Cash in a crisis
You may be able to get help and support with essentials if your income is low.
Benefits and help with rent
Make sure you claim all the benefits you can.
Use the entitledto benefits calculator to see what you could claim.
You may be able to get help with your rent and living costs from universal credit.
Universal credit may not always be the best option. In some cases you may be able to:
get statutory sick pay
claim other benefits if you're self employed
Find out more about how to get help with rent.
Universal credit advance payments
When you make your first universal credit claim, it'll be at least 5 weeks before you get your first payment.
If you need money quickly, you can apply for a universal credit advance. You'll have to pay this back through deductions from your normal payments over the next 2 years.
Emergency financial help
Your council may have a local welfare assistance scheme for people in extreme hardship. This can help with the cost of essentials like food, bills, clothing and household items.
If your income is affected by the coronavirus outbreak, your council may be able to offer you extra financial support or help with essentials. Check their website for details.
Help with a rent shortfall
If you claim universal credit or housing benefit, councils can make a discretionary housing payment to help you top up a rent shortfall.
You make a DHP claim directly to your council.
Contact your council's discretionary housing payments team
What is your location?
Help with council tax
Check if you qualify for a:
Coronavirus update: beware of scams
Don't reply to emails about coronavirus from people you don't know. Don't click on any links or provide personal or financial details.
Citizens Advice have more information on how to check if something's a scam.
Support with free food
Contact your local food bank if you need help with food.
Check if coronavirus means there are ongoing changes to how you can access their support.
You can search for your local food bank and find out about support on the Trussell Trust website.
If the NHS has contacted you to say you're extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, you can still ask your council for help with essentials like food or care if you need to.
Free school meals
During the pandemic, some parents received scam emails which asked for bank details for free school meals. Always delete these emails and don't give bank details.
Your child should still be able to get help with food through their school if they qualify for free school meals. Contact your school for details.
Help with energy bills
If you’re struggling to pay gas and electricity bills because of the coronavirus outbreak, speak to your supplier immediately.
You could get support such as reduced bills or debt repayments, or more time to pay.
If you have a pre payment meter, they could, for example:
arrange for someone else to top up your meter
add credit to your account automatically
send you a pre loaded top up card
You may be able to get a short term loan from a credit union.
Last updated: 27 September 2021