Everyone is likely to need a bit of help this winter due to the rising cost of living. If you’re struggling to afford the essentials – including food, energy bills or housing costs – or if you’re in debt, help is available.
On this page:
- Claim benefits you’re entitled to
- Help to pay your bills
- Help with food
- Warm spaces and energy saving tips
- Managing debt
- If you’re worried about housing costs or losing your home
- Help to find a new or better paid job
- Advice bus and free and low-cost events
- Mental health support
You can also read help and advice with the cost of living crisis in an EasyRead format.
You might be able to claim benefits or get financial support if you’re:
- unemployed or on a low income
- sick or disabled
- of state pension age and on a low income
- a carer
- responsible for children
If you're on a low income, you may also be able to pay less by applying for Council Tax support. Some groups such as disabled people or people who live alone may be eligible for Council Tax discounts or exemptions.
If you're a Camden business owner, read about the range of support available for Camden businesses.
On top of regular benefits, you may be able to get extra support to help with the rising cost of living.
Most households will receive
- £400 off energy bills: households will automatically receive a discount on their energy bills through the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme. Each energy company is applying it differently, so contact your supplier if you're not sure how they will award the discount
The Government has promised an equivalent level of support for people on shared heating networks or using an oil based heating system
If you’re on a low income
- £650 Cost of Living Payment: If you get means-tested benefits or tax credits, you should have received extra money to help with rising costs. These payments were made automatically, and you can find out more and report a missing payment
- £150 Warm Home Discount: If you're on a low income and have high energy costs, you may be eligible for a one-off discount on your electricity bill. If you think you are eligible and have not received a letter, contact the Warm Home Discount helpline before 28 February 2023
- water bill discount: If your total household income is below £21,749, you can get up to 50% off your water bill through Thames Water’s WaterHelp scheme
If you’re receiving a pension
- Winter Fuel Payment: You can get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. The amount you receive will include a Cost of Living Payment which depends on your circumstances. Contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre if you did not get a letter or the money has not been paid into your account
- £150 Warm Home Discount: If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you can get a one-off discount on your electricity bill. If you think you are eligible and have not received a letter, contact the Warm Home Discount helpline before 28 February, 2023
If you’re disabled
- £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment: A payment is being made in addition to the Cost of Living Payment for people receiving certain disability benefits. Most people who are eligible will now have received this. If you have not, check the critera and report a missing payment
If you're in severe financial hardship
- Cost of Living Crisis Fund: If you cannot afford essentials such as food, energy bills and housing, you may be eligible for a payment of up to £500
If you’re in urgent need of support with food, please visit Camden's Find Food website. You can use the website to find places and organisations to get food from in your local area.
We are sending supermarket vouchers to families living in Camden with children aged up to 18, who are receiving Housing Benefit, Council Tax support or free school meals. Read more about these vouchers and other help to access food in Camden, including food co-ops.
If you have children:
- check if they can get free school meals
- get help to buy food and milk from the NHS HealthyStart scheme (for children under 4 or if you're pregnant)
To help everyone stay warm this winter, 'warm welcome' spaces are available across Camden. These community spaces are free for you to relax, meet up with others or get support with the cost of living crisis.
If you're worried about the cost of heating your home, you can contact our Green Camden Helpline on 0800 801 738, or email Green Camden for:
- tips to make your home warmer and save money
- guidance on efficiency grants and discounts
- advice on fuel tariffs and switching supplier
- home visits to help make your home warmer and reduce energy bills
If you’re on a low income, you may be able to get free heating, insulation and ventilation improvements for your home. The Mayor of London scheme is giving grants of £5,000 to £25,000 for improvements such as heat pumps, insulation and draughtproofing.
We also have free and low cost tips to help you keep warm and save money on your energy bills.
If you owe money and you’re struggling to pay your bills:
- speak to the organisation you owe money to – for Council Tax arrears, call 020 7974 6414
- ask your energy supplier for temporary credit if you cannot top-up a pre-payment meter
- use Citizens Advice's budgeting tool to set out your income and expenditure
- do not ignore letters or bills about money you owe. Contact a local organisation in the Camden Advice Network or call a national advice organisation such as StepChange
Energy suppliers might be able to let you pay in smaller amounts or take a break from payments. You might also be able to apply for a grant to pay off energy debts.
If you need to take out a loan, do not approach a loan shark or take out a payday loan. Consider credit unions or other ethical loan providers. Find out more at credit-union.coop, call 020 7561 1786 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you owe a loan shark money, or if you’re being threatened, get confidential help from Stop Loan Sharks.
If you don’t know where to turn, call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9) or contact Citizens Advice Camden.
If you’re having problems paying your rent or service charges and you're a:
- private renter: Speak to your landlord immediately, as they could be sympathetic to your situation. More advice is available at our Camden Private Renters website.
- council tenant: Call us on 020 7974 4444 for rent arrears (option 5, then option 2) or for service charge arrears (option 3, then option 6). You can also speak to your neighbourhood housing officer about both things. Find more information on our council tenants page.
If you’re at risk of becoming homeless within the next 8 weeks, please contact us for support. You may be able to get help through a Discretionary Housing Payment, especially if you are affected by the benefit cap.
If you have nowhere to sleep tonight or are currently sleeping rough, call the Homelessness Prevention service on 0207 974 4444.
If you’re a homeowner and having problems paying your mortgage, contact StepChange for free advice.
Good Work Camden provides free support to find a new or better paid job, or training opportunities, for any Camden resident who needs it. Register for our job hub to find out more.
If you’re aged 13 to 19, or up to age 25 with a learning difficulty or disability, contact Camden Connexions.
If you have a job already, you should also:
- check you are being paid the National Minimum Wage
- claim any benefits you're entitled to. If you're on a zero-hours contract, you can claim Universal Credit and the new Employment Support Allowance. Money you receive will vary depending on how much you work and earn
If you're a lone parent and looking to re-enter employment or start a training or education course, you might be able to get up to £1,500 to cover childcare costs. Check to see if you're eligible and apply for our childcare grant.
Our advice bus is available to support with a range of issues. You can also join free and low-cost events and activities in Camden throughout the year – including over the winter.
If you’re feeling down, anxious or worried, help is available:
- speak to your GP about how you are feeling
- refer yourself to iCope. This is a free NHS service in Camden and Islington giving confidential support and therapies. iCope also offers intercultural therapy in different languages
- read about more mental health services in Camden
For help in a crisis:
- call our 24-hour mental health crisis line on 020 3317 6333 to access specialist support
- in an emergency, always call 999
If you need to talk to someone, we’re here to help
For support with the cost of living crisis, you can:
- contact one of the local organisations in our Camden Advice Network
- call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9)
- call Citizens Advice Camden on 0808 278 7835