Thousands of families could get up to £300 FREE cash to help with essentials – check if you can get it | The Sun

STRUGGLING families could get as much as £300 free to help with the essentials as the cost of living continues to bite.

The money is available through the national scheme The Household Support Fund by the government’s Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) to support to vulnerable households in most need of help with significantly rising living costs.

The scheme, which has a £500million pot of money, is due to end on September 30, 2022.

It was originally intended to run for six months, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a six-month extension to the deadline in his Spring Statement.

Households are being urged to apply for help as soon as possible, as local councils may have to stop dishing out help sooner if they use up their pot of cash.

It comes as inflation spiked to 9 per cent in April in a bitter blow to families facing the cost-of-living crisis, and the energy regulator has warned that bills will reach £2,800 by October.

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Each council determines how to use its budget to help local residents, with many previously dishing out supermarket and fuel vouchers or one-off payments.

Not all residents can receive the support due to eligibility requirements, so it's best to check your local council's website.

Some councils are giving out help automatically, while in other areas you'll need to apply.

For residents in Blackpool, they can get as much as £300, depending on their circumstances.

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Who Qualifies?

To apply to the Household Support Fund applicants must be:

  • Over the age of 16 and responsible for paying household utility bills
  • A Blackpool Council resident
  • Have insufficient resources to meet rising living costs

There is no requirement to be in receipt of DWP benefits to apply to this fund.

How much money could you get and what can it be used for?

The fund can help by providing short term financial support to meet immediate needs and help residents who are struggling to afford household energy costs.

In Blackpool, an award of £200 will be made to qualifying households of one or two people (including children) and £300 to qualifying households of three or more people (including children).

If successful, awards will be paid directly to your energy provider and will appear as a credit on your bill or pre-payment meter.

Household members must be permanent residents and registered for council tax at the address. Children must be permanent residents of the address and have Child Benefit in payment at the address.

The council will carry out checks to confirm household members.

Evidence needed to support your claim

To support your claim you will need to provide evidence of:

  • Most recent full months bank/building society/savings account statement for you and all other adults in your household
  •  A copy of your electricity bill clearly showing your name and address, the name of the supplier and your account number (any award made will be paid directly to your supplier)

Applications submitted with no, or insufficient evidence will be rejected. If you are having difficulty submitting your evidence, please contact the assessment team by email at [email protected]

The application process

Once your application has been submitted you will receive a confirmation email to the email address the applicant provided which will include your application reference number.

This number will be needed in any communication regarding your claim.

The council says it will process the applications in the order they are received in, so it’s best to get your details in as soon as possible.

It warns though: “Due to the expected high number of applications, it may take several weeks before your application is considered.”

The council requests that you only contact them after four weeks of your application date if you are concerned about what is happening with your claim.

Can I get help if I don’t live in Blackpool?

In short, you can, but as the funding is being given out by local authorities, the application method is different depending on where you live.

To find out what support is on offer in your area, speak directly to your local council, or visit its website for more details.

You can find your relevant authorities by using the government's local council checker tool and inputting your postcode.

For example, Torbay Council is giving eligible cash-strapped residents a maximum of £50 towards food, and where necessary, another £50 towards energy bills.

Meanwhile, in Kensington and Chelsea residents can grab up to £150 to help cover household bills, food and clothing.

If you aren’t eligible but are still struggling to afford essentials, you may be able to get cash relief elsewhere. British Gas customers can apply for a £750 grant to help with energy bills.

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Other households are able to knock 50% off their water bills depending on where they live, like residents in Essex and Suffolk. 

The Sun also provides in-depth advice on how to reduce different essential payments if you’re struggling.

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