HARD-UP families have just days left to claim £140 free cash towards essential bills.
The final call comes as the Household Support Fund (HSF) draws to a close.
The scheme has been running for nearly six months and was scheduled to cover the winter period.
It's not uncommon for bills to be higher during the colder months, but households have been hit particularly hard this year as a cost of living crisis grips the nation.
The scheme was put in place to provide financial support to vulnerable residents most in need of extra cash.
In total, the government dished out a £500million pot to local councils across the country.
Each local authority was handed a different amount of funding based on its size and need.
Each council determines how its portion will be used to help cash-strapped locals.
read more on the Household Support Scheme
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Many authorities opted to give out supermarket vouchers, such as Richmond, while others provided one-off cash payments, like Herefordshire.
Officially the funding is set to finish March 31, but some areas will see applications close sooner than this.
Depending which area you live in, you could get up to £800 free cash towards essentials.
You can find your local council by using the government's checker tool.
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How to claim £140 free cash
If you live in Leicestershire, there's still time to grab up to £140 from the HSF.
Leicestershire County Council were given £3.6million from the government as part of the scheme.
With it, authorities are awarding eligible families food and fuel vouchers.
A family of four could receive up to £140 in food vouchers – £40 per adult, and £30 per child.
Single households can get £50 food vouchers, while multiple adult households can get £40 per adult.
The maximum award for fuel vouchers is £49 for a family, or £29 for a single household.
Residents cannot apply directly to the scheme themselves.
They instead have to be referred by a professional support worker or agency, such as Citizens Advice – so it's important to get in touch now.
All referrals have to be made by March 29, which is just one week away.
To be eligible, the council outlines the criteria that each household has to meet, some of which are:
- Families with vulnerable children aged zero to five, or that may not qualify for free school meals that are known to social workers and the Children and Family Wellbeing Service (but are not accessing FEEE);
- Individuals on: Universal Credit; jobseeker's allowance; child tax credit (provided you’re not also entitled to working tax credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190); and more.
The full list of eligibility can be found on Leicestershire County Council's website.
If you don't live in Leicestershire, you may still be able to claim help depending what budget your local council has left.
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If you find you're not eligible for the HSF, you could boost your funds by claiming back thousands in refunds – here's how.
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