MILLIONS of households across England are eligible for bill support to help with the cost of living crisis.
The money comes from local authorities through the Household Support Fund.
Some councils are now increasing the financial support as part of this scheme.
In April, local councils in England were given funding to the tune of £400 million to help families who are most in need.
Households on the lowest incomes are eligible to receive free cash or food vouchers to help with the cost of living.
Some councils have now increased the amount of funding available to local organisations which help households facing food and fuel poverty.
The vouchers or grants on offer vary by location and you’ll have to check to see how your council will pay you or if you’ll need to access the support via other organisations.
You can do that using the government’s local council checker tool by inputting your postcode.
The Isle of Wight Council has recently made £115,000 available to local town councils and charities.
Both East Cowes Town Council an Victim Support have received up to £5,000 as part of the scheme.
The funding given to Victim Support on the Isle of Wight will help assist families where food poverty is evident.
East Cowes Council has also used the cash to purchase food vouchers, and financial grants to offset the cost of utility bills.
Swindon Borough Council has used most of the Household Support Fund to provide low-income households with food vouchers automatically.
However, in recent weeks some of the funding has been used to provide 60 homes with free slow cookers to help improve household energy efficiency.
Charities in the area including the Swindon Food Collective, Boxes of Hope (Gorse Hill Baptist Church), Swindon Night Shelter and Swindon Gorse Hill Salvation Army have also been allocated thousands to help those most in need.
Wolverhampton City Council is giving households containing single adults up to £65 in cash to help with the cost of food and energy.
The Council has since committed a further £1.1 million this financial year to help local residents with the cost of living crisis.
How do I apply for the Household Support Fund?
Eligibility for the fund can differ from council to council.
Again, exactly what the council’s will be dishing out will also differ from place to place.
If you are in doubt try calling your council and asking whether they are currently doing anything for the scheme.
Do I need to apply or will I be paid automatically?
Again, how you’ll be paid will depend on where you live. Each council will set it’s own policies.
In some cases, payments are made automatically to residents who receive means-tested benefits, so there’s no need to do anything.
But others need to make applications for the support directly to their relevant council.
So it is always worth checking your council’s website.
If your payment doesn’t come automatically and you don’t apply for example, there is a chance you won’t get the money you are due.
Some councils have requested that other organisations refer people before they are given cash.
Is there other support available?
Even if you’re not eligible for help under the Household Support Fund you may be eligible for cash elsewhere to help with the cost of living.
A number of councils have opened up their applications for a discretionary fund to help those on Universal Credit, Council Tax Support and other means-tested benefits. You could get up to £300.