The information in this chapter was last check on: 4th Jan 2023
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If you open a newspaper, turn on the TV or the radio or browse social media, you will see that the costs of food, gas, electricity, petrol and more are increasing.
Scope conducted research in 2019 that found that, on average, Disabled people face extra costs of £583 per month – equivalent to almost half their average income – and that this goes up to more than £1,000 per month for one in five. We may need to keep our homes warmer, run the washing machine more often, pay for care/support or run a car. Some of these costs cannot be avoided for many Deaf and Disabled people and these costs are going up. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – which is intended to help cover extra living costs for Disabled people and those with long-term health conditions – is currently split into daily living and mobility payments, and can be as little as £23.70 per week, going up to £152.15 per week for those who qualify for the highest amount for both types. This means that only those who receive the maximum can cover the average extra costs they face each month. For those whose extra costs are more than £1,000, it does not come close.
The government has announced help for people with higher gas and electricity costs, but they do not cover the whole increase, and there has been no recognition of the higher cost of living for Deaf and Disabled people and many already experience financial difficulties.
Social policy work and campaigning
We are keen to hear your experiences. Please get in to touch to share your stories. This will help with Merton CIL’s policy and campaigns work to improve financial support for Deaf and Disabled people with London-wide and national partners.
We want to see targeted support for Disabled people throughout the cost of living crisis. We have written to local MPs Siobhain McDonagh and Stephen Hammond asking for their support. You can write to them too find out more here
How Merton CIL can help
If you are having problems with anything around money, whether it is difficulty paying for food and your bills, dealing debts, or getting benefits the most important thing to do is get help.
If you are facing difficulties, please contact Merton CIL for information and advice. We can help with:
Support to apply for benefits
Benefits checks to make sure you are getting all the support you are entitled to (We are currently closed to benefit check appointments. This will be reviewed late Oct 2022)
Support with benefits appeal if you award has been reduced following a review
Support you to apply for grants to help with energy and other unexpected costs
Support to review the cost of your social care contributions if you feel you are paying too much
Provide you with foodbank vouchers
And, also refer you to other support available in Merton.
You can find out more on our website – www.mertoncil.org.uk
Other Useful Information
Inclusion London – Cost of Living Resources
Mayor of London – Cost of Living Resources
Organisations that may be able to help
Apply for a grant to help with food, warm clothing, utility bills, essential furniture and/or household appliances
South West London Law Centre
You can contact for support with
- Rent/mortgage arrears
- Benefits checks (limited service)
- Discretionary Housing Payment applications
- Grant applications
- Warm Home Discounts
- Water Discount forms
- Chasing benefit claims
- Applications for Universal Credit, Council Tax Support, Council Tax Reduction, carer’s allowance
- Advice on debt options
- Income maximisation
- Reducing household bills
- Help with disability benefits and Universal Credit Limited Capability for Work
They also have free money advice webinars that you can attend. Find out more here.
And an income maximisation booklet which you can access here.
Merton’s local welfare support scheme
The LWSS exists to support Merton residents with short term severe financial difficulties.
Winter Fuel Payment – A £100 to £300 fuel payment for people born on or before 5 October 1954.
Cold Weather Payment – A £25 payment for every 7 days of very cold weather between November and March.
Warm Home Discount – A £150 discount for some people getting Pension Credit or some people in low-income household.
This year (2022-23), you may also be entitled to one or more lump-sum payments. These are:
£150 Disability Cost of Living Payment for those receiving disability benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment. To get this payment in September, you must have been eligible for a disability benefit on 25 May 2022.
£650 Cost of Living Payment for households on means-tested benefits, such as Universal Credit. You'll be paid in two instalments if eligible. Your eligibility for the first instalment will depend on whether you were entitled to certain benefits – Universal Credit, income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support or Pension Credit – between 26 April 2022 and 25 May 2022.
£300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment for households that receive the Winter Fuel Payment. This is a top-up to your Winter Fuel Payment in November/December.
None of these payments are taxable and they won't count towards the benefit cap or affect your benefit entitlement.
Disability cost of living payment - You can see easy read information here
Money off energy bills
All households in Britain will get £400 off their energy bills between October 2022 and March 2023. This is a discount, not a loan – so you don't have to pay this money back through future bills.
Free advice on saving on your energy bills. Free devices to help cut water and energy use. Check eligibility for grants for insulation. Fuel vouchers (for clients on top up meters)
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
A funding support mechanism to install energy efficiency upgrades, reduce carbon emissions and address fuel poverty, paid for by energy suppliers. Check your eligibility and find out more at website below or phone 0800 444 202.
Warmer Homes Programme
The Mayor of London’s Warmer Homes programme provides grants of up to £5,500 for heating, insulation and ventilation improvements for low-income Londoners who own their own homes or rent privately.
South London Healthy Homes - Charlton FC
South London Healthy Homes is a programme run by Charlton Athletic Community Trust, Lewisham Council, Groundwork, Thinking Works and South East London Community Energy (SELCE), with support from the Mayor of London. The free service is accessible across 13 London boroughs, to help vulnerable residents stay warm and healthy.
Merton Community Hub
If you need support with paying for bills or shopping, Merton Community Hub can provide a free foodbank voucher or an emergency food parcel.
Merton’s Community Fridge
Redistributes surplus fresh food to those in need. If you would like to receive a free food parcel for yourself or someone else and help reduce food waste, please visit Morden Baptist Church, Crown Lane, Morden SM4 5BL, on Wednesdays (16.30 - 18.00) and Thursdays (13.30 - 15.00) firstname.lastname@example.org
Wimbledon Foodbank (Trussell Trust Network)
Emergency food support for Merton residents, with foodbanks located in Wimbledon, Mitcham, Morden and Pollards Hill. A voucher is required. Locations and opening times are listed online. Email email@example.com
Dons Local Action Group
Provides emergency food parcels to households as well as bulk food deliveries to other food support organisations. Call 0203 301 4511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Working through Wimbledon Foodbank to support parents with children under 5yrs old with provision of items like milk formula, wipes, nappies and toiletries. Call 0208 544 0126 or email email@example.com
HAF clubs will be running in the summer holiday of 2022. The clubs offer activities and nutritious meals for Merton primary and secondary school aged children. These activities are free for children and young people who are eligible for free school meals and for those referred by specialist services.
Warm Spaces in Merton
The warm spaces will be available across the usual library opening hours and we will be looking to increase opening hours over the autumn and winter months. You can find out more about the libraries and other warm spaces in Merton here.
Free online carbon monoxide risk awareness workshops.
With fuel poverty on the rise, the risk of vulnerable people using unsafe heating practices will increase. If you would like to know more about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, its signs and symptoms alongside what to do to help prevent it and information about the new laws regarding CO detectors then sign up to a free short workshop from the Gas Safe Charity.