Cost of Living latest: Martin Lewis returns with more money advice tonight; plus Universal Credit changes & savings tips | The Sun

MARTIN Lewis will return to our screens tonight with more crucial debt and money advice to help you through the Cost of Living crisis.

The MoneySavingExpert founder often covers a range of topics, from energy bills to pensions and broadband deals, as well as the latest changes to Universal Credit and other benefits.

He returns to ITV at 8pm this evening with another live Money Show.

It comes as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently revealed the EXACT date millions of Brits on Universal Credit will start receiving a rise in their payment amounts.

Rises in Universal Credit payments will kick off from April 10 – but the date varies based on when you usually get paid your benefit. You can check how much your new payment amount will be by reading our guide to benefit rises here.

Read our Cost of Living blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    Who is eligible for cold weather payments?

    Households are eligible for the extra cash if they are getting the following:

    • Pension Credit
    • Universal Credit
    • Income Support
    • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
    • income-related employment and support allowance
    • Support for mortgage interest

    Depending on your specific circumstances, you may also need to meet one or more of the following additional criteria:

    • Have a disability or be in receipt of pension premium
    • Have a child who is disabled
    • Be in receipt of child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
    • Have a severe or enhanced disability premium
    • Be in receipt of a limited capability for work amount
    • Have a child under five living with you

    You can find out more about eligibility on the government’s website.

    How much do Microwaves cost to run?

    Running a microwave will cost you around 5.7p per ten minutes of use.

    Of course, this depends on the model and which settings you use, but this is based on an appliance with 1,000w power.

    Microwaves are considered more cost-effective than traditional ovens.

    Are you struggling to pay your energy bills this winter?

    This winter has been tough for millions of Brits, with bills soaring and the cost of living continuing the rise.

    Currently, there are a number of government schemes designed to help with the rising cost of living, including the Household Support Fund, Cold Weather Payments and pensioner Cost of Living Payment.

    Are you struggling to get by this winter?

    • Joseph Gamp

      Should you run your dishwasher at night to save cash?

      As bills continue to rise, Brits are looking for ways to save every possible penny.

      With that in mind, Economy 7 and 10 tariffs charge customers different rates depending on when they use their energy.

      You pay more in the day and less in the evening.

      If you are on an Economy 7 tariff, you’ll pay the lesser rate for seven hours and 10 hours if you are on an Economy 10 tariff.

      You pay the higher rate during the remaining hours of the day.

      The tariffs can help you save money if you have a storage heater or you use your energy during off-peak hours.

      This means you can save money by running your device at night.

      However, putting your dishwasher on at night is a well-documented fire-safety risk, so it is best to avoid doing so.

    • Joseph Gamp

      DWP issues urgent warning for those expecting cost of living payments

      The Department for Work and Pensions has offered an urgent warning to Brits expecting to receive cost of living payments this year.

      In social media posts shared on Facebook and Twitter, the DWP said: “Watch out for scammers targeting people about cost of living payments.”

      The Government department gave four pieces of advice to those awaiting payments later this year:

      • You do not need to apply for the payment
      • You do not need to call the DWP
      • Payments are automatic
      • You should never be asked for personal details via text or email

      Do you need a TV licence to watch Netflix?

      You need a TV licence if you’re watching shows being broadcast live on services such as ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go, and more.

      But you don’t need a licence if you only use these services to stream shows on demand or through catch up.

      You also don’t have to pay the licence fee for streaming-only services such as Netflix.

      It comes as the streaming giant has launched an ad-free package at a lower price of £4.99 a month to help make its service more affordable to customers struggling against a cost of living crisis.

      If you watch any BBC programmes at all, whether live or streaming or downloaded them on-demand, including on BBC iPlayer – then you automatically have to pay the fee.

      How much does it cost to have a shower?

      Uswitch said taking a 10-minute shower uses 1.42kWh of electricity, costing someone on a standard variable tariff around 48p a go.

      If you did this every day it would cost you £175.20 a year.

      That’s based on an 8.5KW electric shower and a unit rate of 34p.

      Martin Lewis offers four steps to check if you’re overpaying energy bills via direct debit

      Martin Lewis has said that the last big price rise was 27% in October but many direct debits have risen far more.

      Martin Lewis advises you to:

      • Give regular meter readings
      • Use ‘is my DD correct’ calculator
      • If still too high, ask firm to lower it
      • If it won’t then consider variable DD

      How do I find my tax code and how can I change it?

      You can find your tax code in a number of different ways, including:

      • on a “Tax Code Notice” letter from HMRC if you get one
      • on your payslip (this might be online or in paper form)
      • on the HMRC app
      • by checking your tax code for the current year online on your personal tax account

      HMRC should, normally, update your tax code when your income changes. They should receive this information from your employer.

      But sometimes HMRC might not have the correct information and you may be given the wrong tax code.

      • Joseph Gamp

        Martin Lewis's urgent warning for pensioenrs

        Speaking during his TV show this month, the MoneySavingExpert said: “We know what help is coming in the next tax year.

        “If you’re on means-tested benefits and you got the £650 this year it will be £900 in the next tax year.

        “This includes pension credit. There are under a million state pensioners on low incomes entitled to pension credit but not getting it.

        “They will miss out on the £900 they should be getting.

