Check your entitlement to help with these payments through your insurer, your payment protection insurance or benefits.
Check with you local authority (council) to find out if any discounts or help with council tax payments are available to you.
If you pay this quarterly, you’ll need to add your last four bills together and divide the total by 52.
If your heating bills are very high, it may be useful to contact your energy supplier to see if they have any tariffs that could reduce your payments. They may also provide energy efficiency advice.
The government and energy suppliers run various schemes to help people who are finding it difficult to pay their fuel bills. This includes the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which was introduced in England, Scotland and Wales in April 2011. The scheme entitles certain people (including those who receive certain benefits) to an annual rebate on electricity bills. Since January 2013, the government’s Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) has required energy suppliers to provide measures that help low income and vulnerable households to affordably heat their homes. Speak to your individual energy provider for more information about the help that may be available.
Our section on ways to keep warm without the worry contains more information about managing energy costs. You can also find tips on how to improve energy efficiency in your home.
Include your regular landline and mobile bills. These can be classed as essential when you’re unable to go out due to your illness or if you’re in hospital, as it helps you keep in touch with family or work.
Water companies aren’t allowed to disconnect your water supply. Some water companies have trust funds that may be able to help pay your water bill.
Check the annual cost for this and divide it by 52 for a weekly amount or by 12 for a monthly amount.
This should include all food items, toiletries, cleaning materials, newspapers and so on. You can also include some entertainment expenses. The following are rough weekly figures that people might spend on housekeeping, based on suggestions from the Financial Services Authority:
- single person £27 - £73
- couple £46 - £122
- each child £12 - £26
- non-dependant £17 - £53.
However, there may be reasons why your weekly spending figures are different from those listed and everyone’s situation is different.
You can add an extra figure for any special dietary needs, but you need to state a reason for these on the financial statement.
Hire purchase items
If the hire purchase item is needed for your work or due to disability, an explanation of this will need to be included in your expenditure.
Include travel to and from hospital as well as travel to and from work/shopping. If you have a car, include maintenance costs, such as MOT, tax, insurance and petrol.
As a general guide, you should allow £3–£8 for clothing per person on a weekly basis. If you’ve lost or gained weight, or if your body shape has changed, you could increase this amount, but explain the reason for the increased figure.
This could include after-school clubs or school trips. It is a good idea to add an additional note about this on your financial statement if these expenses are particularly high.
It’s worth checking your benefit entitlement to see if your child/children qualify for free school meals.
This should include charges for items related to your illness, such as bedding, special equipment and help in the home.
As shown on the financial statement, this should include funds put aside for emergencies, or for things like birthdays, public holidays/religious celebrations and household repairs.