We know how hard things may be for the majority of our customers going into the winter months this year, so we've put some things in place to try and lessen the strain for some of those more vulnerable households.
For help with energy support, please go to our Energy Support page.
It's a common misconception that benefits are only available if you're out of work – but even some families with an income of £50,000 or less can qualify for help.
With the cost of living rising, it's more important than ever to know what you're entitled to.
The main thing to remember is benefits are NOT just for the unemployed. State support is designed to help those in a range of situations – from those struggling on a low income, to new families, to those with long standing medical conditions.
Check out these Universal Credit and Benefits Calculator to see what you're entitled to.
These trustworthy organisations can also provide tailored advice and support with your benefits application:
Citizens Advice (www.citizensadvice.org.uk): offer free confidential advice online, over the phone, or in person.
Turn2Us (www.turn2us.org.uk): have tools to help search for benefits and grants, as well as a free helpline.
Gingerbread (www.gingerbread.org.uk): provide free support services for single parents.
Christians Against Poverty (www.capuk.org): offers free money advice and debt help.
MoneyHelper (www.moneyhelper.org.uk): A government run money advice service with the option to chat online, telephone, or WhatsApp an adviser.
You may be entitled to a payment to help with the cost of living crisis if you are receiving certain benefits or tax credits on a certain date.
There are three different types of payments depending on the claimant's circumstances and you could receive all three if entitled:
The new £900 cash boost for over eight million eligible means-tested benefits claimants, including those on Universal Credit, Pension Credit and tax credits, starts in spring and will go direct to bank accounts in three payments over the course of the financial year.
There will also be a separate £150 for over six million disabled people and £300 for over eight million pensioners on top of their Winter Fuel Payments.
Exact payment windows will be announced closer to the time but are spread across a longer period to ensure a consistent support offering throughout the year. They will be broadly as follows:
We will be supporting our most vulnerable residents with winter food packs, which will provide a range of household essentials to support with nutritious, warming meals over the coldest periods
We will also supply energy packs to those struggling with home energy costs - the packs will be available to support households with reducing bills and will contain items such as energy-saving light bulbs and further energy savings information and tips.
Throughout the winter months, we’ll be making regular telephone calls to our more vulnerable residents across the winter months to check in with them and provide additional support and assistance where needed. And colleagues and volunteers will also be working towards a befriending service, volunteering some regular time on a weekly basis to support those impacted by social isolation during the winter months.
We have a dedicated Support Fund to help customers who find themselves in financial difficulty. We will work with customers who are referred to us to complete an initial financial assessment, before offering further assistance with vouchers for utility payments, food, or specialist items such as school uniforms.
If you need additional help please do contact our Tenancy Support Team at [email protected]
or call us on 03332 404 444, hold the line and then ask to speak to our Tenancy Support Team.
Help with Living CostsView Document
This leaflet created by Norfolk County Council outlines all the other help in our area from other funds, charities and organisations.
Who doesn't love a good deal? We’ve come across a great option that promises to give many Freebridge customers a sizeable saving on important services.
With that in mind, did you know that you could be eligible for cheaper broadband and phone packages?
Seeing if you’re able to access the cheapest services providers can offer, dubbed the social tariff, is a top tip from us at Freebridge – as it could provide you with a major monthly saving.
If you’re claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support (some providers might include additional benefits, like Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance, too) then you have access to social tariffs.
Although some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’, these services are delivered in the same way as normal packages, just at a lower price.
Ofcom is encouraging companies to offer social tariffs to help support customers on low incomes – and using it could help you in the following ways:
Current providers include BT, EE, SMARTY, Community Fibre, NOW, Sky, Virgin Media, KCOM, Hyperoptic, G Network and VOXI.
Ofcom also says that it is urging TalkTalk and O2 to introduce social tariffs in the broadband and mobile markets respectively.
If this sounds like something you could be interested in, you can apply for most tariffs online. Your first port of call should be to check if your current provider offers a social tariff. If they don’t offer one, don’t worry! They could let you switch without a fee.
It’s also important to understand that the person receiving the benefit needs to be the main person on the contract before you begin this process.
If you are interested in this but require more advice, you can always call us on 0333 240 4444 and we’ll do our best to support you.