Benefits and financial support
Check what financial support you can get
If you’re finding it difficult to keep on top of your bills, or you’ve had a change in circumstances and aren’t sure of the support you’re entitled to now, our benefit calculator can help you understand what benefits you can claim.
Depending on what benefits you receive you could be entitled to Cost of Living Payments from government, so it’s important to know what you can claim.
The government's help for households website lists different types of payments or support you could be eligible for, including Cost of Living Payments for people receiving certain disability benefits, pensioners and those on means-tested benefits.
Universal Credit (UC) is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and not Luton Council.
Understand how UC can support you if you're on a low income or out of work. It includes a monthly payment to help with your living costs.Make a UC claim
You can find more information about UC on GOV.UK website. Only in rare circumstances is it possible to claim by phone.
You will not be able to claim help with your Council Tax within UC and instead will still need to apply for Council Tax support separately.
If you don't qualify for UC then you should claim other benefits for your circumstances. Use the benefits calculator to check what other help you might be eligible for.Help with your application
The Citizens Advice website offers information and guidance about applying for UC.
You can get free support from trained advisers to make a UC claim. They can help you with things like online applications or preparing for your first jobcentre appointment.
The Help to Claim service is provided by Citizens Advice and is confidential. They will not share your personal information unless you agree.
Pension Credit is extra money to help with your living costs if you're over State Pension age and living on a low income. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges.
You might get extra help if you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person.
Pension Credit is separate from your State Pension. You might be able to get it even if you have other income, savings or assets.
The Household Support Fund (HSF) provided by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) pays for a range of support to households in financial hardship.
We have been allocated funding to support households in Luton between April 2023 and March 2024 with food, energy bills and other essentials.
Support may be provided in a number of ways including vouchers which can be used in supermarkets, and for gas and electric prepayment meters.
If you are facing hardship, you may be able to get help with your essential household costs.
Find out more about household support fund.
Council Tax Reduction (CTR) is available to support vulnerable members of the community, such as pensioners and people with disabilities, with their Council Tax payments.
CTR protects a wider vulnerable group of the community and provides the following people with the most support including:
- people with disabilities
- low income households with children
- those receiving a war disablement pension, war widows or war widowers pension
Council Tax discounts and exemptions
Council Tax discounts are available for disabled people, single people, care workers, disregarded persons and more.
Discretionary housing payments provide extra help to customers who are already getting housing benefit or the rent element of Universal Credit and need further help with housing costs.
This is usually because there is a shortfall between the amount of benefit they get and their rent.
We receive some money from the government each year to spend on discretionary housing payments but there is a limit on the amount we can spend. This means that not everyone who claims will be awarded this extra help.
To qualify for discretionary housing payments, you have to meet certain conditions:
- you must be receiving some housing benefit or universal credit that includes a housing element towards rental liability
- there must be a shortfall between the amount of benefit you get and your rent
- you must be able to show that you need extra help to meet your housing costs
If you’re a homeowner on qualifying benefits, you might be able to get help towards interest payments on your mortgage or loans you've taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home.
If you know how much money you have coming in each month, and where you need to spend it, it can help you to keep on top of all your household expenses and prepare for any unexpected extra costs.
£2 single bus fares
The government's 'Get Around for £2' scheme limits bus fares for single journeys to a maximum of £2 on bus journeys around the country. The scheme has been extended to the end of the year and operators of many bus services in Luton are taking part.
From the beginning of November until November 2024 the maximum single bus fare will be limited to £2.50.
Multi-operator Hip-Hop tickets, are accepted on all Arriva and Centrebus services across Luton and Dunstable Zone (Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis), also allows passengers to travel on the Grant Palmer C service using the Busway.
£13.00 per adult a day
£10.50 per child a day
Ask your bus driver for details.
Pre-9.30am travel for bus pass holders
From 1 April, concessionary bus pass holders can claim free bus travel before 9:30am in Luton.
This is just one part of our Bus Service Improvement Plan to make services more accessible, reliable and cost-effective.
If you're over 60 or have a Blue Badge (or meet Blue Badge criteria) you'll be entitled to a Smartcard. This gives holders:
- free bus travel around Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis at any time
- free off peak (9.30 and to 11pm) travel on local buses anywhere in England
Blue Badges help people with disabilities or health conditions park closer to their destination. You can apply for a badge for yourself, on behalf of somebody else or an organisation that transports people that need a Blue Badge.
Travel to school
Transport to school may be provided for children who would otherwise be unable to, or would have considerable difficulty, accessing education.
To get a travel aid pass you must live in Luton, not be in work, actively seeking employment and in receipt of:
- employment support allowance
- a registered job seeker in receipt of job seekers allowance
- a single parent in receipt of income support
- universal credit
- an unemployed school leaver aged 16 or 17 and registered with youth advice Luton
Contact your nearest Jobcentre for more information.
Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
If you're referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund of reasonable travel costs under the HTCS.
If you travel by train regularly, a railcard could save you money. There are a range of railcards available including:
- young people
- older people
- people with a disability
Plusbus can be bought with all types of rail tickets, single or return. And all season tickets with Plusbus give you unlimited bus travel in the Plusbus area. Fares start from £2.50 a day.
Jobcentre Plus travel discount card
This is provided to those:
- unemployed claiming Jobseekers Allowance
- Universal Credit for 3 to 9 months for 18 to 24 year olds)
- Universal Credit for 3 to 12 months for over 25s
Other benefit recipients may receive a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card from 3 months of their claim if they are actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. Cardholders are entitled to a 50% discount on selected rail tickets.
Other benefits and financial support you may be entitled to
- Benefits and financial support if you're on a low income. Includes Universal Credit.
- Benefits and financial support if you're caring for someone. Includes Universal Credit.
- Help if you're living with a health condition or disability. Includes Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
- Help if you're looking for a new job, are out of work or affected by redundancy. Includes Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
- Benefits and financial support if you're temporarily unable to work.
- Help with costs and funeral expenses after someone has died. Includes Universal Credit.