The UK is facing a cost of living crisis; with inflation driving up food prices and energy bills forecast to soar this April, many families could be pushed into poverty. Local councils are now stepping in to help the most vulnerable as part of the Household Support Fund.
In response to the looming cost of living crisis, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has created the Household Support Fund.
As part of this scheme, a staggering £500million has been ring-fenced to help struggling families pay for essentials.
The money is being given to local councils to distribute to their struggling residents.
This extra funding can be used at the council’s discretion, so schemes vary between different authorities.
To check which is your local could you can use the gov.uk‘s search tool.
Applications will close on March 31 but you should make your claim as soon as possible, as schemes could close early if the funding runs out.
If your application is successful then you should get your vouchers within 10 working days.
Councils will either send them electrically via email or through the post so keep an eye on your email inbox.
How much can you claim?
The amount you can claim varies between different councils.
For example, Wealden council will allow its low-income residents to apply a one-off payment of £250 to pay off energy and water bill debts, the Sun Reports.
Supermarket vouchers worth up to £100 for each adult in the household can also be claimed under Wealden council’s scheme.
These vouchers can be spent at major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Aldi.
Wealden residents can also claim up to £15 a week for every child under 18 to help with essential costs.
This means a family of four, with two adults and two kids, could get an extra £570 to help towards their bills.
But elsewhere the scheme can be less generous. In Elmbridge Surrey the one-off payment to help towards increased bills is just £100 and this scheme will close on January 31.
In comparison, in Barnsley families can claim food vouchers worth up to £200.
Meanwhile in Durham households can apply for food vouchers worth a measly £60, but they can also claim vouchers for fuel and boiler repairs.