Households to get £100s in free cash handouts as struggling Brits get fresh £1billion fund in Autumn Statement | The Sun
THOUSANDS are entitled to new funding now that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced plans in his Autumn Statement.
Mr Hunt has revealed the Household Support Fund (HSF) will be extended past April 2023 with a renewed £1billion fund.
The HSF is where councils are given a slice of government funding to reward hard-up residents to help pay for bills and essentials.
The government previously announced a £421million pot of cash at the end of September to be made available from October this year until March next year.
However, now the scheme will run through 2023 and into 2024 with another £1billion fund, revealed in the the Autumn Statement.
You must be on a low income to receive the help.
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Each council gets a different portion of funding depending on the size of the catchment area, population, and need.
Right now, for example, Birmingham has the largest share of cash – worth £12.8million – in total since the scheme started.
How do I apply?
Usually, you have to be in receipt of a council tax reduction, or prove you're in financial difficulty, to get the help.
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You'll need to ask your local authority for more information on how to apply, because each one will have a different application process.
To see what help is on offer in your area, contact your local council – you can find out who yours is by using the gov.uk authority tool checker.
The last round of funding saw some households apply for the help, while others received it automatically.
For example, households living in Warwickshire County Council's catchment area received free energy bill vouchers automatically.
While other councils were offering direct cash payments worth up to £500 – like Bromsgrove and Redditch.
Other authorities were offering vouchers – like Coventry City Council.
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.
It's important to check eligibility with your council as it may differ depending where you live, but it may help if you receive any of these:
- Universal Credit
- Job Seeker's Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
Other ways to get help with bills
As part of the Autumn Statement yesterday, it was revealed millions on benefits and Universal Credit will receive an extra one-off £900.
Eight million households currently get cost of living payments worth up to £650, but eligibility criteria could change under any new rules.
Right now, eligibility is the list of benefits mentioned above.
Pensioners will also be getting a £300 one-off payment.
The current "Pensioner Cost of Living payment" is being handed out to millions on a low income.
You qualify under the current rules if you normally get the Winter Fuel Payment, but this could change under the new rules.
The £300 cost of living payment is paid on top of the other winter support.
You'll need to be:
- born on or before 25 September 1956
- have lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 in what is known as the "qualifying week"
Struggling families are eligible for the Warm House Discount to help them tackle the cost of living.
The scheme is where eligible households can get £150 off their electricity bill each winter – but you'll have to wait until the colder months to get the money off.
Households in England and Wales don't need to apply to get the cash and they'll automatically qualify if they are receiving certain benefits.
You can read more about who's eligible here.
There are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling.
British Gas has recently confirmed that it'll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.
Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:
- British Gas Energy Trust
- Bulb energy fund
- EDF's energy customer support fund
- E.on's energy fund
- Npower's energy fund
- Ovo's debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power's hardship fund
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There's also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment metre.
And for more on what the Autumn Statement means for you, read our round up here.
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