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The rising cost of living is a source of worry for many older people, but there is support available to ease the strain.

Read on to see which funds you are eligible for.

Household Support Fund

Age UK Solihull is administering the Household Support Fund for Solihull residents of State Pension Age who are on low incomes and struggling with the cost of living*.

The types of support available may include:

  • Access to food
  • Items to help you keep warm e.g. electric blankets, duvets
  • Essential household items e.g. cooker, fridge, bed
  • Energy Debt
  • Energy/Fuel Top-Up Vouchers
  • Other essential support that falls within the scheme criteria

To apply to the Age UK Solihull Household Support Fund Scheme please telephone 0121 704 7844 (answer-machine) or email:
partners@ageuksolihull.org.uk

Working age households should apply to Solihull Council. Telephone 0121 704 8284 or email: financialinclusion@solihull.gov.uk

*Eligibility criteria apply. For the purpose of this scheme, low income households are defined as:

  • Single Pensioner Household less than £349 per week*
  • Couple Pensioner Household less than £515 per week*
  • Savings of no more than £6,000

*Includes all income from state pensions, private/other pensions, employment. Disability Benefits do not count as income.

Priority is given to households not in receipt of government cost of living payments. Funding is limited.

Low income benefits and tax credits Cost of Living Payment

You may be entitled to a Cost of Living Payment of £299 if you get any of the following benefits or tax credits on certain qualifying dates:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

The payment will be made separately from your benefit payments.

You will not get a payment if you are only getting New Style ESA, contributory ESA, or New Style JSA.

If you have a joint claim on the qualifying dates, a single payment of £299 will be sent using the same payment method used between these dates, if you’re eligible.

When you will not be eligible: ‘Nil awards’

You will not be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment if your benefit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying period. This is sometimes called a ‘nil award’.

For example, if you get Universal Credit, reasons your benefit may be reduced to £0 include getting more than one payment of earnings, your or your partner’s earnings go up, your or your partner’s savings go up, you start getting another benefit.

If money has been taken off for other reasons (such as payments of rent to your landlord or for money that you owe), you might still be eligible.

When you’ll be paid

If you’re entitled, you will get £299 paid between 6 and 22 February 2024.

If you get tax credits, and no other low income benefits, you’ll get your Cost of Living Payment from HMRC shortly after DWP payments begin, if you’re eligible.

If you’re getting both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, you will receive a Cost of Living Payment for Child Tax Credit only, which will be paid by HMRC.

If you’re getting tax credits from HMRC and a low income benefit from DWP, you cannot get a Cost of Living Payment from both HMRC and DWP. You will usually be paid by DWP only.

Your payment might come later, for example if you’re awarded a qualifying benefit at a later date or you change the account your benefit or tax credits are paid into. You will still be paid the Cost of Living Payment automatically.

If you have received a Cost of Living Payment, but we later find that you were not eligible for it, you may have to pay it back.

Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

If you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023 to 2024, you will get an extra £150 or £300 paid with your normal payment from November 2023.

The full amount of Winter Fuel Payment (including the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment) you will get for winter 2023 to 2024 depends on when you were born and your circumstances during the qualifying dates.

You can get a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023 to 2024 if you were born before 24 September 1957.

This guidance will be updated with the qualifying dates for the payment when they are published.

You will be sent a letter in October or November telling you how much Winter Fuel Payment you’ll get if you’re eligible.

Helping to keep you warm, safe and well this winter

Age UK Solihull and the Community Advice Hubs are working hard to help vulnerable households keep warm this winter. This includes people over 75 and those living with disabilities, long term conditions such as respiratory and heart conditions, and other illnesses that mean they are more at risk during the cold weather, for example, diabetes and dementia.

If you are vulnerable to the effects of the cold we may be able to support you with:

  • An electric underblanket
  • A warm duvet
  • A fleece blanket
  • Temporary heaters
  • Support with fuel debt
  • Replacing broken white goods

If you need advice on keeping warm during this difficult winter please ring the Winter Warmth Helpline on 0121 704 8080. You may need to leave a message and we will call you back.

More about the Solihull Winter Warmth Campaign

More tips and information

Age UK (national) has a dedicated page outlining information on how older people can stay well as costs rise, and top tips for looking after their health during this time.