THOUSANDS of hard-up households can get £400 free cash direct to bank accounts to help with the cost of living this winter.
The support comes via the Household Support Fund which is administrated by local authorities across the country.
Depending on your circumstances you could get up to £400 in free cash.
And eligible residents in Guildford Borough Council can get up to £400 worth of help paid directly into their bank accounts.
We’ve explained below who’s eligible for the cash help and how to apply.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed that the Household Support Fund has been extended past April 2023 with a renewed £1billion fund.
Each council gets a different portion of funding depending on the size of the catchment area, population, and need.
That means who’s eligible for help is a bit of a postcode lottery, but the money is usually given to households on low incomes to help pay for food, energy bills and other essential items.
You can check what your local council is offering by using the checker Gov.UK postcode checker tool.
What are councils offering and who is eligible?
Local authorities have 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.
Guildford Borough Council is offering hard-up households up to £400 in direct cash to support.
If you’re on a low income and think you might be eligible for help from Guildford Borough Council but there are certain criteria you have to meet.
Firstly, you have to live in the borough of Guildford, and secondly be over the age of 16.
You also have to prove you’re experiencing financial hardship.
You won’t be able to apply if you need help with your mortgage.
Plus, you can only submit one application per household, although but can submit an application on behalf of someone else.
How do I apply for the Household Support Fund and how will I be paid?
Every council also has the autonomy to decide whether or not its customers need to apply for the support directly.
If you live in Guildford you can apply for the cash offered through the Household Support Fund by filling in an online form Council’s website.
Otherwise, you can call 01483 458 055 to apply for the help.
Households have until 31 March to apply for the funding but the sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll get the cash.
Councils also have a right to shut their application process early if they’ve spent the funding before the original deadline.
You’ll need to prove to Guildford Borough Council that you are experiencing hardship, why you can’t afford certain expenses and what might happen if you don’t receive help.
You might have to offer physical evidence of the hardship you’re experiencing too, like bank statements or notices from bailiffs.
You’ll also need to provide a recent bank statement or letter showing your name, address, as well as sort code and account number so that the cash can be paid directly to you if your application is successful.
If Guildford Borough Council decides you’re entitled to a payment worth up to £400, you’ll receive a letter saying what the money should be used for.
Guildford Council has said that payments will be made directly into your bank account as quickly as possible – so there’s plenty of time to get your application in before Christmas and receive the cash before January.
But if your application is unsuccessful you can ask the council to look at your case again within five days of its decision.
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.
The current pensioner cost of living payment is being handed out to millions on a low income.
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”
Struggling families are eligible for the Warm House Discount to help them tackle the cost of living.
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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