Help with the Cost of Living Crisis

The recent Cost of Living increases to essential items, utilities and services are worrying for everyone, but the additional impact on those who support others is likely to become even more difficult. Whether it is keeping those we care for who are ill or disabled, warm or facing increased energy costs if they use electricity to run medical equipment, it is a very real concern.

Information on the Cost of Living Crisis is widely available but there is very little specifically aimed at the needs of unpaid carers.

The resources below may help to support you and have been sourced from reputable organisations such as Devon County Council, Citizen Advice, Which? and Money Saving Expert, etc.

Where to start?

For information for residents who pay their council tax to Devon County Council who are struggling to afford to pay for their energy, water, food or other essential items, including how to access the Household Support Fund, visit the Devon County Council website for: Help with the cost of living

Advice is also available for those who pay their council tax to Torbay Council on the Torbay Council website.

What can you do to support yourself?

Maximise your income

Are you accessing all the benefits that might be entitled to? Are other sources of income available such as funds or grants?

The Government’s website provides information on the latest benefits advice and financial support available with a page dedicated to help for carers. There are also helpful and free online benefits calculators to check what you might be entitled to.

If you are eligible for Universal Credit support, for example if you are on a low income or out of work, the monthly payment may help with your living costs. Visit Understanding Universal Credit will help you understand what Universal Credit means for you and whether you should apply.

Citizen’s Advice Devon provide free, confidential and impartial advice to help people find a way forward, whatever problems they face, including information on the Cost of Living Crisis. You can find help online or visit them at one of their local offices for face-to-face advice.

For benefit advice for working age carers, contact Devon Carers a targeted referral to Citizen’s Advice.

Moneyhelper is a government backed website that provide information and tools for people concerning their finances.

Many charitable funds will help people who have No recourse to public funds – and cannot claim welfare benefits. Visit the Turn2Us website to search for grants.

Minimise your outgoings

Are you paying for something that you no longer use, for example a gym membership or tv on-demand subscriptions?

Move to a cheaper supplier who provides the same service, such as insurance, loans, weekly shopping etc. Note: Remember to factor in any cancellation charges. See below for a list of links which may help you.

Energy saving tips
Tips to reduce your energy bill
Household energy grants
Struggling with energy bills
Top 10 most expensive appliances to run
Running cost calculator
Pay less council tax
Water saving products and advice available free or subsidised to customers of South West Water.

Reduce cost of borrowing, see what deals are available for existing borrowing (such as mortgages, credit cards and loans).

Reduce shopping costs. Move from a premium brand to supermarket own brand, or from one supermarket to another.

Mobile costs many people continue to pay high monthly charges long after the contract ends. Check your existing contract and consider what options are available such as cheaper packages, reduced data size or Sim only.

Broadband social tariffs available for people who receive means-tested state benefit but varies between providers.

What other support is available?

Are you having to decide whether you keep the person you care for warm or cancel health support services?

If you are having to consider changes that will adversely impact on the health and wellbeing of you or your family, please seek advice.

Citizen Advice website

Free debt advice, other debt advice services

Are you struggling with increased stress?

If you are struggling with low mood, anxious thoughts or stress as a result of the cost of living crisis, help is available. TALKWORKS is a free and confidential NHS talking therapy service, to help adults over the age of 18, living in Devon, improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Call 0300 555 3344 or visit: TALKWORKS | Mental Health Support for Devon

Do you need information or advice about caring safely and what support may be available to you?

• Please contact Devon Carers or 03456 434 435

Do you need advice about the person you care for and what support may be available to them?

• For adult care needs, please contact DCC Adult Social Care services on 0845 155 1007
• For children’s care needs, please contact DCC Single Point of Access on 0330 0245 321