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District Dispatch - 18 May 2022

The past couple of years have been incredibly tough on everyone, and a significant rise in the cost of living is adding further pressure on people. A top priority for us is to make sure that people are aware of the support that is available and this is why I have dedicated many of my district dispatch columns to focus on the different schemes and initiatives that are available.

District dispatch 1

This week, I want to talk about pension credit. This tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £182.60 a week for single pensioners or £278.70 for couples. It's a tax-free payment for those who have reached pension credit qualifying age and live in Great Britain. The Government has created a pension credit calculator (opens new window), which enables you to find out how much Pension Credit someone could get without giving any personal details. 

The Government is keen to help dispel some common misconceptions that might deter people from claiming Pension Credit. This includes making people aware that even though someone may have modest savings, retirement income or own their home, they may still be entitled to claim this. The scheme can also provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with housing costs, council tax, heating bills and for those aged 75 or over, a free TV licence.

We know that a nudge from a loved one can be a powerful motivator. If you are talking directly to friends and family of people over State Pension age, please encourage them to talk about Pension Credit and the other benefits that come with claiming it. This can help open up important conversations that could make a real difference to the lives of their loved ones. To find out more you can visit the Government's Pension Credit web page (opens new window)

I also want to encourage eligible residents to access the Government's discretionary energy rebate. If your property is in band E to H and you receive a means tested benefit, such as Council Tax Reduction, Universal Credit or Pension Credit; or you receive a disability benefit such as Personal Independence Payments, Carers Allowance or Attendance Allowance, then you can now apply for financial help. For more information, including the eligibility criteria and a full list of qualifying benefits, please visit  If you are eligible then you can make an application directly onlineon the Grant Approval website (opens new window). We have issued payments directly to customers in receipt of Council Tax Reduction where we have up-to-date bank details for those who are eligible.

This is part of the Government's support to help people with their energy bills. We've also been busy issuing the £150 energy rebate payments for people who live in council tax bands A to D. Thousands of these payments have already been made. We have produced a video, which outlines the other support that will become available over the coming months and this can be found .

In addition to the schemes I have already mentioned, we also have a range of further support to help those who may be struggling financially. You can find out about this on our Help With Finances page. On this page you can also access our 'Supporting You' leaflet, which also provides details of other organisations who are also able to offer help. What's vitally important is that people don't suffer in silence and they reach out for help if they are struggling financially or emotionally. We want you to know that we are here to help, even if it means signposting you to the correct agency when you need access to a service that we don't provide.

 

Best Wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council