HOUSEHOLDS can claim vouchers and cash up to £285 this winter.
Through the Household Support Fund they can get financial help during what can be the most expensive season of the year.
Many households especially find it difficult when they have to spend on bills over Christmas, and make payments and wages that run through January after major festive spending.
But the government program can be a valuable lifesaver – and we reveal what you can get and everything you need to know about the support offered in your area.
What is the Household Support Fund?
Those in dire need of financial assistance can participate in the Household Assistance Fund.
This program allows low-income households to apply for large-scale help in the form of The government program is worth £500 million.
Councils were given funding back in October to help families most in need.
It comes after a £20-a-week Universal credit boost cut, leaving millions of families to see their payments cut.
It also aims to help close the gap with the end of other government aid schemes such as furlough, providing a lifeline for Britons struggling during the pandemic, as well as Vivid local support subsidies.
The help you can get varies depending on who your local council is and your individual circumstances, but you may be able to get money to help pay for things like heating your home or to cover your weekly groceries.
How much can I get?
You can get up to £285 cash and vouchers with this scheme depending on where you live and your personal circumstances.
Some councils offer less, and some offer nothing at all – but you should check what your local area can offer.
Some councils offer vouchers, while in others you also claim free school meals worth a certain amount like £15 a week.
But in many cases you will be able to claim vouchers of between £30 and £100 that can be specifically spent in your local supermarket or on your prepaid meter’s energy bill.
The exact amount you receive may also vary depending on your eligibility.
For example, sometimes the board will take into account how many children you have or what other benefits you have requested.
How can I request?
To claim you will have to visit your local council website.
There’s no rush to sign up, that is, unless you’re hoping in cash to land before Christmas this year, but normally you’ll only have winter to claim.
Most councils will close applications by the end of February or March 2022.
Your circumstances will be checked and other benefits you claim as well as your earnings may be taken into account – so you will have to declare some personal details when you sign up.
Which council is providing cash?
The Sun looked at the help provided by authorities at home and abroad to see what thousands of families could get.
Each council will have its own eligibility criteria that you need to meet to get help – and this varies depending on who your local government is.
In some cases, you will need to claim council tax assistance and claim or qualify for certain benefits, such as Universal Credit, to apply for help.
For things like free school meals during the holidays, your child needs to be enrolled in your school’s free meal program for the term.
Families living in the North Yorkshire County Council catchment area can claim a £125 voucher to help pay for food and other essentials.
if you apply in time, you’ll receive a voucher worth £125 and a separate voucher of equivalent value in January next year – meaning you can get up to £250 cash back in total.
Those living in the East Riding of Yorkshire must apply until Christmas Eve £285 to help pay for household essentials and bills.
You can get up to £150 for food, £75 for fuel costs and up to £60 for help paying for children’s clothing.
Once your application is approved, you will receive half of the total amount you are entitled to now, with the other half to be paid in January or February next year.
That means you can get £142.50 before Christmas to help you pay your way, and you can apply online via council website.
If you live in Barnsley, you can get £200 in vouchers to spend at supermarkets and stores including Aldi, Asda, Argos and Currys – they usually arrive in 10 business days
Hillingdon Council also offers a £15 voucher per child, per week for a period of one month.
That means if you have two kids, you’ll get a total of £120 to help with food costs – and you can also get £100 to help pay your energy bills.
Dorset Council is offering households vouchers worth up to £200 to help pay their energy bills.
You’ll get up to four separate vouchers worth £50 each – you can find out more and sign up on council website.
Shropshire Council is also giving households £115 free cash to put towards their food, energy and water bills.
You can only apply once for the payment through agency website.
In January and mid-February, Durham Council will provide eligible families with £60 food stamps every day.
Although by 28 February you will have to apply for the Hertfordshire Council Household Support Allowance.
You can get £60 free cash on food, energy and essential goods.
People living in Cambridgeshire can get a Supermarket voucher worth £30 in time for the Christmas holidays too.
Meanwhile, families can get up to £120 in voucher that can be included in paying the prepaid metered energy bill if they live in North Northamptonshire.
And thousands of families can get it £200 hard cash if they live in Birmingham as part of the program’s assistance.
If you haven’t been mentioned you should ask your local council what help is available in your area and eligibility requirements – you can find out who you are through gov.uk website.
What other help can I get?
If you are not eligible for the Household Support Allowance but are short on cash, you may be able to get other help.
Welfare support program
Brits can apply for much needed cash and vouchers, furniture, bills, etc through the welfare assistance program – and you can get up to £1,000 in free cash.
For example, the East Riding of Yorkshire offers £1,000 in free cash to families to pay for essential bills, including food.
But an investigation by The Sun revealed that families are facing a postcode lottery when it comes to finding the help they can get.
Some councils are not generous in providing help, while others don’t even have a plan in place.
Council tax relief
Many council taxpayers may not know that they can get their bill reduced.
Discounts are available to people with low incomes, people who claim certain benefits, people who care about others and other circumstances.
The amount your bill is reduced can range from 25% to 100%, which means you pay nothing for the bill.
You should contact your local authority to apply for a discount.
Payment for discretionary housing
If you are having trouble paying your rent, you can apply discretionary housing payments.
Payment is discretionary, which means that the financial assistance given is determined on a case-by-case basis.
How much you can get, again, depends on your individual circumstances – and you’ll need to apply to your local council for help.
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/17113554/household-support-fund-vouchers-everything-to-know/ Everything you need to know about offers your household can claim for up to £285 free cash this winter