THOUSANDS of households can get free cash vouchers for food, energy bills and essentials this winter.

The help will be dished out under a new round of £421million funding given by the government to the Household Support Fund.

Councils have been given a slice of the new pot of funding on offer, which will be handed out to struggling residents to help pay for bills and essentials.

Peterborough City Council has revealed eligible households will get up to £200 for food and energy bills, which will be given out in the form of vouchers.

You'll need to apply for help through the council's website and meet its eligibility criteria.

To quality, you need to live in the Peterborough City Council area and be aged between 18 and state pensionable age.

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You will also need to be in the process of applying for a means-tested benefit such as Universal Credit, income support or child tax benefits.

If you are a single person earning less than £25,000 a year, or living as a couple earning less than £43,000, you may also be eligible.

As part of the assessment process, you'll need to give out some personal information, so make sure you have it to hand when you're filling in the form.

It will then be decided by the council how much money you are entitled to.

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The scheme will run from this month to March 2023, or until the funding has been spent.

Can I get help if I don't live in Peterborough?

Yes – you can still get help under the Household Support Fund.

What support you can get will vary, because each council is in charge of how to spend the funding available.

Some decide to dish the help out automatically, while you'll need to apply in other cases.

Nottinghamshire Council, for example, has revealed thousands of households will get £100, which will be given out in the form of vouchers.

Some councils choose to distribute funding in the form of vouchers, while others give out cash payments.

To get more information on what support is available, and how to get it, you'll need to contact your local council.

You can find yours using the gov.uk council checker tool.

What can I get?

Councils are currently deciding how to distribute their new round of funding.

That means, in many cases, households won't know exactly what they can get under the latest round of support just yet.

But in the last round of funding, you could get up to £500 in free cash support from some councils – like Bromsgrove and Redditch.

Residents of Effingham, near Guildford, could get up to £300 free cash to help them through the cost of living crisis.

While Lewisham Council sent payments to families with children receiving free school meals, and pensioner households if they apply for the help.

What other help can I get?

There's plenty of other help on offer if you're not eligible for help through the Household Support Fund.

Energy companies offer hardship funds, for example, you can get £750 from British Gas if you're a customer.

Households on pension credit or low incomes may qualify for the warm home discount scheme worth £150.

It's worth checking if you can get help with your food bills.

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If you’re pregnant or have a child under the age of four, then you may qualify for Healthy Start vouchers to help pay for basic foods such as milk or fruit.

You can apply for free school meals for your child if you're claiming certain benefits including Universal Credit.

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