Free food and food banks
There are places where you can get free or cheap food. You do not need a referral to use many local food banks and pantries. You will need a referral to use Trussell Trust food banks.
If you will need help getting food home, ask about deliveries.
Some local food sharing projects and some food banks do not require a referral. These are sometimes called community ‘pantries’ or ‘fridges’. You do not need money to get food from a food bank.
You will need a referral to use Trussell Trust food banks. The person referring you may give you a voucher.
Tell the food bank if you have any dietary requirements. They may be able to swap food items, depending on what they have. For example, gluten-free alternatives.
They should give you at least 3 days of food. This could a lot if you are getting food for your family. Plan how you will get it home.
Using a food bank (Citizens Advice)
Emergency food (The Trussell Trust)
You can ask for a referral from your:
Apply for free school meals (GOV.UK)
If someone will not give you a referral, someone else could. Asking how to make a formal complaint may also help.
Help with bills
You may be able to get support from your energy supplier.
Getting financial help from your energy supplier
You may be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction from your local authority it you either:
- need overnight care, or
- have had your home adapted to make it accessible
If you are the only person over 18 in your household, you may be eligible for a single person Council Tax discount.
Check what benefits you could be entitled to. What you can claim will depend on your circumstances. For example, if you live with a partner or not.
You may now be eligible for means-tested benefits, like Universal Credit.
Calculate your benefits (Turn2us)
Contact the Scope helpline if you need support claiming benefits.
If the DWP has refused your benefits
Find out why the DWP refused your benefits. For example, you:
- earn more than DWP limits
- work more hours than the rules say you can
- have not earned enough National Insurance credits
- are waiting for your sick pay to stop if you are claiming ESA
- leave a note in your Universal Credit journal
- call the number for the benefit you think you are eligible for
Contact Jobcentre Plus (GOV.UK)
The first stage of appeal is Mandatory Reconsideration.
Appealing a benefits decision
Last reviewed by Scope on: 19/05/2022
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