        “If you’re a low-income pensioner or know someone that is, call the pension credit helpline to see if you’re entitled.”

      • Joseph Gamp

        How will my traditional prepayment meter be credited?

        If you’re on a traditional prepayment meter, you’ll be given a redeemable energy bill discount voucher or special action message (SAMs) in the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post.

        Customers will then need to redeem these at their usual top-up point.

        Customers of Bulb, E.ON and E.ON Next, EDF, Octopus, Ovo (and SSE), Scottish Power, Shell Energy, Utilita and Utility Warehouse can choose for their voucher to be redeemed on either their gas or electricity meter.

        However, British Gas customers will only be able to redeem their vouchers on their electricity meters.

      • Joseph Gamp

        How much is Child Benefit set to rise by?

        Parents are set for an increase in their Child Benefit payments come April, but how much could you be set to receive?

        Well, the current rate for your eldest or only child is £21.80 per week. That’s £87.20 a month or £1,133.60 a year.

        From April 2023 the rate for your eldest or only child will go up to £24 a week – or £96 a month and £1,248 a year.

        This is an increase of £2.20 a week, £8.80 a month and £114.40 a year.

        On top of this, your younger children will get £14.45 a week – £57.80 a month and £751.40 a year.

        Find out more here.

      • Joseph Gamp

        Are you eligible for this year’s £900 cost of living payment

        The government is set to provide struggling Brits with £900 in cost of living payments throughout 2023.

        The free cash will be paid out in three instalments and is there to help households with rising food and energy bills.

        To be eligible for the cash you will need to claim one of the following benefits.

        • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
        • Income-related employment and support allowance
        • Income support
        • Pension credit
        • Tax credits (child tax credit and working tax credit)
        • Universal Credit

        The following benefits on their own won’t qualify you for the £900 one-off cost of living payment:

        • Attendance allowance
        • Carer’s allowance
        • Child benefit
        • Disability living allowance (DLA)
        • Contributory, or “new style”, employment and support allowance (ESA)
        • Guardian’s allowance
        • Contribution-based, or “new style”, jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
        • Maternity allowance
        • Personal independence payment
        • State pension
        • Statutory adoption, maternity, paternity and shared parental pay
        • Statutory sick pay

        How to check which benefits you may be entitled to

        This year, the government is providing over £1,500 in cost of living help to struggling Brits.

        But in order to claim this cash, you will need be eligible for certain benefits.

        The quickest way to see what benefits you may be able to claim is to use one of the three benefit calculators recommended by Gov.UK.

        Each one is free to use. They are: 

        • Turn2us
        • Policy in Practice
        • EntitledTo

        Eight vital energy checks you need to do now, according to Martin Lewis

        Money saving expert Martin Lewis has warned households about eight vital energy checks to do now as bills rise.

        It comes as millions of households are set to see their energy bills hike in April.

        Here’s a look at the eight vital energy checks you should do now.

        • Check if your energy prices changed on January 1
        • Check if you’re overpaying by direct debit
        •  Check if you’re eligible for the new cost of living payments
        •  Get ready to apply for £400 energy bill support later this month
        • Check if you need to apply for the £200 alternative fuel payment
        • Check if you’re due £600 in government support next month
        • Check if you need to redeem any energy discount vouchers
        • Check if you can get help through supplier grants

        Find out more about Martin’s money saving tips here.

        • Joseph Gamp

          Five top tips to cut costs at the pump

          As fuel prices hit record highs, bargain hunters and motor experts at car leasing firm Vanarama have complied five top tips to help cut the costs at the pump.

          • Keep your car clean
          • Don’t drive with your windows down
          • Keep your fuel tank low
          • Keep up with general maintenance of your motor
          • Use your aircon sparingly

          Find out more here.

          Have you got a spare room in your house?

          There are 18.6 million empty rooms in Britain and you could make yours work harder.

          You don’t need to commit to getting a flatmate or a lodger to benefit – you can rent a room out on holiday sites like Airbnb.

          A private room on average rents out for £72 a night – while a whole house goes for slightly higher at £85.

          By just renting a room out on weekends you could make upwards of £500 a month.

          Handy when it comes to off-setting your mortgage.

          How to get help reporting changes of circumstances to Universal Credit

          You can report any change of circumstances by signing into your Universal Credit account online.

          If you’re struggling to do this, you can always try the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

          Alternatively, charities like Turn2Us and Citizens Advice can help guide you through the process.

          You can phone Turn2Us on 0808 802 2000 or Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133.

          You can use benefits calculators to figure out how much a change of circumstance, such as an increase in working hours, will impact your Universal Credit allowance.

          Entitled To, Turn2Us and Policy in Practice all have helpful calculators on their websites that you can use for free.

          Or, you can speak with your Job Centre work coach.

          How much does it cost to run an electric blanket?

          As temperatures drop and bills rise, many are looking for an affordable way to keep warm this winter.

          Electric blankets are a great way to help you try and cut back on your energy bills.

          According to research from Uswitch, these gadgets use 100 watts of energy to warm a double bed before switching to a sleep setting or being turned off.

          A 100W electric blanket run for seven hours a week would use 0.7kWh.

          Based on the current cap, it costs 24p to run a 100W electric blanket for one hour a day for seven days.

          If you were to use an electric blanket for one hour a day, every day of the week for a year, it would cost you £12.48 in total.

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