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New summer cost of living payments worth up to £470 and millions on low-incomes or Universal Credit could get them

THOUSANDS of struggling households can claim up to £470 in new summer cost of living payments.

The support is provided through the Household Support Fund (HSF) scheme, which has been extended until September 2024.

Check with your local council to see how much you could get[/caption]

The funding is provided to all local authorities across the country and they have until September to distribute it to low-income households.

Each council gets a different portion of funding depending on the size of the catchment area, population, and need.

But the exact amount you can get will depend on where you live, so you’ll have to check to see what you can get and how your council will pay you.

Councils also have the autonomy to set the eligibility criteria for who should receive the funding.

For example, one council may offer it to those claiming certain benefits, while others may only offer it to those not claiming benefits or earning below a certain income threshold.

You’ll usually need to be on a low income to receive the help.

Some councils will also make payouts automatically and others will require you to fill in an application form.

Check with your council to see exactly who’s eligible.

Households could get supermarket vouchers or cash grants worth up to £470.

We’ve listed what’s on offer from several different councils right now.

Plus, we’ve explained if you need to apply for the support.

Blackpool – £300

Residents in Blackpool can receive support from the Household Support Fund to ease the burden of the current cost of living.

Applicants for the fund must be over 16 and responsible for paying the property’s energy bills.

To be eligible, you can’t have received a HSF payment in the last 12 months.

Households with one or two people – including children – will see £200 paid directly to their energy provider.

Those with three or more will get £300 paid towards their energy costs.

The council will carry out checks to determine how many people are in each house.

The children must be permanent residents at the address.

The scheme is set to run until September 30, however, it may be withdrawn earlier if the allocated funding has been exhausted.

You can apply for the fund by visiting www.blackpool.gov.uk/Residents/Benefits/Forms/Household-support-fund-application-for-assistance.aspx.

What energy bill help is available?

THERE'S a number of different ways to get help paying your energy bills if you're struggling to get by.

If you fall into debt, you can always approach your supplier to see if they can put you on a repayment plan before putting you on a prepayment meter.

This involves paying off what you owe in instalments over a set period.

If your supplier offers you a repayment plan you don’t think you can afford, speak to them again to see if you can negotiate a better deal.

Several energy firms have grant schemes available to customers struggling to cover their bills.

But eligibility criteria varies depending on the supplier and the amount you can get depends on your financial circumstances.

For example, British Gas or Scottish Gas customers struggling to pay their energy bills can get grants worth up to £1,500.

British Gas also offers help via its British Gas Energy Trust and Individuals Family Fund.

You don’t need to be a British Gas customer to apply for the second fund.

EDF, E.ON, Octopus Energy and Scottish Power all offer grants to struggling customers too.

Thousands of vulnerable households are missing out on extra help and protections by not signing up to the Priority Services Register (PSR).

The service helps support vulnerable households, such as those who are elderly or ill, and some of the perks include being given advance warning of blackouts, free gas safety checks and extra support if you’re struggling.

Get in touch with your energy firm to see if you can apply.

Bracknell Forest Council – £315

The council is offering vouchers to those eligible to ease the burden with energy, food and other essential costs.

Applicants could be eligible for a one-off £105 payment per child between April 2024 and September 2024.

To qualify, applicants must have qualifying benefits, and their child must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Child is under five years old in an early years setting
  • Child is 16 to 18 years old and in full-time education
  • Young person is aged 16 to 25 years old in full-time education with an Education, Health and Care plan
  • Child is home educated
  • Child attends an out-of-borough school where they are not eligible for equivalent support from their education authority

Applications can me made by visiting www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/benefits-and-support/household-support-fund.

Cambridgeshire County Council – £220

Households in Cambridgeshire in need of support can apply for a financial award of £110 per household.

Even better, residents can apply twice for support between 1 April and September 30 this year, meaning each household could be in line to receive as much as £220.

The funds can be paid in a lump sum of £110 into your bank account, or split between different types of vouchers.

The types of vouchers available are paypoint cashout vouchers, supermarket vouchers or paypoint energy vouchers.

To be eligible, residents will need to live in Cambridgeshire, have £16,000 or less in money, savings, and investments and income below the threshold.

The threshold is £24,876 before tax for a single adult, rising to £30,465 for the single parent of one child, £37,377 for the single parent of two children and £48,735 for a single parent of three or more children.

For couples without children the threshold is £34,494, rising to £36,123 for couples with one child, £42,418 for couples with two children and £54,572 for couples with three children or more.

You can apply online by visiting www.cambridgeshire-self.achieveservice.com/service/Household_Support_Fund.

Falkirk Council – £470

Those living in Falkirk in receipt of a council tax reduction, housing benefit, Universal Credit, income support, jobseekers allowance or pension credit can apply for hundreds of pounds in cash support.

The amount residents can get under the HSF depends on the number of people in their household.

A single adult will receive £110, with an additional £90 payment made for every further resident.

For example, a couple with no dependent children would receive £200.

A couple with one dependent child would receive £290, a couple with two dependent children £380, and those with three children £470.

Falkirk Council has confirmed there is no limit to the number of children that can be added to a claim.

Applications can be made by visiting www.falkirk.gov.uk/services/benefits-support/houshold-support-fund.aspx.

Successful claimants will receive their payments in 10 working days.

Middlesborough Council – £70

Hard-up families in Middlesborough can also receive support from the Household Support Fund.

People in the area who claim benefits and do not have children can apply for a £50 voucher today.

Those living alone will get up to £37.50 and couples will get £50.

To be eligible you need to be claiming at least one of these benefits:

  • Council tax reduction
  • Income-based employment and support allowance
  • Housing benefit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Tax credit
  • Universal Credit

If there are children in your household, you’ll get a voucher for £70 per child rather than the amounts above. This is the same whether you’re single or a couple.

Those not getting benefits and earning less than £30,000 a year (if single) or £50,000 a year (if in a couple) and with less than £6,000 in saving can apply for the support too.

Apply by visiting www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/benefits-and-support/support-payments/household-support-fund/.

Rutland County Council – £200

Rutland County Council will provide one payment of £200 to care leavers in June 2024.

The payment will be organised by Children’s Services Support.

Up to 10,000 one-off payments are up for grabs.

Household who are eligible for a payment detailed do not need to apply.

The council will issue awards directly.

West Berkshire – £300

West Berkshire Council has been allocated around £695,000 by the Government for hard-up households in the local area.

Roughly £253,000 of this has been set aside for households to claim direct support.

That means each family could claim £300 free cash, or £150 for an individual.

Households can only claim one grant during each funding period.

Residents can apply by visiting www.westberks.gov.uk/article/38537/Apply-for-the-Household-Support-Fund.

You need to provide the following or your application might be rejected:

  • Declaration of household income and expenditure
  • One full month’s bank statement for all accounts
  • Confirmation of any savings
  • Recent utility bill or evidence of a West Berkshire Address
  • If you are applying for a family household payment, the number of children in the household must be evidenced, i.e through Universal Credit or child benefit

How has the Household Support Fund evolved?

THE Household Support Fund was first launched in October 2021 to help Brits pay their way through winter amid the cost of living crisis.

Councils up and down the country got a slice of the £500million funding available to dish out to Brits in need.

It was then extended for a second time in the 2022 Spring Budget and for a third time in October 2022 to help those on the lowest incomes with the rising cost of living.

The DWP then confirmed a fourth extension of the scheme through to March 31, 2024.

Chancellor Jeremey Hunt extended the HSF for the fifth time while delivering his Spring Budget on March 6, 2024.

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