How to claim hardship grants during Covid-19

Hardship grants during Covid-19 can help those in financial difficulty.

Charitable trusts make grants as one off payments to help you out of a difficult patch. You don’t need to pay them back, but they can be hard to get…

Grant making schemes are accessible if you meet certain criteria. Often this depends on your current or former occupation. Where you live or place of birth may help you qualify for a grant. If you’re in ill health or have a disability, there are grant-making organisations ready to help.

Additionally, there are gas, electricity and water companies with grant making functions. These may help you pay off arrears.

Examples of some grant making bodies are provided below. However there 100s more. The Turn2Us Grant Finder provides a detailed overview of available grants.

Low income and in financial difficulty?

Grants are generally only available for people on low incomes, in financial difficulty. You’ll usually be expected to show that you’ve claimed all the benefits and tax credits you’re entitled to.

Some grants may be restricted to people with disabilities. It is unlikely that you would get a grant if you had savings, although some grant-making bodies do allow savings of up to £5,000. Check the criteria for each provider.

Funds are limited. Because of this, grants have to be prioritised. Your position may be very difficult, but not every application will be successful.

It is always good to seek advice where possible, so you can make the strongest application with the best chance of success.

Help with utility bills

Many gas, electricity and water companies provide grants if you’re behind with your bill.

The examples given below are just a small selection of available grants. Just because your supplier isn’t listed doesn’t mean that they can’t help. If you’re behind with your bills and on a low income, it’s worth contacting them to see what support may be available.

For example, the British Gas Energy Trust provides grants to pay off gas and electricity debts owed to any energy supplier. You need to be named on the bill and be referred by a money advice agency.

EDF Energy’s Customer Support Fund provides help to clear arrears owed to EDF. The fund also helps people buy essential energy efficient cookers, refrigerators, or washing machines.

United Utilities offer help paying a water bill during Covid-19 if you’re on a low income.

These aren’t the only water company with schemes. At the time of writing, 21 water companies provide some form of assistance. Speak to your supplier if you are in difficulty. See what they offer.

Occupational grant schemes

Armed forces are well represented amongst grant making bodies.

The Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen and Families Association can help people who’ve received at least one day’s pay from the Armed Forces. Assistance is also available for the immediate family of someone who served.

SSAFA might be able to offer help with buying household goods and health care. Read more.

The Royal Navy Benevolent Trust, the Royal British Legion and The Royal Air Forces Association are three more examples of support services. And there are many more.

If you’ve worked in the construction industry longer than any other trade, have savings under £6,000 and are claiming benefits, the Lighthouse Club may be able to help.

The National Federation of Roofing Contractors has established a Bereavement Support Fund. This helps families of roofers who have died from Covid-19, providing grants of up to £2,000.

Grocery Aid helps people working in the grocery trade for more than one year, or those who left after at least five years’ service. The charity is providing support to people who have suffered a reduction in income because of Covid-19.

RetailTRUST provides support for people currently or formerly working in the retail sector. They can help with a range of support including priority bills, home repairs and disability items.

The hospitality sector has been hit hard by Covid-19. As a result, a number of grant-making bodies have been responding. These include Hospitality Action, who are providing Covid-19 grants of up to £250 for people who are directly involved providing food, drink and accommodation. The Licensed Trade Charity,  also provides support for those working in pubs, bars and restaurants.

Visit Turn2Us and search grants by occupation to see if you qualify.

Health issues

If you are affected by a particular health condition you may be able to apply for a hardship grants during Covid-19.

If you’re a stroke survivor with less than £6,000 in savings and under £75 disposable weekly income, you could apply to the Stroke Association. They don’t fund the paying off of debts, but can help with medical related expenses. A health professional will need to refer you.

Gardner’s Trust for the Blind provides grants to individuals who are registered blind or partially sighted. The Trust considers applications for computer equipment, software, education or training costs and some household items. The next deadline is 18 November.

If you have a long-term illness or severe disability, are in financial need, live at home or who wish to do so, Independence at Home is worth a look. They might be able to help with the cost of mobility and disability equipment, home adaptations and other essential items.

Next steps

The above is by no means an exhaustive list. Speak to a money adviser to find out more about claiming hardship grants during Covid-19.

When searching for grants it is a good idea to have to hand:

  • Work history and proof of occupation.
  • Information relating to any disabilities or ill health.
  • A thought-through reason why you are applying for help.
  • Details of your income and expenditure.
  • Facts about your debts and other financial problems.

About Adrian Davies

With a background in money advice, Adrian's been campaigning for fairer finance for 25 years.

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