The website includes guidance on the different kinds of support available, from helping families and households meet rising energy, housing and other costs, to details around accessing Scottish and UK social security payments, including online benefit calculators as well as advice around improving overall health and wellbeing.
It’s important to acknowledge the added stress that money worries can bring and the impact that this can have on your health, both mentally and physically. The website includes information on the support people can access such as the NHS24 Mental Health Hub (available by dialling 111), Breathing Space which is a confidential helpline available by calling 0800 83 85 87, and nhsinform.scot/mind-to-mind which shares advice from peers.
There is also key information around support with health costs such as eye examinations, glasses, contact lenses and dental treatments.
When it comes to families and financial support, the Scottish Government has allocated almost £3 billion in this financial year to help households face the increased cost of living, including £1bn in providing services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK.
The winter Bridging Payment has been doubled, meaning the December payment will be £260. All eligible families should make sure they are registered to receive free school meals on the basis of low income in order to receive the payment. If they register between now and end of school term they will receive the payment in January.
The Scottish Child Payment has also been increased to £25 a week which can be paid to families with children under the age of 16 who live in Scotland and qualify for certain reserved benefits. There is no limit on the number of children that families can apply for.
Shona Robison, Social Justice Secretary, said: “I know that people are struggling with the cost of living crisis right now and may not know where to turn for help. Our cost of living website is a trustworthy online resource with information on the wide range of vital support available.
“No one should feel alone in this crisis and this website, along with our campaign, aims to encourage people to find out if they are eligible for the extensive support available to access the advice they need. We want everyone to get all the financial support and help that is available so I would encourage people to apply for the payments they are entitled to – it might be just the lifeline that is needed right now”.
With so many updates to eligibility across a range of financial support, it’s important for households to check they’re receiving the benefits they’re entitled to, which is something the team at Citizens Advice Scotland are encouraging people to do, through their Money Talk Team.
Derek Mitchell, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “We are here to help people maximise their income by ensuring they are not paying more than they need to and that they are getting all the benefits, grants and exemptions they are entitled to.
To find out more information about the range of support available, visit: gov.scot/costoflivingsupport