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Emergency Information - Benefits not enough to meet my needs

You might find yourself caught short of money and need help with essentials like food or paying your bills. Please look at the range of support options we discuss in this guide.

Benefits not enough to meet my needs

First, check if you are getting the right benefits using our Benefits Calculator.

If our calculator shows you should be getting more than you are, check whether you are being sanctioned or having deductions taken for debts.

If you are having deductions for other debts, speak to the organisation you owe the debt to and ask them if they could give you a break in payments.

If you are having money taken for a sanction, you might be able to get a Hardship Payment

If you are struggling because you are affected by the benefits cap, read our Benefits Cap guide.


If you are struggling because the help you get with your rent through the benefits system is less than your real rent, you could contact your council to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Assistance Schemes

As well as Discretionary Housing Payments, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and some councils in England have hardship funds which they can use to support people who are struggling. Sometimes it is hard to find the section of your council website that has information on hardship funds (known also as local discretionary fund, welfare assistance scheme and other terms depending on your council).

Try the End Furniture Poverty - Local Welfare Scheme Finder

Try doing a Google Engine Search. For example, search on "council hardship fund Birmingham".  This will bring up a link directly to that page as would "council hardship fund Cardiff".

Charitable grants

If you are struggling financially, it is possible you might be able to get support through a grant from a charity.

You can use our Grants Search to find charities that might be able to help you, based on your background, circumstances and needs.

Energy and water bills

If you are struggling with energy or water bills, contact your supplier for help and advice.


If you are struggling with debt payments, get free, confidential debt advice.

Updated: November 2020

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