Help with the cost of living

We are aware that due to the increase in price of many everyday essentials, including fuel, food and energy, the rising cost of living can create financial difficulties.

There are steps that you can take to ensure you are in the best position to maximise your finances; from practical advice to save on energy, to checking you are in receipt of all eligible allowances, benefits and other forms of financial support:

RAF Cost of Living Infographic (small)

Benefits and Allowances

Check what you may be entitled to – Depending on your income, you may be entitled to claim some Government benefits, even if you are working.  Universal Credit helps with living costs and can help with childcare and housing costs too.

Get help with benefits

Government Grants and Allowances

  • Cost of Living Payment

    The government has issued guidance on getting an extra payment to help with the cost of living if you’re entitled to certain benefits or tax credits.  You may also be eligible for an extra Disability Cost of Living Payment if you receive certain disability benefits.  This should be applies automatically, but you can check if this applies to you here:

    Cost of Living Payment (gov.uk)

  • National Insurance Credits

    Spouses or civil partners of Armed Forces Personnel can apply for National Insurance Credits for periods of time they have spent accompanying their spouse overseas.  This will bridge any gaps in NI payments that contribute towards the State pension.

    National Insurance credits: Eligibility (gov.uk)

  • Marriage Allowance

    Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,260 of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner as long as they earn less than the lower tax threshold of £12,570.  This reduces their tax by up to £252 within one tax year.  If you haven’t claimed, you may be able to backdate a claim to 5 April 2018.

    Marriage Allowance: How it works (gov.uk)

  • Sure Start Maternity Grant

    You could get a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. This is known as a Sure Start Maternity Grant and is available if you receive certain benefits that include Universal Credit and some tax credits.

    Sure Start Maternity Grant: Overview (gov.uk)

  • Help for Service Personnel returning from Overseas

    Service personnel and their families can experience difficulty in accessing commercial products and services due to their mobility and time spent outside the UK. This guidance provides service personnel and their families with top tips on getting a fair deal when they need to access financial services that include car insurance, any issues with no claims bonus for car and house insurance and issues with credit ratings.

    Financial top tips for service personnel (gov.uk)

  • Household support fund

    The government has made £421 million available to Local Authorities to support those on low incomes, with disabilities or families who may not be able to access other forms of support.  This help is known as ‘welfare assistance’ or the ‘Household Support Fund’. You’ll need to check if you can get support and what type of support you can get as each Local Authority operates the scheme in a different way. In the last year support has been available for food, energy, and wider essentials such as school uniforms, household essentials and health costs.  You can check how your local authority is operating the scheme on their website which you can find here:

    Find your local council (gov.uk)

To see further information on the support that is available on the cost of living and supporting your income, go to the Help for Households website (gov.uk)

Financial Support (military charities)

  • Royal Air Force Association

    The Royal Air Force Association has a dedicated welfare team designed to help you, whether you need someone to talk to, help finding financial support, or something else entirely, they can help you find a solution.

    Person-centred support (rafa.org.uk)

  • RAF Benevolent Fund

    The RAF Benevolent Fund can offer support with day to day living or unexpected costs.  They offer tailored initiatives aimed at serving personnel and their families.

    Financial assistance (rafbf.org)

  • The Royal British Legion

    The RBL currently have support in place and can provide specialist compensation advice, help with debt and emergency situations, and can support you through grant applications:

    Finance Advice (rbl.org)

Energy Support

  • Energy Bills support scheme

    The government has introduced the Energy Bills Support Scheme that provides £400 worth of support direct to your energy supplier for your electricity account over six months Oct 22-Mar 23. If you are on a pre-payment scheme you can see how to access this support here:

    Getting the Energy Bills Support Scheme discount (gov.uk)

  • Energy grant from supplier

    If you’re still struggling to pay your bills you should contact your energy supplier. Your supplier has to help you find a solution. Talk to them about a payment plan that works for you – this means making payments you can afford over a fixed period of time.

    If you are in debt to your energy supplier you may be able to apply for a grant to help pay it off.  Each supplier operates a different scheme, you can find the link to most energy suppliers here:

    Grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills – Citizens Advice

    It is worth checking your suppliers website to find out what you need to do before you apply.

  • Warm Home Discount

    You can apply to the Warm Home Discount Scheme in England and Wales if you receive certain means tested benefits or tax credits and your energy supplier is part of the scheme.  You will need to meet some criteria, you can check eligibility here:

    Warm Home Discount Scheme: If you’re on a low income (www.gov.uk)

  • Energy saving trust

    The energy saving trust has some really useful advice on how to save energy when heating your home, reducing home heat loss and how to save money on your energy bills:

    Financial support for home energy efficiency (Energy Saving Trust)

Water support schemes

Talk to your water company as soon as you can. They might let you spread your payments over a longer period or move you to a cheaper contract. If you don’t speak to your water company, they won’t disconnect you. However, they can take you to court, and you might end up paying court costs.

Most water companies have schemes to help you pay your bills – ask your water company when you speak to them.

  • Watersure

    WaterSure is a scheme which helps some people with their water bills. To apply for the scheme, you must be on benefits and need to use a lot of water either for medical reasons or because your household has a certain number of school-age children. You also need to be on a water meter or be waiting to have one installed.  Each water company has different ways of operating their own scheme:

    WaterSure scheme (citizensadvice.org)

Cost of Living support in the Devolved Administrations

The Devolved Administrations operate slightly differently in certain support areas than England. It is always worth checking what support is available if you live in Wales, Scotland and NI. Here are some useful links: