Benefits and reduced income

Find out what you can claim
If you need help claiming benefits
Universal Credit
Being paid while off work
Financial help if you’re disabled
Free food handouts
Energy costs if your benefits stop

Find out what you can claim

Use an online benefit calculator to quickly and easily understand what benefits you might be entitled to, how to claim and what how much you might receive.

You can find more information on benefits from:

If you need help claiming benefits

The local organisations below can provide you with free and confidential support to make and maintain a claim for benefits:

Citizens Advice Reading provide Help to Claim service on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. They can help you if you struggle to use a computer or verify your identity and support you to complete the actions on your online journal and understand what Universal Credit will mean for you.

Communicare can help complete benefit applications and forms in general, they are also able to make referrals to other support agencies for you.

Welfare Rights can help with benefit claims and specialise in help with Personal Independence Payment claims and any benefit mandatory reconsiderations or appeals.

Universal Credit

When making a new claim that is not directly related to a disability or health condition, you will need to claim Universal Credit. There is more information on our Universal Credit page and the Department for Work and Pensions website that includes advice for people on furlough, self-employed and anyone already receiving support.

Being paid while off work

Furlough

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

Gov.uk – Work and Financial Support

Being paid while off work if you are isolating or unwell

If you cannot get company sick pay, check if you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay. More information about being paid whilst being unable to work.

A Test and Trace statutory self-isolation support payment is also available.

Financial help if you’re disabled

If you have a disability or long term health condition you can find out about help available to you on Gov.uk.

Free food handouts

If you are struggling with paying for food, you can be referred to Reading’s food bank Readifood by a professional organisation or charity, like Reading Borough Council, Citizens Advice Reading or Communicare. Please speak to any professional you are working with for a referral, or contact one of the local advice agencies who can work with you to make a referral.

If you are struggling for food currently, please contact the Debt Advice Team. They will be able to provide you with details of where you can go to get a food handout as soon as possible.

Energy costs if your benefits stop

If your benefits stop and you need help with energy costs follow these simple steps.

Step 1
Contact your energy supplier (early morning is normally quieter)

Step 2
When they ask for an account number, dial ‘0#’ on your telephone key pad, you will be told this is incorrect, dial ‘0#’ again.

Step 3
You will now be put through to customer service, explain that you don’t have any money to top up and give a rough date when you are next due to be paid.

Step 4
Your supplier will ask you some questions and may ask you to read your meter screens, they will generate a code. Wait 1 hour and then go to your local ‘Pay as you go’ store along with your energy card / key and code.

Step 5
The shop keeper will dial in the code, insert the key or card and that’s it.

Step 6
Take this home, insert it in to your machine and you will now have funds to use.

Remember you will need to pay this back to the supplier at a weekly rate so ask how much this will be.