Households can get free cash help worth up to £500 in just days – how to apply | The Sun

THOUSANDS of hard-up households can get up to £500 free cash direct to their bank accounts this winter.

The money comes from local authorities through the Household Support Fund.

Households in Colchester could get up to £500 in cash support to help with essentials such as food and energy bills.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed that the Household Support Fund has been extended past April 2023 with a renewed £1billion fund.

The scheme was first established last year and extended for a second time in the March budget 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.


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The vouchers or grants on offer vary by location and you'll have to check to see how your council will pay you.

You'll usually need to be on a low income to receive the help.

You can do that using the government’s local council checker tool by inputting your postcode on Gov.UK.

Depending on your circumstances, households could receive hundreds of pounds in support.

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Below, we explain how eligible households in Colchester can apply for support and how to apply.

What are councils offering and who is eligible?

Local authorities have had some autonomy on how they use the fund to reach the vulnerable people in their communities.

Eligibility requirements will vary depending on where you live – so check directly with your council if you could get the cash help.

Residents eligible in Colchester could get between £200 and £500 to help with a range of essentials.

Households could get up to £200 to help with water and energy bills.

While up to £250 could be paid to families to put towards food bills.

And up to £500 will be available to to support households in paying broadband and phone bills, clothing and essential transport costs.

People who live in the local authority catchment area will be able to apply on Friday, January 6.

Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for the cash help if:

  • Evidence of financial hardship leading to the need for additional support for essential costs such as energy bills.
  • Prove you have no other saving or provision that could cover essential costs.
  •  You must be at least 16 years old.
  • You must have your own bank account in order to receive payment.

If you think you may be eligible, it is worth putting in an application because the Council says its criteria will vary.

Payments will be made within three days of applications being received and processed.

The fund will be available until Friday, March 31.

How do I apply for the Household Support Fund?

Some households will be notified that they can apply for the cash help and others will receive the cash automatically.

Again, your council will set out whether or not you need to apply for the cash help.

It's worth checking out your local council's website to find out what help is available in your area.

You can find your local council by using this handy tool on the government's website.

A full list of what you'll need to help with your application is detailed by the council.

Is there other support available?

Millions are in line for up to £1,350 in free cash from spring – and the key payment dates have been revealed.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveiled the help – which will be paid directly into people's bank accounts – in last year's Autumn Statement.

It includes a new £900 cost of living payment for those on benefits, another £300 for pensioners and a third for those with disabilities at £150.

The help is aimed to help soften the blow of high energy bills, food costs and other necessities.

It's rare that households will qualify for all three payments but if you do, you'll get the full £1,350 on offer and you'll be automatically paid.

Pensioners have also started 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 also 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.

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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

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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