STRUGGLING households can get up to £1,000 free cash to go towards energy and food bills.
The money comes from the Household Support Fund which provides cash and vouchers to people struggling with the cost of living.
The scheme is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions and has been created to help support vulnerable households throughout England.
Councils up and down the country get a slice of the £500million funding available to dish out to Brits in need.
The help you can get varies depending on your local council, as well as your personal situation.
Anyone already receiving benefits will not see these affected by the HSF.
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And you do not necessarily need to be getting benefits to receive vouchers or funds from the HSF.
Check with your local council to find out what support is available and the eligibility criteria.
Here's a list of councils that are offering cash, how much and how to apply.
If your council isn't listed below that doesn't mean it won't be offering any help – we've just selected a few as an example.
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Torridge Council – up to £1,000
Residents living in Torridge can get thousands of pounds in support.
Struggling households could get anywhere between £600 and £1,000.
The exact amount depends on the individual's circumstances.
The money will be paid direct into bank accounts and will be paid within 14 working days of application.
If the money cannot be transferred to a bank account, then the council will give the support through vouchers instead.
To get the help, you'll need to head to the Torridge Council website and search "household support fund".
You can then fill in an application form and you'll hear back from the council on whether it was successful.
Windsor and Maidenhead – £145
Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council is offering households £145 free cash.
To qualify, residents must be on a low-income and show they're financially struggling.
The council has partnered with Citizens Advice East Berkshire to identify those in need – you can't apply directly through the council.
Those eligible will be given a reference number and a link to an online application form.
But households only have until 30 June to apply.
The scheme will reopen again in July but it's best to be quick to avoid disappointment.
If you do think you qualify and don't hear anything, it's always worth contacting Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council to see if you can get help.
Torbay Council – up to £500
Thousands of residents in Torbay can get free cash paid directly to their bank accounts to help pay for food, utility bills and other essentials.
Residents eligible for the scheme who live in Torbay could get up between £150 and £500.
To be considered for the payment you must:
- Be over 16 years of age
- Live in Torbay
- Be on a welfare benefit/tax credit or have a disposable income of less than £50 per week
Households in receipt of a welfare benefit can receive £150.
Households not in receipt of a welfare benefit can receive between £250 and £500. This depends on the size of your household.
Torbay Council will also consider two applications per household:
- One application from April to September
- A second application between October and March
If you're eligible for both, it could mean you can get up to £1,000 in free cash.
Those who live in Torbay and think they're eligible for the Household Support Fund will need to apply by filling in an online form.
You can locate the form on Torbay Council's website.
Cornwall Council – £160
People living in Cornwall can get £160 in support.
Those who apply will get two payments of £80 directly into their bank accounts.
The first payment will be sent between May and June and the second between October and November.
Those who qualify include:
- Pensioners receiving pension credit and other vulnerable adults
- Families with children between reception and Year 11 ages on low income and receiving benefits, or free school meals.
Households do not need to apply – the money will be sent to you automatically.
However, if you think you qualify but don't receive the cash, it's worth chasing Cornwall Council to see if you're able to get it.
Wokingham Council – £100
Residents in Wokingham can get up to £100 in support from their local council.
Eligible households can get £100 in cash vouchers to go towards food, energy, fuel and other essential costs.
The Wokingham Council website says the help is "open to anyone struggling with rising cost of living, as well as people in receipt of benefits".
You'll usually need to prove that you're on a low income or receiving certain benefits.
If you applied for the previous round of funding then you can still apply again.
If you live in Wokingham and qualify, you can apply by either:
- Calling Citizens Advice Wokingham One Front Door on 0808 278 7958
- Apply on Citizens Advice Wokingham website
- Call Age UK Berkshire on (0118) 959 4242
- Email Age UK Berkshire at [email protected].
Applicants have until September 2023 to apply but it's best to get in quick as the funding is limited and once it's gone it's gone.
Medway, Kent – up to £210
If you live in Medway in Kent you can apply for up to £210 in support.
Eligible households can get vouchers for food costs and energy bills.
This is how much you could get:
- Single person: £50
- Household with two people: £70
- Household with three people: £105
- Household with four people: £140
- Household with five people: £175
- Household with six or more people: £210
To be eligible, households must:
- Be a Medway resident
- Be aged 16 or over
- Be in demonstrable hardship
- Have less than £500 in your bank account
- Not have access to any funds that can be used for the same thing the help would be used for
If you think you're eligible, then you can apply online via the Medway Council website.
Dorset – £150
Residents living in Dorset will be able to apply for £150 in vouchers to go towards grocery costs.
The next round of funding opened Wednesday, May 3, and households will be able to apply from then.
You'll qualify if you have:
- An annual household net income of less than £30,000 and
- Savings of less than £16,000 and
- Not applied for a previous HSF payment within the last six months
But funds are limited so households will need to be quick if they think they're eligible.
You can apply online via the Dorset Council website.
What other help is on offer?
If you don't meet the criteria for the Household Support Fund, there is other help on offer.
Millions of households are in line for cost of living payments worth up to £1,350.
The first instalment of the £900 payment is being made to millions on certain benefits, including Universal Credit and Pension Credit, as of April 25.
However, some applicants are still waiting for theirs, though it should be in bank accounts by May 17 at the latest.
Meanwhile, a £150 payment and between £150-£300 payment will be made to millions with disabilities and pensioners.
You may be entitled to the £150 disability cost of living payment if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
If you are eligible for the payment, it will be made this summer.
You should check if you are entitled to any benefits that qualify you for the cost of living payments.
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Some charities have benefits calculators that will give you a rough estimate of what you could be in line for. That includes:
- Policy in Practice
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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