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How to get help with food, energy and fuel costs

We've created a page full of information about the governments cost of living payments.

Find out if you are eligible and how to claim them.

Find out more
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Advice and support

The Mencap helpline provides free advice and information for people with a learning disability, as well as where you can find help locally

The Mencap helpline
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Advice about your energy bills 



Reduce the amount of energy you use
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Find out if you can claim benefits
Screenshot of the Turn2Us Benefits Calculator
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What to do if you can’t afford to pay

If you can’t afford to pay your energy bills, your energy supplier can give you emergency credit, but you must tell them you need help.  

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Help with food 

Food banks can give people food in an emergency and sometimes share fuel vouchers to help pay for gas and electricity. You usually need a referral to use a food bank - visit the Citizens Advice website for details.

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The Priority Services Register

Ask to be added to the free Priorities Services Register - a list that energy and water companies use to make sure they offer help to people who need it. 

Cost of living questions

Frequently asked questions around the cost of living crisis 

Is there help for those living in their own home who pay care charges?

If you pay charges for care in your own home, your council should check that you have enough money to live on.

If you think that there are costs that were not looked at when your income was checked, you can ask for your council to look again. 

Find out more

Can I get support to pay my bills?

The Government has made money available to local councils to support people with their bills. This is called the ‘Household Support Grant’.

Contact your local council to see if there is any help for you. 

What is the energy price cap?

The energy price cap is about how much energy companies can charge for gas and electricity.

It changes two times a year.

It went up in April 2022 and it will go up again in October 2022. This means that electricity and gas will be more expensive over the winter when most of us need to use more energy to keep our homes warm, or to cook hot food.

Can my council take any of this money into account for social care charges?

No. Many people with a learning disability who get social care support from their council have to pay money in charges towards their care. The government has said that people get to keep all of the cost of living payments and councils cannot take the payments into account for social care charges. The government has put this into law with new regulations, The Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022

About the payments

Many people with a learning disability who receive benefits will start seeing cost of living support payments into their banks from 14 July 2022. This extra money is for people on low incomes, or who face additional costs because of a disability, to cope with the rising prices of food, energy and other essentials.    

People with a learning disability spend more than non-disabled people on essentials. As benefits are not keeping up with inflation, some people on low incomes are likely to be worse off this year. So while this additional support – up to £1200 paid between July 2022 and March 2023 – is welcome, it might not be enough to cover the rapidly rising prices.  

 If you, or someone you care for, is due to receive these payments, we’re encouraging you to make a plan for how best to use this money.  

When you are planning, remember: 

  • The payments will start in July, but need to last for around 9 months. 

  • Benefits payments are not expected to rise again until April 2023.  

  • The price of essentials will probably continue to increase.  

  • Energy costs are expected to go up again over the winter too.  

What can I do to make a difference?

If you'd like to become a Mencap e-campaigner and make a difference - register today!

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