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Thousands of households can claim up to £500 free cash to spend on food and fuel this Christmas – how to apply

THOUSANDS can grab up to £500 to go towards food and fuel this Christmas.

The support comes via the Household Support Fund – a scheme set up by the government.

You could get up to £500 to help with your food and fuel bills – here’s how

Councils across England are getting their share of a £421million cash pot put towards helping those on low income.

Each area will decide what the cash is used for and who it is dished out to.

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 foodenergy bills and other essential items.

Now, Luton Council has announced it’s offering some residents a helping hand of up to £500.

Who’s eligible?

If you’re on a low income and think you might be eligible for help from Luton Council, there’s certain criteria you have to meet.

Firstly, you need to have savings of under £6,000.

Secondly, your total household income needs to be under £34,100 annually.

You’ll also need to be in receipt of benefits, so you’ll need to have that information to hand when you apply.

You’ll also be eligible if you have higher energy bills due to medical needs, or you rely on a pre-paid meter.

But do note you can only submit one application per household.

And keep in mind how much money you receive will depend on your circumstances.

How can I apply?

You can apply for help by using the online form found on Luton Council’s website.

If you’re having difficulty doing this, say for example if you don’t have access to the internet, you can call 01582 510373 to get help.

And if you can’t find the form or have any questions, you can email [email protected].

Either way, you’ll need to prove to Luton Council that you are experiencing hardship, why you can’t afford certain expenses and what might happen if you don’t receive help.

The deadline to apply is February 28, 2023.

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.

What happens if my application is successful?

If Luton Council decides you’re entitled to a payment worth up to £500, you’ll receive a letter saying what the money should be used for.

The options listed on the website are:

  • grocery vouchers
  • cash vouchers
  • utility vouchers

Each voucher is worth £100 – and the maximum you can receive is vouchers worth £500 altogether. But how much you’ll get depends on your circumstances.

You may be emailed these vouchers, or they might arrive with your letter.

What about if I don’t live in Luton?

If you don’t live in Luton you could be in line for help through your local council.

You should check on your council’s website, or give them a call to find out if you’re eligible.

The best way to find out what council area you fall under is by using the government’s council locator found on its website.

You might have to be quick if you want help though.

While the deadline for councils to hand out the latest tranche of HSF cash support is March 31, 2023, it’s done on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Eligibility for the fund depends on where you live, although it’s usually given to people on low incomes or benefits.

So if you’re receiving Universal Credit for example you might be able to apply.

In Guildford, for example, residents could get up to £400 to help out with the cost of living.

Bradford Council residents are being offered £65 directly into their accounts – but only if they receive a council tax reduction.

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