Help with housing costs and bills

Mum on sofa and dad on the floor at home playing with their premature baby

Information on help with housing costs and bills for families of babies born premature or sick.

Are you worried about finances? Try our new Finance Hub to find specific information and practical help.

Housing Benefit and Universal Credit

Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you are unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. It is being replaced by Universal Credit. Visit the government website for more information about Universal Credit.

Help with heating costs

If you are having trouble paying your heating bills, contact your supplier immediately to let them know your circumstances. They should work with you to find a solution.

Find out about your rights because in some cases, they are not allowed to disconnect your supply.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) in England, Scotland and Wales pays for support with installing installation and energy-efficiency related heating measures.

Some people can also get Cold Weather Payments to help with the cost of fuel bills during the coldest times of the year.

Who can claim

If you own your own home (or have your landlord’s permission) and are receiving certain means-tested benefits, you may be able to get ECO.

If you get one of the main benefits for people on a low income, you might also get Cold Weather Payments because you have a young child.

You don’t have to apply for Cold Weather Payments – you will get these automatically if you qualify because you are on other benefits.

You might also be able to get a grant through your energy supplier, as some companies have schemes for people on low incomes.

Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Reduction is for people in England, Scotland and Wales on a low income who need help paying their council tax. It is managed by your local council. Your council tax bill could be reduced and some people do not have to pay any council tax.

If you live in Northern Ireland and receive Universal Credit, you may be eligible for Housing Benefit and Rate Relief or Rate Rebate. Find more information about eligibility.

Who can claim

If you are on a low income and find it hard to pay your council tax – whether you are in work or not – you should see if you are eligible. Your claim will depend on your circumstances, such as your income, whether someone in the family is disabled and whether another person in your household should pay council tax. It will also depend on where you live, as each council runs its own scheme.

If you have a lot of savings, you might not be able to get this benefit. Even if you can’t get it, you might be eligible for a discount - for example, if you are the only adult living in the house or if someone in your home has a disability. It’s worth checking with your council.

Help with your mortgage

If you are struggling with bills, paying your mortgage is a top priority. If you are falling behind on your payments, you will need to make an arrangement with your lender.

Once you have explained your circumstances, your lender might be willing to work out a temporary agreement if you have a good payment record.

You might want to talk with an independent expert adviser before you approach your lender. This is especially true if you have other debts to sort out.

There are many sources of free advice (see below). You have to act quickly, though. Some people on a low income can get benefits to help meet part of their mortgage costs.

Who can claim

If you are getting Universal Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Pension Credit, you might be able to get help with part of your mortgage costs. Anyone in difficulty can seek independent advice and contact their mortgage lender.

Where you can find out more about these benefits