Many of us in East Sussex are struggling with the cost of living and, as winter begins, a little extra help may be welcome.
We’ve rounded up some of the offers and advice that might be useful for you or someone you know.
In this newsletter you can find out how to…
Apply for lower cost broadband and phone tariffs
Register as a priority customer for water and power services
Ask for a free warm homes check
Protect yourself or others from loan sharks
Make some simple preparations in case of a power cut
…and much more. Let’s look after ourselves and each other through this winter and through these tough times.
Low-cost broadband and phone service packages, called social tariffs, are on offer for people on low incomes. They’re open to people who claim Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits, with deals from £15 a month.
There are more than 40 offers that you may be able to ask for – there’s an online tool to check what support you might qualify for.
Did you know that power and water companies give priority help to some customers when services are interrupted? But first you need to register for this help.
People who may qualify include pensioners, families with children under five, people with disability, serious illness or mental health difficulty and people who rely on medical equipment or refrigerated medicine.
Either South East Water or Southern Water will be your water supplier:
Find out if you can get a free warm homes check to see if you’re getting the financial support available to stay warm at home.
There are also thrifty winter tips to help everyone keep your home as warm as possible. See the Warm East Sussex website to apply for a check or get more advice.
Up to 1 million pensioners are entitled to Pension Credit but are not claiming it. They are missing out on an average payment of £65 a week for people on a low income and over state pension age. Even pensioners who own their home, or have savings, may still qualify.
Applying for pension credit before 18 December will also allow those accepted to receive a second extra cost of living payment of £324.
Loan sharks (illegal money lenders who charge sky-high interest) are especially dangerous in the run-up to Christmas when they sign up one in 10 of their victims.
If you, or someone or you know, has borrowed from a loan shark you can get practical help and emotional support from the Stop Loan Sharks campaign. You can also safely report a loan shark so that they will be investigated.
What would you do in a power cut? There’s no particular reason to expect power outages but storm damage or supply problems can never be ruled out.
It’s a good idea to think about some simple preparations you could take now in case the worst happens. For example, preparing a ‘grab bag’ with some bottled water, a torch, radio, batteries and any important medicines.
There are some more suggestions for being ‘Winter Ready’ on the Met Office’s website.
All of our latest help and advice on the cost of living and staying warm is collected in one place on our website and is kept updated. There are sections on money, food, heating, mental health, benefits, employment and much more.
Please take a look and bookmark the page if it’s helpful.