Government support for families this winter

Rising costs for energy, heating, electricity and especially rises in the cost of the normal weekly shop are all squeezing household budgets. Coupled that with many homeowners having had an increase on their mortgage payments and landlords increasing rents, most households are really feeling the financial strain this winter, more severely than ever before.

While the government has announced some support towards energy costs through this winter, it is only going to make a small difference when compared to the substantial increases in outgoings that families are facing. All households should receive a £400 discount on their electricity bill through the Energy Support Scheme with homes which use home heating oil to receive a further ££200 which will be paid as a discount to their electricity bill. In Northern Ireland all homes will receive the £200 payment whether they use home heating oil or not.  These payments will be made automatically and do not need applied for.

Households in receipt of means tested benefits should already have received the second instalment of the £650 cost of living payment that was announced back in May. This targeted support for households on means-tested benefits will continue in 2023-24 with an additional £900 Cost of Living payment being made.  Pensioner households will receive an additional £300 Cost of Living payment, and individuals on disability benefits will receive an additional £150 Disability Cost of Living payment. Further detail on timing of the payments and eligibility in due course.

With costs rising across the board, including for childcare, we are urging all families to make sure they are receiving all the financial support they are entitled to this winter. A change in circumstances, whether that’s moving into work, using additional childcare or costs increasing may mean you are now eligible or support that you wouldn’t have been able to claim previously. This additional income, no matter how small, could make a significant difference to your household budget at this difficult time.

Our advisors know just how busy this time of year can be, so why not call our Family Benefits Advice Service to ensure you know exactly what support you are entitled to, and how to apply for it. Our skilled advisors are available on 028 9267 8200 or email We provide advice and guidance on a wide range of support including Tax-Free Childcare, Universal Credit, Tax Credits and disability or social security benefits – and the additional support that the government is providing during this cost of living crisis.