Cost of living: other organisations that could help (Scotland)
Help from benefits
Make sure you’re getting all the benefits you should be. It’s estimated that at least seven million people aren’t claiming the benefits they should be, and any extra income will help you pay for essential items.
There are lots of different types of benefits. Each benefit has its own set of rules. What you are entitled to will depend on your personal circumstances. It can be affected by things such as your age, household income, savings, National Insurance contribution (NIC) record and whether you are able to work.
We have listed some of the main benefits below, if you click on the relevant benefit you’ll find more information about the benefit, the eligibility criteria and how to apply.
You can do a free personalised benefits check with Turn2us in less than 10 minutes. Millions of people already have, so don’t miss out: go to Turn2us website and see what you could get.
Out of work and low income
- Universal Credit is now the main benefit for people who are out of work or are on a low income. Depending on your situation, Universal Credit can also help with housing costs, the costs of raising a child and childcare costs.
- If you are looking for work, you may be able to claim New Style Jobseekers’ Allowance.
- If you have a low income or receive benefits, you may be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction.
If you have children from a former relationship, check you are getting the correct amount of child maintenance. You can find advice and arrange child maintenance on the GOV.UK website. If you are unable to use the website, you can speak to a Child Maintenance Service case worker on 0800 171 2345.
- The Scottish Child Payment is a £20 weekly payment for children aged under 6.
- If eligible, Universal Credit can help with the costs of raising a child and childcare.
- Most people with children can also claim Child Benefit.
- You may be able to claim Maternity Allowance if you need to take time off work to have a baby.
- Best Start Grants and Best Start Foods are payments that help towards the costs of being pregnant or looking after a child.
- A sure start Maternity Grant is £500 that can help with the costs of having a child if you receive certain benefits
Ill or disabled
- Personal Independence Payments can help people aged over 16 with the costs of a long-term health condition or disability. The Scottish Government has started the process of moving Personal Independence Payment to the Adult Disability Payment.
- If you are employed but too ill to work, you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.
- New Style Employment and Support Allowance can help people who do not receive Statutory Sick Pay but have limited capability to work due to illness or disability. It can be claimed alongside Universal Credit.
- If you look after someone who is ill or disabled for at least 35 hours per week, you may be able to claim Carer's Allowance.
- Carer's Allowance Supplement is an extra payment for people in Scotland who get Carer's Allowance on a particular date.
People over pension age
- You may be able to claim Pension Credit if you are over state pension age and are on a low income.
- If you are aged 75 or over and you, or your partner, is eligible for Pension Credit you will also receive a free TV Licence.
- Depending on your situation Universal Credit has a housing element which can help with your rent, or you may be able to claim Housing Benefit.
- If you receive certain benefits and own a property you may be able to claim Support for Mortgage Interest to help you with your mortgage costs.
Help from charitable grants
Lots of organisations have set up charitable funds that give grants if you are in financial difficulty. This is money that could help make your situation easier to manage and you do not need to pay it back.
Each organisation has its own rules for who it will help. These vary and could, for example, be based on:
- where you live;
- you, or your partner's, current or previous job;
- whether you have any medical needs; or
- your financial situation.
Turn2us can search over 1,600 charitable grants for you. Use the turn2us Grants Search tool to find charitable organisations that might be able to help you. Go to https://grants-search.turn2us.org.uk. It takes less than five minutes on average.
See our Help from charitable organisations fact sheet for more information along with tips on applying for a grant.
Several energy providers have charitable grants that can help people to pay their bills if they are in financial difficulty. Details of any grants will be on your energy supplier’s website. You can also find water and energy grants through the turn2us grants search.
Help from government support schemes
The government has announced a range of support to help households with rising energy bills and living costs.
Cost of Living Payment. You may be eligible for a payment of up to £650 if you are getting certain benefits or tax credits.
The payment will be made in two instalments.
To be eligible for the first instalment you must have been entitled, or later be found to be entitled to payment of:
- Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit (or a tax credit annual award of at least £26) for any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022;
- Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022; or
- either income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit on any day during the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.
To be eligible for the second instalment you must have been entitled, or later be found to be entitled to payment of:
- Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit (or a tax credit annual award of at least £26) for any day in the period 26 August 2022 to 25 September 2022.
- Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 August 2022 to 25 September 2022; or
- either income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit on any day during the period 26 August 2022 to 25 September 2022.
If you are eligible, payments will be made into the account you have your benefit paid into.
- If you are eligible because you receive Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit, the first instalment of £326 should have been paid to you by 7 September 2022 and the second payment of £324 will be made shortly after 23 November 2022.
- If you are eligible because you receive another qualifying benefit, the first instalment of £326 should have been paid to you by 31 July 2022 and the second payment of £324 will be made between 8 and 23 November 2022
If you believe that you should have had a payment but have not yet received it, you should contact the office that pays your benefit. You can find more information on the GOV.UK page report a missing Cost of Living Payment.
The government has announced a further £900 Cost of Living Payment for 2023-24. We will update this page with more detail when we have it.
For more information, see GOV.UK.
Disability Cost of Living Payment. You may be eligible for a one-off payment of £150 if you are getting one of the following qualifying benefits: Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Adult Disability Payment, Child Disability Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance, Armed Forces Independent Payment or War Pension Mobility Supplement.
To be eligible, you will need to have received (or later receive) a payment of a qualifying benefit for 25 May 2022.
If you are eligible, you should have received the payment in September 2022. The £150 is in addition to any entitlement you have for the £650 Cost of Living Payment.
For more information, see GOV.UK.
Cost of Living Award. You may be eligible for an award of £150 if on 14 February 2022 you were:
- in receipt of Council Tax Reduction; or
- occupying a household in council tax bands A-D.
The award does not have to be repaid. Some councils may provide the award by reducing your 2022-23 council tax bill rather than paying you directly. For more information on how the award will be made to you, contact your local council.
With the cost-of-living increases affecting so many people, the government has announced support schemes that may help you with paying for some of your essential items. See the Dealing with high gas and electricity bills section for more information.
The government has announced a further £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment for 2023-24. We will update this page with more detail when we have it.
Pensioner Cost of Living Payment.
The Winter Fuel Payment is a one-off, tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 that is made during the winter to help with heating costs if you are eligible for the payment. For winter 2022-23 , this payment will be topped up with a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment of between £150 to £300.
You may be eligible for the payment if you were born on or before 25 September 1956.
The payment is normally made in November or December. It is usually paid automatically to anybody who is eligible, but in some circumstances you may have to apply for the payment.
The government has announced a further £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment for 2023-24. We will update this page with more detail when we have it.
For more information, see GOV.UK.
Welfare assistance scheme
- If you are on a low income, you may be able to get a Crisis Grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund to help in an emergency situation, such as not having enough money for food or to put your heating on. For more information, see mygov.scot.
- Your local council will also have its own services to help with the cost of living crisis. You can find out what help your local council has on the my.gov.uk website.
The Scottish Government website also has a Cost of Living Support guide. The guide covers a range of support that may be available, including possible help for children and families and possible help through benefits.