We all need a little support from time to time. The below resources offer advice and practical help with fuel cost, to manage finances and make savings.

Hertfordshire’s Money Advice Unit

Advice for cutting energy bills and keeping bills lower

Help with energy bills

Households will get £400 of support with their energy bills through an expansion of the Energy Bills Support Scheme. This replaces the £200 announced earlier this year. The £400 payment will now be made as a grant and will not be recovered through higher bills in future years. Households with meters will get the support over 6 months from October 2022. Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.

Council Tax and Housing Benefit

Visit Hertsmere Borough Council's - Council Tax Support Page for help with council tax discounts, benefits and exemption.

Pensioners

All pensioner households will get a £300 one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment as a top-up to their annual Winter Fuel Payment in November/December. For most pensioner households, this will be paid by direct debit. People will be eligible for this payment if they are over State Pension age (aged 66 or above) between 19 – 25 September 2022.

£150 Disability Cost of Living Payment

Anyone getting one of the following disability benefits will receive a one-off payment of £150 in September:

  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payment
  • Attendance allowance
  • Armed forces independence payment
  • Constant attendance allowance
  • War pension mobility supplement

Claimants must be in receipt of, or have begun an eventually successful claim for, one of these benefits as of 25th May 2022 to be eligible for this additional payment.

The £150 will be on top of the £650 they will receive separately if getting a means-tested benefit. These payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards. The government will make these payments directly to eligible people across the UK.

For more information view the government's cost of living support factsheet.

Phone and Broadband charges

Ofcom has warned that millions of households could be missing out on £144 a year. Special discounted broadband packages – sometimes known as ‘social tariffs’ – are available to an estimated 4.2 million households getting universal credit for example. However, only 55,000 homes have taken advantage of these discounted rates so far – just 1.2% of those eligible.

Check with the broadband supplier to see what they can offer.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund helps those in most need with payments towards the rising cost of food, energy, and water bills. It is administered by the County Council and has been extended to March 2023.

For more information please contact HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044 or email info@hertshelp.net

Foodbank Support in Hertsmere

If you are in a crisis and require emergency food support please contact one of our three foodbanks for help right now:

For Borehamwood Foodbank please call 020 3583 1109.

For Potters Bar Foodbank please call 01707 876060.

For The Red Trust Bushey Foodbank please call 07483260440.

Support for Families Eligible for Free School Meals

 Hertfordshire County Council have agreed that one of the ways they can help residents is to provide supermarket vouchers for families receiving benefit related free school meals during the summer holidays. Schools will contact parents and carers who are already in receipt of free school meals directly.

Check if you're eligible for free school meals

Families can choose to use these supermarket vouchers for food and essentials like blankets, bedding and warm clothing.

HAPpy camps

Hertfordshire County Council are funding HAPpy camps this summer to help local families when they need it most. Bookings are now open and schools will have access to your child’s HAPpy Booking Code, if you have not received your code, please contact your school office, or email haf@herts.ac.uk.

For more information, visit: https://sportinherts.org.uk/booking

Bounce Back Checklist

IncomeMax, has produced the Bounce Back Checklist that details benefits, grants and organisations that can help, including details of where to get money advice

Money and Pensions Service (MaPS)

MaPS have launched a new find you way forward guidance on their MoneyHelper website aimed at people who:

For people who are already missing payments on their bills or credit commitments, then free debt advice services are available via their locator tool

Based on learning from the Hertsmere Food Poverty Alliance, Hertsmere Borough Council has worked with the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) to co-produce a ‘Worrying about Money?’ leaflet for the residents of Hertsmere aimed at reducing the need for charitable food aid. These resources have been co-designed to help people experiencing financial insecurity, and anyone supporting them, to easily identify and access local advice providers and ways to access existing entitlements and maximise income. Please view the leaflet here

Credit Unions

Local Credit Unions, which are not-for-profit savings and loans schemes. For an explanation on what credit unions do and how they help individuals, families, and communities, visit: https://www.abcul.coop/credit-unions/about-credit-unions

StepChange

StepChange is a charity that helps thousands of people overcome debt every week. They provide:

  • 60-second debt test - answer a few simple questions to find out if you need debt advice, and what your next steps could be
  • Debt Remedy tool - answer questions about your financial situation to understand what to do next, where to get further support and guidance and how to start to take control of your money
  • Guide to the Breathing Space Scheme - this is a guide to the government scheme which could help relieve some of the pressure and stress caused by being in debt.

HMRC

HMRC have published a new landing page bringing together the support which sits with them, available to help with the cost of living. It includes help with childcare, tax relief, help with savings, help if you can’t pay for your tax bill and information on the Marriage Allowance.

Other Support

Citizens Advice  0344 4111 444

Online information: Information about local CA and opening times