A white male with a beard and shaved head, stands in his kitchen. The kitchen has grey cabinets and a large window. The man is holding a household bill in his hand and is looking worried.

Hundreds of thousands of households missed rent or mortgage payments last month - but there is help you can claim.

Consumer group Which? said around 700,000 people failed to pay key bills in April as the cost of living continues to soar. We hear from parents every day are in arrears on their household bills, including rent and mortgage payments. If this sounds like you, you're not alone. Please use this article to seek any help you may be entitled to. 

Where to get help with bills or debt

A range of cost-of-living support is available. A great place to find the most up to date information is helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk 

As part of the support being given, millions of households across the UK are receiving a £301 payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) between now and May 17.

The payment reference for bank accounts will be “DWP COLP”, along with the claimant’s national insurance number.

It is the first of three payments, totalling up to £900, for those eligible and on means-tested benefits, such as universal credit or pension credit, in 2023/24.

Welfare Assistance schemes

Many local councils have Welfare Assistance schemes to help struggling families.

Help available varies, but you could get free cash, food vouchers, and help for bills like rent and energy.

Check with your council to see whether you are eligible and what you can claim. Your local Citizen's Advice Centre or Benefits Office should be able to help signpost you. 

a silver pen sits on a pad of lined white paper. The text reads, rent, bills and then the writing fades.

Household Support Fund

This is another scheme you can access through your local council.

It's designed to help those in most need with payments towards the rising cost of food, energy, and water bills.

Check with your council directly to see what's on offer as some share money with charities which can then give you cash or food vouchers.

Some councils restrict how often you can apply for money through this scheme to once a year, so double-check.

Check your benefits entitlement

Even though the government is stopping much of the cost of living help currently on offer, some people will still be able to get financial support.

You can find free-to-use online benefits calculators to work out what you're entitled to.

Entitledto's free calculator works out whether you qualify for various benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit.

Make sure you have key financial information to hand, such as bank and savings statements, and information on pensions and existing benefits.

If you live with a partner or family, get their basic financial information together too as this could affect your claim.

Contact your provider

All mortgage lenders and other essential services providers will help you if you're struggling to keep up with bills.

Even if you're not in trouble yet but you're worried you might be soon, call your energy company, broadband provider or lender to get a plan in place.

Free and confidential debt advice

Citizens Advice is a free and impartial service which will help you come up with a plan to get on top of your debt including which payments to prioritise and how to reduce your living costs.

The organisation's website has a useful page with advice on many aspects of debt, but you can contact them directly by phone, online or in person for more personalised help.

StepChange is another free advice service offering support and guidance online or over the phone, and it's completely confidential. Read more about Stepchange. 

Grants for children's essential items

The Fashion & Textile Children's Trust can offer grants for children's essential items, to help parents and carers working in the UK fashion and textile industry. 

If you have experienced a sudden loss of income, an unexpected change in circumstances or a family event which has caused financial hardship, check our criteria to see if you could apply. Read more about our grants. 

Related reading: 

Debt Advice: StepChange

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