THOUSANDS of households are being urged to apply now for up to £200 in free supermarket vouchers .
The cash support comes through the Household Support Fund which is currently worth £842million.
Thousands of households have been urged to apply for £200 worth of vouchers
The scheme is there to help those on the lowest incomes with the rising cost of living.
Each council gets a different portion of funding depending on the size of the catchment area, population, and need.
The vouchers or grants on offer vary by location so you’ll have to check to see what you can get and how your council will pay you.
You’ll usually need to be on a low income to receive the help.
Eligible households in Harrow, London, can get free supermarket vouchers worth £200, depending on their circumstances.
The council said the support is being given to households who didn’t get the £900 cost of living payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
You can apply if any of the following applies to you:
- You must be a Harrow resident
- You must not received a cost-of-living payment from the Government in 2023
- You must be liable for energy or fuel costs for the property you live live
- You need support with meeting your day to day living expenses including food and utility bills and have three-months of bank statements to show this
- You can’t have received any support from the Household Support Fund scheme in the last six months
- You must be willing to comply with any reasonable conditions concerning the payment award, including for example, receiving support from advice agencies
There will be three rounds of funding – summer, autumn and winter – with applications for the summer funding open now.
To apply for the scheme, you’ll need to call Citizens Advice Harrow on 0808 250 5705.
Its phone lines are open Monday and Tuesday 9:30am to 3:30pm & Thursday & Friday 9:30am to 1pm.
Can I get help if I don’t live in Harrow?
Yes, but the help available to you will depend on where you live.
Each council is distributing their share of the HSF differently.
Some are handing out vouchers, while others are making bank transfers to eligible residents.
The amount you are entitled to will vary depending on the area you live in too.
If you’re not sure which council is in charge of your area, you can tap your postcode into the government’s local council checker tool to find out.
The most common types of support provided each year are supermarket vouchers, fuel vouchers and one-off payments.
Bear in mind that many councils haven’t opened the application process for the next round of funding yet, so keep an eye out.
Who is eligible for the DWP cost of living payment?
A separate £900 cost of living payment for those on certain benefits is being paid out over the course of the year.
The payment is available for those who receive any of the following:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
- Universal Credit
The first payment, worth £301, was paid between April and May.
The second instalment, worth £300, will be paid in autumn.
Spring next year will see the final chunk of the £900 cost of living payment dished out – it is worth £299.
We don’t know have an exact date for when the second and third payments will be made.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has it said it’ll provide more information on exact dates nearer the time.
You can check the full list of cost of living payments available on the government website.
What other help is out there?
Council tax discount
Many people don’t realise they can get a cheaper council tax bill.
There are a number of discounts you could get, depending on your circumstances.
To apply for any of the below discounts, go through the government website.
If you live on your own, you can get 25% off your council tax bill.
This also applies if there is one adult and one student living together in a property, or if there is one adult and one person classed as severely mentally impaired in the home.
If you live with someone who doesn’t have to pay council tax, such as a carer or someone who is severely mentally impaired, you could get a larger reduction too, of up to 50%.
And, if you live in an all-student household, you could get a 100% discount.
Pensioners may also find themselves eligible for a council tax reduction.
If you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you could get a 100% discount.
If not, you could still get help if you have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings.
Grants and hardship funds
You can get a grant from your energy supplier if you’re really struggling and need help paying off debts.
Scottish Power, for example, gives up to £750 per household to the most hard-up households.
Most hardship funds have no deadline and you can apply all year round.
There is no specific eligibility criteria, but most customers who get help are in arrears on their bill.
Healthy Start Vouchers
Healthy start vouchers can help you cover the cost of fresh food and drink for your kids.
If you’re on a low income, the scheme could be worth as much as £442 a year.
Each healthy start voucher is currently worth £4.25 a week, and over a year that adds up to £221.
It’s worth double that if you have a child under the age of one as you’ll be eligible for two vouchers each week, which makes up the £442 maximum.
There used to be paper vouchers, but that has been replaced by a prepaid card, so you’ll get the amounts added to that instead automatically every four weeks.
Meanwhile, those struggling can apply for a range of schemes that provide free cash, vouchers and more and you could get thousands of pounds – see our full list.
Plus, here is the full list of benefits that don’t qualify for the cost of living payments.
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