Watch Kidney Care UK's Cost of Living webinar

Watch the recording of our Cost of Living webinar from September 2022 and find links to the information and advice about benefits offered by our speakers.

During the Kidney Care UK Cost of Living webinar we talked about the impact that the crisis is having on the kidney community, and what we as a charity are doing to help.

We also talked in-depth about the support that is available, and were joined by speakers from Citizens Advice, Auriga Services and Anglian Water, who also discussed the help and services they provide.

Cost of living: top tips and advice from our panellists

Check your benefit entitlements

Claiming benefits can help you to access so much. Quite often, income-related ESA or Universal Credit is your gateway to more help. There are also things like warm discount and this is going to entitle you to social tariffs, not just on water, and other things but a broadband and telephone. For example, people don't know that if they claim Universal Credit you might be able to get your internet for as cheap as 15 pounds. If anyone does one thing after this webinar, please go and check your benefit entitlement because it's not just the money you get in your pocket. It’s everything else that it opens the door to.

Laura Docherty from Citizens Advice North Yorkshire is the head of energy and social welfare access.

Speak to your utility companies

If you're struggling, please reach out to us if we are your water provider, or reach out to your own supplier if you are not an Anglian Water customer.

We can help: you get added to the Priority Services Register and we will check to see if you're entitled to any of our discounted tariffs. We also have something called an extra care assessment which we can do with you, it will take no longer than 10-15 minutes if you do it on the phone, or you can access it online on our website. We will go through your water account and make sure that you're benefitting from all of the support we can provide you with. We will also then see if we can enhance your overall financial situation, signposting any unclaimed benefits, looking at any additional practical and support services available. I would also say that not all utility companies are bad, and I know that's probably quite a difficult message to deliver at the moment when you're looking at some of the headlines, but just remember that many of us are here to help. And if you're finding it difficult if you're struggling please reach out and talk to us because there's always something that we can do to help you.

Beth, Customer Services Partnership Manager at Anglian Water.

Understand your benefits entitlement

Most people don’t realise that they are eligible for certain benefits – it is always worth looking into non-means tested benefits.

With non-means tested benefits it doesn't matter what your income is, or if you own your own home, or got a little bit of savings, the non-means tested benefits are all about the difficulties you have in daily life. That might be around self-care, mobility and getting around, preparing a meal. I think there's a bit of a misconception that because maybe have got a little bit of savings you won't qualify for these benefits. So many kidney patients I've gone to see in units hadn't claimed independence payments because they didn't think they were entitled to it because their partner worked, and we've got them the money, and that income has made such a difference to that to their lives so even if you don't qualify for any means tested benefits, look in to the non-means tested benefits.

Mark Smith from Auriga Services.

Get in touch with Kidney Care UK

If you don't know where to start, please get in touch with Kidney Care UK.

If you need support, even trying to navigate what to do first, please do send us an email, write us a letter, contact us on social media or pick up the phone, because we will be able to support you, whether that's directly in the community or by you talking to one of our team in head office for some practical advice to signpost you in the right direction.

Laurie Cuthbert is Director of Fundraising, Marketing & Communications at Kidney Care UK.

Get the support you need if you're worried about the rising costs of living

The panel also shared examples of people they had supported recently. One kidney patient contacted Anglian Water after being advised to do so by his Kidney Care UK Advocacy Officer and immediately received a 50% discount on his water bills. Find out more about our Anglian Water partnership.

Laura told us about a client she supported who had a good income, she lived with her partner and had four children. Her partner had a health condition and the client reached out to Citizens Advice because they had a pre-payment meter and had been disconnected because they were unable to afford to top it up. She contacted Laura’s team for a fuel voucher and was absolutely sure she wouldn’t qualify for any other support. The team at Citizens Advice suggested that they just check to see. She was entitled to £14,000 of Universal Credit per year, a truly transformational amount of money. Take a look at Citizens Advice energy information.