THOUSANDS of hard-up households can get £500 in free cash directly into their bank accounts this month.
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, 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.
Eligible households can get up to £500 in free cash depending on their circumstances.
What are councils offering and who is eligible?
Local authorities have had some autonomy on how they use the Fund to reach the vulnerable people in their communities.
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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 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 in the first 6 months – April to September
- A second application – October to March
If you're eligible for both, it could mean you can get up to £1,000 in free cash.
How do I apply for the Household Support Fund?
Some households will be notified that they can apply for cash help and others will receive the cash automatically.
Again, your council will set out whether or not you need to apply for the 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.
What if I don't live in Torbay?
Your local council will likely have its own version of the scheme going and you should get in contact with them to find out more.
For example, thousands of residents in Cornwall can get £160 in support.
Those who apply will get two payments of £80 directly into their bank accounts.
Those living in Medway in Kent, can apply for up to £210 in support.
Eligible households can get vouchers for food costs and energy bills.
Check with your local council to see what support is on offer.
What other help is available?
Millions are also in line to receive cost of living payments worth up to £1,350.
The first instalment of the £900 payment is currently being paid 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.
Energy suppliers also offer plenty of energy grants and schemes to help you out if you're struggling.
Here's a list of schemes open right now:
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- British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
- British Gas Energy Trust
- EDF Customer Support Fund
- E.ON and E.ON Next Grants
- Octopus Energy Assist Fund
- OVO Energy
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
There's a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment meter.
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