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.