Families missing out on up to £290 free cash – see if you’re eligible | Personal Finance | Finance

Thousands of struggling families may be missing out on a cost of living payment worth up to £290 to help with key household bills.

The money is available through the government’s Household Support Fund which is handed to councils which then help residents in need.

Each local authority gets a different sum which is based on population and a measure of the number of households that are considered vulnerable.

However, many struggling households are unaware of the financial help available because – in many cases – they need to make an application to their local council.

The amount of money available as a grant or voucher varies depending on the location and deprivation levels.

The national scheme was renewed for the fifth time in April 2024, and each council sets its own criteria for deciding who it will help and how much they receive.

In many cases residents need to apply directly to their own local authority to see what is available from the Household Support Fund and the rules to qualify.

As an example, in Doncaster the council has decided to use the funding to provide help to working-age and pensioner households in the city who receive certain benefits. These include Housing benefit; Local council tax reduction; Universal Credit which includes the housing element; Means-tested free school meals.

Payments are made to eligible households as follows:

  • Single people with no dependent children receive a single payment of £50
  • Couples with no dependent children receive a single payment of £70
  • Households with one dependent child receive £110 in two payments of £55
  • Households with two dependent children receive £170 in two payments of £85
  • Households with three dependent children receive £230 in two payments of £115
  • Households with four or more dependent children receive £290 in two payments of £145.

If you are a pensioner or a working-age person who did not receive a payment under the previous Household Support Fund and meet the above criteria, you will have to submit an online application.

What are other councils offering?

Residents in Blackpool can receive up to £300 in support from the Household Support Fund.

Those living in Bracknell Forest could be eligible for a £315 cash grant.

Low-income households in Cambridgeshire can apply for a financial award of £110 per household.

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 up to £470 in cash support.


What is the history of the Household Support Fund?

It was first launched in October 2021 to help those struggling through the cost of living crisis while coping with spiralling energy and food bills.

Councils up and down the country got a slice of the £500million funding available. It was then extended through into 2024 in successive Budgets.

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