THOUSANDS of households can apply for £300 in free energy bill cash – but act now to avoid missing out.
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.
And depending on your circumstances, households could receive energy bill vouchers worth up to £300 – as is the case in Blackpool.
But, 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.
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.
Blackpool Council is offering hard-up households up to £300 in free energy credit vouchers.
To apply for Blackpool’s Household Support Fund applicants must be:
- Over the age of 16 and responsible for paying electricity/gas bills for the property
- A Blackpool Council resident (receive a council tax bill from Blackpool Council)
- Experiencing financial hardship and not have enough resources to meet your immediate short-term needs
There is no requirement to be in receipt of DWP benefits to apply to this fund.
An award of £200 will be made to qualifying households of one or two people (including children) and £300 to qualifying households of three or more people (including children).
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 Blackpool you can apply for the cash offered through the Household Support Fund by filling in an online form Council’s website.
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 – so it’s best to get your applications in quickly.
You’ll need to provide the following as part of your application:
- Most recent full months bank/building society/savings account statement for all accounts for the applicant and all other adults in your household. Statements should show transactions in and out of the account, not just balances. This evidence is required to demonstrate your household meets the aims of the scheme
- A copy of your electricity or gas bill clearly showing your name and address, the name of the supplier and your account number
If you have a pre-payment meter, you will need to access or create an online account with your electricity or gas supplier. From your online account you can take a screenshot or photo showing your name, address name of your supplier and your pre-pay account number.
Awards will be paid directly to your electricity or gas supplier based on the account details provided.
If you are having any difficulty submitting your evidence, you can contact the assessment team by email at [email protected].
On submitting your application a confirmation email will be sent to the email address you provided which will include your application reference number. Please ensure your email address is entered correctly on the application form.
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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