Cost of Living and Welfare Support

Financial Support

Household Support Fund 

On 6th March 2024 the Chancellor announced an extension to the Household Support Fund (HSF) from April to September 2024, with an additional £500 million of funding which will be used by local authorities to continue providing targeted support to vulnerable households with the cost of essentials such as food and utilities.

Residents in financial hardship can self-refer to the Client Hardship Service for support with food and energy vouchers, or alternative financial support. Applications should be made directly to the Client Hardship Service (CHS). Visit Norfolk County Council's website for details on how to apply to CHS.  (opens new window)

If you or someone you know requires welfare or wellbeing support, visit ourHealth and Wellbeing orFood pages for details of how Breckland Council may be able to help.

If you are a professional working with residents who need financial support, please e-mail us

Universal Credit 

If your circumstances have changed due to job loss or reduced hours, you may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit,find out how to claim online (opens new window) or call the Universal Credit helpline: 0800 3285644

If you don't have enough to live on whilst you wait for your first payment, you can ask for anadvance payment (opens new window) after you've made a claim. You can also ask for a hardship payment if you cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs or because you got a sanction. You need to pay it back through your Universal Credit payments - they'll be lower until you pay it back.

Change how you get your Universal Credit:

If you're having financial difficulties or you're behind on your rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).

Depending on your circumstances, you could get an APA to:

  • Get your rent paid directly to your landlord
  • Get paid more frequently than once a month
  • Receive split payments, if you're part of a couple

Speak to your work coach to apply for an APA.

Other benefits you can claim:

If you want to claim a benefit without your savings, your partner's savings or their income being taken into account, you can apply for either:

Find out what other financial support is available to Universal Credit customers. (opens new window)

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is available to residents of State Pension age and on a low income, to help with living costs. Pension credit is a 'passport' benefit which allows access to other support such as Warm Homes Discount and NHS dental treatment. 

Having £10,000 or less in savings and investments does not affect Pension Credit entitlement.More details on eligibility, amounts and how to apply are available on the government website. (opens new window) 

Pension Credit claim line: 0800 99 1234

Citizens Advice

Offer free, impartial advice on debt, benefits, employment and housing issues. To make sure you're getting all of the support you're entitled to, get in touch directly via the Advice line on freephone 0800 1448848 or via theCitizens Advice website. (opens new window) 


Get free professional help getting out of debt, budgeting, making your money go further or help finding a job. CAP have debt centres in Dereham and Mid-Norfolk which offer face-to-face, video and telephone appointments. Clients are linked up with a befriender to provide practical and emotional support through the journey out of debt.

CAP works with local churches and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This service is suitable for those with low literacy and mental health needs. 

Find out more on theCAP website (opens new window) or call 0800 3280006

Community Banking Support

Credit unions offer an alternative to traditional banks and building societies for saving and borrowing. They can sometimes beat the rates on the high street. Take a look at local options atFind Your Credit Union (opens new window)

Last updated: 26/03/2024 11:45:02