We've all heard about how the cost of living is going up, driven by high fuel prices, increasing food costs and tax rises. This is on top of the financial impact of stroke, where people might not be able to work due to illness, disability or looking after someone. But you may be able to get financial support to help with the rising cost of living.
Check if you are eligible for benefits
A good starting point would be to speak to your local Citizens Advice service. If you use a computer, there are a number of independent benefits calculators that let you find out what benefits you could get, how to claim, and how your benefits will be affected if you start work. You can get a list of organisations which have benefits calculators from gov.uk/benefits-calculators.
Find out about grants
Grants are a less well-known source of financial support than benefits, but could make a big difference if you're on a low income. Grants can be given as products, services or as a sum of money. They're not loans, so don't need to be paid back. They can help with expenses, such as buying a cooker or furniture, or can be used to make adaptations to your home. Each grant will come with its own criteria, but will generally support people in financial need. Turn2us is a national charity, which gives practical help to people who are struggling financially. They have a grants search resource on their website, so you can check what grants might be available to you. Find out more at turn2us.org.uk.
Get help from your local council
Each council runs its own welfare assistance scheme, which could help by giving vouchers to buy a hot meal, pre-owned furniture, or household appliances. These schemes are sometimes called Household Support Funds. Eligibility criteria varies, though you don't have to receive benefits to apply, so check with your local council to see what it offers.
Agree a payment plan with your energy supplier
If you're struggling to pay your gas or electricity bill, contact your supplier as soon as possible. They will talk to you to work out a payment plan that takes into account your income and how much you can afford to pay.
For more information and support
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the spring 2022 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.