HARD-UP households can get up to £500 in free food vouchers, but they have just weeks to apply.
The cash support comes through the Household Support Fund worth £421million.
The scheme was first established last year, 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.
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.
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For example, thousands of residents in the borough of Ribble Valley can get up to £500 in food vouchers.
The scheme is aimed at struggling families with children, pensioners, unpaid carers and people with disabilities.
Those eligible could get:
- £200 for single households
- £300 for households with two or more adults residing
- £500 for households with children
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You will not qualify if you're eligible for:
- Cost of Living Payments
- One-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment (through the Winter Fuel Payment)
The scheme closes on 31 March though Ribble Valley council said applicaitons must be submited by 5pm on March 28.
If you think you're eligible then you can apply via the council's website.
Anyone who has already received support from the fund will automatically receive a top-up to the new amount and will not need to reapply.
Can I get help if I don't live in Ribble Valley?
Yes, even if you don't live in Ribble Valley you should still be able to get help.
But what you can get and who is eligible is a bit of a postcode lottery as each council is deciding how to distribute their portion of the HSF.
In some areas, councils have run out of money to give to eligible households too.
How the help is being distributed depends on where you live.
Some councils are handing out vouchers to be used to help people pay for energy bills, food and other everyday essentials.
Whereas in other areas, local authorities are transferring money directly into bank accounts.
You might have a deadline to apply for any help in your area – you should check with your council if you're not sure.
Right now, Runnymede Council is paying hard-up households up to £800.
While those in Middlesborough, households can get a supermarket voucher or energy voucher worth up to £100 – but they only have until March 31 to apply.
Bromley Council is offering thousands of struggling households £200 energy bill vouchers.
Plus, thousands of residents in North Yorkshire are also due electronic supermarket vouchers worth up to £325.
How do I apply for the Household Support Fund?
Some households will be notified that they can apply for cash help and others will receive the cash automatically.
Again, your council will set out whether or not you need to apply for the free cash.
Those who live in Haringey and think they're eligible for the Household Support Fund will need to apply by filling in an online form.
You need the following information to complete your application:
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- National Insurance number or National Asylum Support Service (NASS) number
- Contact telephone number and email address
- Current full address and postcode
- Details of benefits you receive
- Details of your/your partner’s employment including your employer's name, address and contact number (if applicable)
- Details of the bank account you want the payment made to
The council has also written to some residents that they've identified as eligible for support.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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