If you are struggling to make ends meet, there may be financial help available, depending on your age, needs and income.
The Benefits Agency website has an A-Z of all UK benefits which sets out who could be eligible for each benefit. Some benefits are means-tested but not all.
Unfortunately, the benefits system is so complicated that many people fail to claim money to which they are entitled.
The website EntitledTo will help you find out what benefits you might be able to claim whether you are unemployed or employed, ill or disabled, retired or bringing up a family. Just answer the questions and the calculator will determine what you are entitled to.
The Disability Benefits Centre can advise you on specific disability benefits.
Help in a crisis
The Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) in Wales gives one-off assistance to individuals over 16 who need urgent financial help. There are two types of support (both are non-repayable):
- Emergency Assistance Payments (EAP) – there must be an immediate threat to your health or well-being, e.g. due to a fire, flood or other emergency.
- Individual Assistance Payments (IAP) – enables you, as a vulnerable person, to live or remain living independently.
DAF payments are only available to people with no other means of getting the money they need and are not intended to be ongoing. Freephone: 0800 859 5924 or apply online.
Armed Forces personnel and veterans
There are various kinds of financial help available for Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families, including benefits, council tax relief, reduced travel costs and discounts using the Defence Privilege Card. For more information, visit Citizen’s Advice.
Veterans UK will also offer advice.
Depending on your individual circumstances – and subject to an assessment of your needs – you may also be able to get financial help to pay for minor or major adaptations to your home.
You may be able to get a grant from a charity or benevolent organisation particularly if you are looking for one-off help. Most will only give grants for things you cannot get through state-funded grants or benefits.
Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services.
Certain organisations help specific groups of people, e.g. Margaret’s Fund gives grants for specific items to women who need help (referrals must be from a professional).
Some professional organisations will support members in times of financial hardship.
Borrowing money to pay for essentials can be the beginning of a slippery slope into debt. If you have no alternative but to borrow money to pay for equipment or one-off expenses, look around for the best deals.
If you save regularly with a credit union, you will be able to access a low cost loan when you need it. Call the Credit Unions Wales helpline on 0808 129 4050.