CASH-STRAPPED households can claim up to £210 for food and bills – here's how.
The government is dishing out free cash and support as part of the Household Support Fund (HSF) initiative.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme in October 2021 with a £500million plan to help struggling households.
The scheme was doubled in February this year and an extra £500million was added to the pot last month, meaning a total of £1.5billion will be handed out before the scheme closes in the winter.
Rocketing energy prices and soaring inflation mean millions of households are feeling the strain.
The government has stepped in to distribute funds around councils to help pay for heating, bills and other essentials.
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What is the Household Support Fund and how do I apply?
How can I claim £210?
Each council decides how to use its budget differently. Some give out free cash, others give out vouchers and discount codes.
We recommend you check with your local council to see whether you're eligible and what types of support there are.
In Medway, residents can claim between the following
- Supermarket vouchers
- Fuel vouchers
- Referrals for vouchers
A single homeowner can claim up to £50 in vouchers.
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Households with two to five residents can get between £70 and £175 in vouchers – do check the website to see what fits you.
For six or more residents in one home, the council can reward vouchers worth up to £210. These can only be used for food, fuel or referrals.
If you need fuel but you use prepayment meters, a referral will be made to the Fuel Bank Foundation. They'll then send a voucher worth £30.
For those without prepaid meters, an additional household essentials voucher worth £50 can be claimed.
What makes me eligible?
Again, each council is different and we recommend visiting your local website to find out what the requirements are.
Most councils will need to see an immediate need for support – so you might need to prove you've had benefits by showing your latest bank statement.
In Medway, funding won't be awarded if you have sufficient income or savings, and they don't provide vouchers for clothing, Council Tax or personal debt.
No cash payments will be made either.
Can I get help if I don't live in Medway?
Yes. Each council has been given a portion of funding to support local residents.
To find out what supports on offer, speak directly to your local council or visit its website for more details.
For example, Derby Council is giving out £120 in cash to residents struggling over term break.
Torbay Council is lending a maximum amount of £50 towards food or energy bills.
Also, if you find you're not eligible but still need support, you can check in with your energy suppliers to see what grants are on offer.
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Don't forget to look at the government's council checker tool help you find relevant support. Just type in your post code.
But don't worry if you're stuck or don't think you're eligible. Here are some contacts who will keep you afloat for the time being:
- National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
- Step Change – 0800 138 1111
- Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
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