Feeling the pinch this winter? Help is available
The Covid -19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people in our communities and on the local economy, and this will continue through the winter. However, there is a range of support and help available in Perth and Kinross.
If you are feeling the pinch this winter please ask for help. We understand that it's not your fault, and the Council and our community partners are here to support you through this.
Here is some of the help available to you if you feel you are struggling:
Benefits support and advice
The Council's Welfare Rights Team is there to ensure that the residents of Perth and Kinross are not missing out on their entitlement to benefits and other related help by providing a free, confidential and impartial benefits advice and information service. If you need advice about your benefits call 01738 476900 (Option 1) or visit the Welfare Rights Team page.
Watch the short video below to find out more about the support the Welfare Rights Team can provide for you.
PKC Financial Insecurity Fund
Perth & Kinross Council has created a new fund to help tackle financial insecurity and support households with essential needs and priority debts over the winter. The Financial Insecurity Fund has been created using the Council's share of £20 million provided by the Scottish Government for this purpose.
All households that are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and that have children under six-years-old as of 11 December 2020 will receive a one-off payment of £80 for each eligible child. Payments will start being made from 21 December.
People can also apply to the Financial Insecurity Fund if they have:
- No recourse to public funds
- Priority debts including fuel debt
- Broadband debt that prevents you getting online or you require a data package
- Difficulty meeting the essential costs of children under two-years-old or a child with disabilities of any age, such as nappies, milk or wipes
- Additional costs of living rurally
Applications can be made through the Financial Insecurity Fund webpage or by calling our Customer Service Centre on 0345 30 111 00.
The Council aims to make decisions on applications within five working days.
If you are a Council tenant please call Your Locality Housing Team if you are struggling to pay your rent or bills over the winter. We can offer a wide range of help, and you may even qualify for financial support towards your housing costs.
You may qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment or a grant from our Tenancy Sustainment Fund. Call your Locality Housing Team on 01738 476000 (Option 2) or visit the rent arrears support page.
You can watch this short video on the help available through the Tenancy Sustainment Fund:
If you are a home owner and you are in danger of losing your home because you cannot pay the mortgage, you may qualify for support from the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government has also launched a Tenant Hardship Loan Fund that is open for applications from both social and private tenants who are struggling with housing costs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. You can apply for a loan online.
Scottish Child Payment scheme
If you are the parent or carer for a child aged under 6 and you are in receipt of certain benefits you may qualify for Scottish Child Payments.
You can visiti the Scottish Government website to find out if you are eligible for a payment and to apply.
Free school meals and clothing grants
Free school meals are offered to all pupils in P1 - P3. If your child is P4 or above you may be able to claim free school meals if you are claiming certain benefits. You may also quality for a school clothing grant for your children. Call 01738 476200 for more information or view the free school meals and clothing grants page.
Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit
You may be able to get Council Tax Reduction if you are liable for Council Tax. If you also rent your home, you may also get Housing Benefit. Please contact us on 01738 476049 to check your potential entitlement or view the Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit page.
Scottish Welfare Fund crisis grants
The Scottish Welfare Fund is a discretionary scheme administered by local authorities which aims to provide a safety net in an emergency through the provision of crisis grants.
You can apply for a grant online. To find out more visit the Scottish Welfare Fund - Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants page or call the Scottish Welfare Fund Team on 01738 476900 (option 2).
Self-Isolation Support Grants
If you have been contacted by Test and Protect and asked to self-isolate because of Covid-19, you may be eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Grant. You can apply at any time during the period you've been asked to self-isolate for.
MECOPP (Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project) is providing support for members of the Gypsy Traveller community. It is running a Financial Resilience Helpline, where advisors help community members find and access all the benefits they are entitled to. Contact Alex Hendrikson 07931 555 390.
Citizen's Advice Scotland
Citizen's Advice Scotland (CAS) offers personal, one-to-one advice and information on employment, housing, debt, benefits and consumer issues like energy bills.
Their helpline - 0800 028 1456 - is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
CAS has also launched The Money Map - an easy-to-use online service you can use from the comfort of your own home. It offers information on how to increase your income via benefits and grants, as well as how to save money on things like council tax, energy bills and other daily living costs such as food, clothing and utilities. It also provides budgeting support, to help you take control of your financial situation.
Perth and Kinross Foodbank
Perth and Kinross Foodbank provides emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. If you need support from the foodbank you can visit their How To Get Help webpage.
You can also call 0345 30 111 00 if you think you need a referral to the Foodbank.
National Debtline is a charity that provides free and independent debt advice over the phone and online. Its website features a Coronavirus hub with the latest information and advice on the help available, and you can also have private web chat with an adviser. You can also call them on 0808 808 4000.