Help with Financial Support and Benefits Advice The National Kidney Federation (NKF) have collated a variety of financial support and benefits advice. With the cost-of-living crisis hitting everyone hard in the UK right now, costs of energy bills and the overall costs going up, we want to provide as much help as we can to patients and loved ones. This comprehensive web page provides information on guidance such as whether you may be eligible for extra financial support, what government payments are available, how to save effectively, what steps you can take to improve energy efficiency and usage, benefits advice and so much more.Our Freephone NKF Helpline is also available to reach in times of need, available Monday to Thursday 08:30 am - 5:00 pm Friday 8.30 am – 12.30 pm on 0800 169 09 36 or email [email protected]. Contents Help for households - get government cost of living support Cost of living support factsheet I am struggling to pay my bills, what do I do? Am I eligible for extra financial support? What government payments are available? What steps can I take to improve my energy efficiency and usage? Using a food bank Other websites for support Benefits Advice Concerned by ESA or PiP? NKF Meeting the Cost of Home Dialysis Treatment Campaign New reimbursement toolkit for home dialysis Help for households - get government cost of living support Please find the following link for information and support from the government website here.Cost of living support factsheetThe Government have published a factsheet (17th November 2022) which details the new support set out in the Autumn Statement 2022. This support covers direct income support, help with energy bills, benefits uprating and changes to personal tax and the National Living Wage. The factsheet also includes information on support available this winter, and case study examples of how the new support will benefit different household types. To view the factsheet click here. I am struggling to pay my bills, what do I do?If you urgently need to pay your bills or top up your prepayment meter and are struggling to do so, call your supplier straight away.Suppliers can provide: ‘Friendly hours’ credit Additional support credit Emergency credit If you have a debt to repay on a meter, your supplier should work with you to create an affordable debt-repayment plan.There may also be extra support available from your suppliers if: Your circumstances have changed You need more time to pay You or someone living with you has a disability, has young children, is elderly, or has a long term illness (inc relying on an electricity supply for medicine or equipment) The suppliers contact details to call should be on your bill or statement. There are many other national or local organisations that can also offer help and advice such as:Citizens Advice Get free confidential and impartial advice on a range of topics including: How you can switch suppliers What to do if you’re struggling to pay your bills or are in debt Consumer rights How to save money on your energy bills Advice on work, housing, benefits, debt, money and much more Visit: citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/ Call: 0808 2231133 National Debtline Get advice on important debts such as rent or mortgage arrears and support if creditors take court action. Their website also helps people budget better and looks for ways to increase their income. Visit: nationaldebtline.org Call: 0808 808 4000Am I eligible for extra financial support? Many energy suppliers offer Energy Company Obligation (ECO) schemes to their customers who are struggling to pay for an energy debt to help improve the ability of low income, fuel poor and vulnerable households to heat their homes. Some schemes may also be available to customers who require a household appliance to replace one that’s in poor working condition or that is broken.To find out if you are eligible for the above extra financial help, contact your energy supplier to see if any schemes are available and if you reach the eligibility criteria. You can also visit the below services for more support and advice: Charis Grants Fuel Bank Foundation What government payments are available? These are payments made directly to you by the government if you meet certain eligibility criteria. Cold Weather Payment You may get Cold Weather Payments if you're getting certain benefits or support for mortgage interest.If you're eligible, you'll get these payments automatically. The payments do not affect your other benefits.You'll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. You'll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November 2023 and 31 March 2024.If you're eligible, check if you any payments are due in your area of England or Wales or check if any payments are due in your area of Northern Ireland. Winter Fuel Payment If you were born before 25 September 1957 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. The amount you’ll get includes a ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’. This is between £150 and £300. You’ll only get this extra amount in winter 2023 to 2024. This is in addition to any Cost of Living Payment you get with your benefit or tax credits. For more information and to check if you qualify visit: https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-paymentWhat steps can I take to improve my energy efficiency and usage? Steps with no cost to improve energy efficiency: Switch off lights around the house that aren’t being used Unplug appliances that are on standby Use the economy button on washing machines and other appliances Steps with a cost to improve energy efficiency: Draught proofing Floor insulation Roof and loft insulation Upgrading windows and doors Add hot cylinder and pipe insulation Energy efficient lighting Use low carbon heating For more information and support regarding your energy supply, in relation to the National Grid warning of energy outages this winter and advice on joining the Priority Services Register, please visit our energy supply web page here. Using a food bankIf you are looking for a food bank, you will usually need to get a referall to a food bank before you can use it. If you are looking for a food bank in your local area Citizens Advice can help make an appointment to discuss your situation with an adviser. Your local council also might be able to tell you how to get a referall to a food bank, when you contact them, ask if there's a local welfare assistance scheme that can help you as well as the food bank. You might be able to get vouchers for things like clothes or petrol. If you need to use the food bank again, please bear in mind that if you needed a referral to use the food bank initially, you'll need to get another one before you return. Other websites for support:Vulnerability Registration Service StepChangeThe Money Charity Turn2UsMoney HelperMoney Saving ExpertAge UKCarers UKBenefits Advice For benefits advice please visit the NKF web page: www.kidney.org.uk/benefits-information-for-patients-and-carers Concerned by ESA or PiP? Essential guides to Employment and Support Allowance and also to Personal Independence Payments are now available from c-App. The site contains essential guides to ESA and PIP, in long and short versions, and a video covering the same ground as the short version. Most importantly, they contain a tool which allows users to test out the sort of questions they might be asked in the assessment, and to save a list of their key answers in advance of the assessment. To access the c-APP Home page please Click here For the ESA guides please Click here For the PIP guides please Click hereFor further information and guidance to personal independence payment regulations and case law Click hereMeeting the cost of home dialysis treatment – together we canWith utility bills surging to a new record high, the National Kidney Federation (NKF) have heard from home dialysis patients that they are considering to return to hospital (in-centre) for their dialysis treatment, as they can no longer afford to have their lifesaving treatment from the comfort of their home.With this in mind, the NKF are campaigning to make home dialysis affordable for patients, which gives the freedom of choice to dialyse at home and be reimbursed suitably to cover the costs of treatment.New reimbursement toolkit for home dialysisThe NKF alongside other kidney charities and professional bodies have been working with the UKKA Kidney Patient Safety Committee. Together we have produced a toolkit to support reimbursement of additional utility costs for home dialysis. We are pleased that this toolkit has been produced to assists trusts with reimbursing patients who dialyse at home. For more information visit here.