THOUSANDS of households will get £90 free directly into their bank accounts before Christmas.
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.
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.
For example, residents eligible for the scheme who live in Burnley will get a £90 one-off cash sum.
To qualify for Burnley Council’s Household Support Fund, you must live in the Borough of Burnley and fall into one of the following groups:
- Your household receives council tax support and has a child that is 4 years old or under.
- You are only eligible for housing benefit and have not been eligible for the government’s £650 cost of living support payment.
- You made an application for council tax support since 2020, but your application was not successful because your income was too high.
How do I apply for the Household Support Fund?
Every council also has the autonomy to decide whether or not its customers need to apply for the support directly.
Households in Burnley do not need to apply for the free cash.
Instead, the Council is writing to all eligible households.
Burnley Council started sending letters in the first week of December and they will continue to be sent out in batches over a six-week period.
The letter will confirm your eligibility and include a barcode which will allow you to collect your £90 payment from your local Post Office branch.
Many of these letters have already been sent out, so be sure to check that you haven’t missed it.
How do I redeem the free cash?
To redeem the £90 free cash voucher you’ll need to visit your local Post Office.
Be aware that you’ll need to take one of the following documents to your branch so the cashier can confirm your identity:
- Council tax bill for 2022/23.
- Bank statement confirming your address (within the last 3 months).
- Utility bill (within the last 3 months).
- Rent statement or book (within the last 3 months).
- Mortgage statement (within the last 3 months).
You’ll be given the option to deposit the £90 directly into your bank account or leave with the cash at the branch.
If you do not want the cash deposited to your bank account, make sure to take your debit card along to the Post Office too.
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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