THOUSANDS of hard-up households can get £300 cash direct to their bank accounts this winter.
The money comes from local authorities through the Household Support Fund.
The scheme was first established last year and extended for a second time in the March budget to help those on the lowest incomes with the rising cost of living.
Each council gets a different portion of funding depending on the size of the catchment area, population, and need.
The vouchers or grants on offer vary by location and you’ll have to check to see how your council will pay you.
You’ll usually need to be on a low income to receive the help.
You can do that using the government’s local council checker tool by inputting your postcode on Gov.UK.
Depending on your circumstances, households could receive vouchers worth up to £300 – as is the case in York.
What are councils offering and who is eligible?
Local authorities have had some autonomy on how they use the Fund to reach the vulnerable people in their communities.
Eligibility requirements will vary depending on where you live – so check directly with your council if you could get the cash help.
For example, residents eligible for the scheme who live in York could get between £200 and £300.
On top of this York City Council will pay families with disabled children up to £250 in cash to help with bills.
Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for the cash help if you or a family member are in receipt of:
- Benefits-based free school meals
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Support, but not Universal Credit or any other income-based support
- Disability living allowance
Other households who are struggling to meet their living costs may be eligible, including:
- Households who are ineligible for other government support with the cost of living
- Unpaid carers
- Care leavers
- People with disabilities
- Families with children receiving low or middle-rate disability living allowance
- Students upon referral from their educational establishment
- Families with children
How do I apply for the Household Support Fund?
Some households will be notified that they can apply for the cash help and others will receive the cash automatically.
Again, your council will set out whether or not you need to apply for the cash help.
York City Council has started writing to over 3,000 potentially eligible families, inviting them to apply directly between Monday, December 5 and Thursday, January 5.
They could receive one-off payments of between £200 and £300. Successful applicants will receive these direct payments early in the new year, following appropriate and robust fraud checks.
Alongside this, a discretionary scheme opened for applications on Monday, December 5 and will run to Friday, March 31.
The discretionary scheme aims to support all financially vulnerable residents, and specifically families with disabled children who may be affected by the increase in utility costs.
The council has also confirmed that families with children on the higher rate disability living allowance (DLA) will automatically be paid up to £250.
Again, households will need to apply for the cash help on the York City Council website.
A full list of what you’ll need to help with your application is detailed by the council.
Is there other support available?
As part of the Autumn Statement yesterday, it was revealed millions on benefits and Universal Credit will receive an extra one-off £900.
Eight million households currently get cost of living payments worth up to £650, but eligibility criteria could change under any new rules.
Right now, eligibility is the list of benefits mentioned above.
Pensioners have also started getting a £300 one-off payment.
You qualify under the current rules if you normally get the winter fuel payment, but this could change under the new rules.
The £300 cost of living payment is paid on top of the other winter support.
You’ll need to be:
- born on or before 25 September 1956
- have lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 in what is known as the “qualifying week”
The scheme is where eligible households can get £150 off their electricity bill each winter – but you’ll have to wait until the colder months to get the money off.
Households in England and Wales don’t need to apply to get the cash and they’ll automatically qualify if they are receiving certain benefits.
You can read more about who’s eligible here.
There are also plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you’re struggling.
British Gas has recently confirmed that it’ll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.
Ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply, or check here:
- British Gas Energy Trust
- Bulb energy fund
- EDF’s energy customer support fund
- E.on’s energy fund
- Npower’s energy fund
- Ovo’s debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power’s hardship fund
There’s also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you’re on a prepayment metre.
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