If you’re struggling to pay your energy costs, it’s important to get as much help with energy bills as you can.
Benefits and tax credits are there to support you financially. There are lots of different ways to qualify, so make sure you’re not missing out.
What are benefits?
Benefits are payments from the government. You usually get them if you’re on a low income, or if your situation means you need extra help. For example, you might need extra financial help if:
- You are elderly
- You are out of work
- Your partner has died
- You are sick or disabled
- You have caring responsibilities
- You are pregnant or have children
Means-tested versus non-means-tested benefits
Benefits are either means-tested or non-means-tested.
If a benefit is means-tested, how much you get depends on your income and savings. The lower your income and savings, the higher the payment.
Housing benefit is an example of a means-tested benefit. With Housing benefit, you get money to help pay your rent. How much help you get is affected by how much you have in savings.
If a benefit is non-means-tested, your income or savings don’t usually affect the payment you get. The amount you get depends on other things.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is an example of a non-means-tested benefit. With DLA, you get money to help with mobility and care if you have a disability. Your income and savings don’t affect how much you get. The amount you get will depend on how much support you need.
What benefits can I get?
To find out what benefits you can get, it’s best to use a free online Benefit Checker. We’d recommend this one from entitledto. Unlike some other benefit checkers, entitledto’s tool includes the benefits you can get through Social Security Scotland.
If you don’t want to use an online benefit checker, you could call Citizens Advice Scotland on 0800 028 1456.
What you’ll need for a benefits check
What benefits you can get depend on your situation. For any benefits check, you’ll be asked about your circumstances. Getting information ready beforehand will help you answer the questions.
Most benefit checks will ask about:
- Your income. This includes your earnings, plus any benefits you already get.
- Your household income. This includes the earnings and benefits of a partner or any grown-up children who live with you.
- Your savings, investments, and any other capital you have.
- How much you pay in council tax.
- How much you pay in rent, mortgage, or service charges.