Fringe Benefits

Fringe Benefits

Even if we don’t receive much in benefits, if we’re on a low income there is other help we can claim to keep costs down

‘Passported’ benefits are the help we can only access if we get a related benefit. Even if we receive a few quid from Housing Benefit, or remain on UC despite not receiving a penny, we could still qualify. Free school meals, Council Tax support (or reduction) NHS treatment and prescriptions, and the Warm Home Discount can make a big difference to meagre budgets.

The rules about who gets what have changed, especially for people moving onto UC. There has been quite a fuss about it and it’s a moving picture. It could depend on where you live in the UK, and whether anyone in the household is earning above a certain limit. This has caused confusion so if Jobcentre Plus says ‘no’, it’s worth checking with an independent advice agency.

Thousands of people miss out on an average £437-worth of free school meals. It’s easy to understand parents worry their kids might face stigma at schools but the more who claim it, the less they’re in the minority. What many people don’t know is the school gets extra funding for each child who receives free school meals. So claim if you can.

Claimants are missing out on thousands due to them in Council Tax support because it comes from
the council, not DWP. Cold Weather Payments could apply to help with winter bills. We should also check if WaterSure or special help from energy suppliers applies, as they minimise bills for claimants.

As low income householders, we should be able to get help with prescriptions and dental treatment. Help with eye tests and eyecare may be available, as could travel to appointments. Grants are available for disabled people needing things around the home. And should the worst happen, there could be help with funeral expenses.

Pregnant mums, or those with children under four, could bag some Healthy Start vouchers. Also a SureStart Maternity Grant. Kids should be eligible free school meals and we should always claim these because the school also receives additional money.

Legal Aid has been a victim of chronic government cuts but it’s worth checking it’s available should we need it. Help with the cost of attending court or tribunals, or visiting prison, may also be available.

Click here for more details on all the above.