishings 
  • Household appliances, such as cookers

This assistance is referred to as ‘welfare assistance’. Each council operates a structure of its own. The assistance on offer and who is willing to get it varies. On GOV.UK, find the local authority and ask them if they are running a welfare aid scheme that might benefit you. 

In order to get support from the city council, you do not need to earn benefits. 

To pay for basics, get an interest-free loan 

If you demand such benefits, you may be entitled to get what’s called a ‘budgeting loan’ for necessities such as clothes or a washing machine. 

You may be eligible if you receive: 

  • Supporting profits 
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance dependent on wages 
  • Jobs and Service Allowance combined with wages 
  • Credit for Pension 

The loan is interest-free, so what you need to do is pay back what you’re borrowing. Usually, within 2 years, you will need to pay back the loan.

Coronavirus – if the repayments for overpayment of a budget loan have been temporarily stopped 

After the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) briefly stopped them because of the coronavirus, the repayments will start again. 

The DWP will write to you to tell you when it will automatically restart your repayments if: 

  • By Direct Debit, you make repayments 
  • Your rewards or gains are taken from your repayments

 When you get Universal Credit, they’ll either write you a letter or add a journal entry. 

You can contact your bank and start them again if you usually make repayments yourself, for example via a bank standing order. 

Contact the DWP’s Debt Service contact centre if you are unable to pay the basic living expenses and cannot meet your repayments. 

DWP – Contact centre for Debt Management 

Phone number: 0800 916 0647 

Relay UK – You can type what you want to say if you can’t hear or chat on the phone: 18001, then 0800 916 0651 

With an app or a mobile phone, you can use Relay UK. To use it, there’s no extra fee. Find out on the Relay UK website on how to use Relay UK. 

Call from overseas: +44 (0)161 904 12333 

8am to 7.30pm from Monday to Friday, 

9am to 4pm on Saturday, 

Calls are free to these numbers. 

Check what you can get on GOV.UK and how to apply. 

If you have Universal Credit, you’re not going to get a loan for budgeting. You should instead apply for an advance in budgeting. 

Get assistance in paying the rent 

If your rent is not protected by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and you need more income, you could make a claim for a discretionary housing allowance (DHP). To help pay the rent, a DHP is extra money from the local council. 

In order to get a DHP, you must demand Housing Benefit or the housing costs section of Universal Credit. 

You don’t have to be granted a DHP by the local council – it depends on the circumstances. 

If they plan to send you a DHP, the council will write to tell you: 

  • How much would you get 
  • When the DHP ceases 

You can apply again if you still need a DHP after it ends. 

To apply for a DHP 

Contact the local authority to inquire if a DHP can be applied for. They might want you to apply online or by telephone. On GOV.UK, you will find out how to contact your local authority. 

Be as straightforward as you can when you request, when you’re discussing why you need a DHP. For example, you should explain: 

  • Why can’t you afford to pay your rent? 
  • Why can’t you move to a cheaper place? 
  • If it creates issues for someone you care for, such as a child or elderly relative, 
  • Any proof you have, including a doctor’s note or debt information that you are paying off, 
  • If you’re waiting for them to determine if you can get housing benefits, you can also inform the council. 

If you apply on a paper form, keeping a copy of the form for your records is a good idea. 

Check which benefits you can get 

To verify which advantages you can get, you can use a free benefits calculator. You’ll need to be a resident of Britain or Ireland and over 18 years of age. 

You’ll need your information for: 

  • The Savings 
  • Earnings 
  • The retirement 
  • Payments for Childcare 
  • Established benefits New benefits 

If you have one, you will need this information for your partner. 

To verify which benefits you can get, you can use the Turn2us or Entitled to benefit calculators. 

In order to help you figure out what advantages you can receive, you can also ask the nearest People Advice. 

Get the benefits paid out early on 

The majority of benefits can be paid early. This is referred to as a ‘short-term benefit advance’. 

You would be able to get your bonus paid early if: 

  • You have claimed a benefit and are awaiting the first payment. 
  • Your advantage has been boosted, but you have not yet had the new sum 
  • You were told you were not going to be charged on the regular date. 

In order to pay it back, a small sum will be deducted from future payments – typically for 12 weeks. 

You can’t get a bonus paid early for: 

  • Benefit from Housing 
  • Allowance for Attendance 
  • Living Allowance for Disability (DLA) 
  • Personal Payment for Independence (PIP) 
  • Kid Advantage 
  • Allowance of Guardian’s 
  • Credit to Tax 

Contact the DWP office that is dealing with your profit claim to request an advance. For any letter or email you have had from them, you will find their contact information. 

Other Options

Check what else you can do to raise the money you have each month if you don’t have enough to survive on. Can you: 

  • Get assistance with your debts 
  • get aid paying bills 

On the Turn2us website, check what assistance you can get from local charities. Your postcode would need to be known.

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