Huge fund giving out free cash and vouchers to struggling households extended AGAIN – how much can you claim? | The Sun

A HUGE fund which gives hard-up households free cash and vouchers has been extended again.

Families and individuals struggling with the cost of living will be able to apply for the Household Support Fund after Mach 31 when it had been set to end.

The government is pumping a further £842million into the pot of cash which councils are giving out.

The scheme was first established in 2021, extended for the second time in the March Budget and for a third time in November to help those on the lowest incomes with the rising cost of living.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now confirmed the fourth extension of the scheme through to March 31, 2024.

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

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For example, Bradford Council has been allocated £11million while Croydon Council is set to receive £6million.

The money on offer to residents varies by location so you'll have to check to see what you can get and how your council will pay you once your council receives its new budget.

Under the current Household Support Scheme households can expect to receive hundreds in support.

Right now, Runnymede Council is paying hard-up households up to £800.

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While those who live in the district of Harrow Council can apply for £300.

Residents can claim the cash to help with things like energy and grocery bills, rent arrears or council tax payments.

It's likely that we'll see councils offer up similar examples of support when the scheme is renewed again in April.

Mims Davies, DWP minister for social mobility, youth and progression, said: "The Household Support Fund has already helped vulnerable families across England through these challenging times and I am pleased it will continue to do so for another full year. 

"This is just one part of our extensive and targeted £26 billion support package, which includes payments worth £900 for millions of people on benefits and additional support for disabled people and pensioners, whilst every household will continue to save money thanks to our Energy Price Guarantee."

How do you apply?

To get the help, you'll need to check if you need to apply via your local council – as they are in charge of distributing the funding.

To find your local council, use the Gov.UK council finder tool.

Once you've found your council, there should be information on how to apply for funding on its website.

Each council will have a different application process – so exact details on how to apply will vary depending on where you live.

The eligibility requirements to access the fund will also vary.

But, some councils won't require you to apply for the help and they'll contact you about any cash available if you qualify.

If there's no information on your council's website, then it's best to ring them up and ask for more information.

What other help is available?

As part of the Autumn Statement, it was revealed millions on benefits and Universal Credit will receive an extra one-off £900.

Struggling families are also 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 in our guide.

There are also plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling:

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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 also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment meter.

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