THOUSANDS of households can get free £145 in cash to help towards bills and other essential costs.
The cash support comes through the Household Support Fund which is currently worth £842million.
The scheme was first established in 2021, extended for the second time in the 2022 March budget, for a third time in November and a fourth time in the 2023 Spring Budget.
The scheme is there 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 so you'll have to check to see what you can get and how your council will pay you.
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You'll usually need to be on a low income to receive the help.
For example, 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.
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People are only just realising they could be entitled to an extra £201 a week
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.
Will I get help if I don't live in Windsor and Maidenhead?
Yes – many other councils across the UK are offering financial support via the HSF.
Some are handing out vouchers, while others are making bank transfers to eligible residents.
The amount you are entitled to will vary depending on the area you live in too.
Residents living in Brent could get up to £1,000 in support towards food and council tax bills.
The best thing to do is find out who your local council is and see what their eligibility criteria is for receiving help through the fund.
You can find out what council area you fall under by using the GOV.UK checker.
Bear in mind that lots of councils haven't opened the application process for the next round of funding.
What other help is on offer?
If you live in Cornwall and 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
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.
Meanwhile, pensioners who are entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023/24 will get an extra £150 or £300 paid on top of their normal payment from November this year.
You will be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment this winter if you were born before September 25, 1957.
Those eligible for the payment will receive a letter in October and November telling them how much money to expect.
You should check if you are entitled to any benefits that qualify you for the cost of living payments.
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
Remember though, these calculators offer estimates of what you could receive, and aren't 100% accurate.
But they do serve to remind you of what extra help you could be entitled to.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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