THOUSANDS of households can get £120 in free cash to spend at supermarkets like Tesco and M&S.
The support is part of the £842million Household Support Fund, which provides free cash or vouchers to struggling homes.
The money has come from the Government which has distributed it among councils in England.
They then decide how to share their portion of the fund.
That means what you can get depends on where you live, but in most cases help is offered to those on a low income or benefits.
The type of support on offer varies as well – some local authorities are offering out food or utility bill vouchers while others are making bank transfers.
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You might even get help buying white goods such as fridges and washing machines.
For example, those living in North Somerset could get £120 in free vouchers or those with children could get even more.
You'll qualify if:
- You live in North Somerset
- You are experiencing financial hardship
- You are of working or pension age and claim council tax support.
- You're a low-income family with children who get free school meals or care care leavers.
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Vouchers will be sent in two £60 payments with the first one landing in June and the second in November.
If you have two children then you could get double the amount – £240.
If you're not sure if you qualify, do contact North Somerset council anyway as there may be other ways they can help.
How do I apply?
To apply for the vouchers, you'll need to fill in an online form via the North Somerset council website.
The council will contact you to let you know the outcome of your application.
If you are eligible, you will receive a voucher which will be emailed to you within 28 days.
The deadline for applications is March 1 2024 however, money is sent on a first come first served basis so it is best to get your application in as soon as possible.
Can I get help if I don't live in North Somerset?
Yes you can. But what you can get depends on where you live as each council has been given a unique share of the £842million pot.
For example, households in Torridge are in line for payments worth up to £1,000.
And those living in Northamptonshire can get up to £90 in free help.
Plus those in Blackpool can get up to £300 in help.
The application process varies from area to area too.
The best thing to do is contact your local council to see what help is on offer and if you have to take any action.
You can do this by using the Government's locator tool found on its website.
But you might want to be quick as competition for the fund is fierce and once a council has depleted its share, there's no more left.
That said, the Household Support Fund has been extended multiple times since it was first launched in October 2021 so it might be extended again when the current batch closes, in March 2024.
What other help is available?
Millions are also in line to receive cost of living payments worth up to £1,350.
The first instalment of the £900 payment has been paid to millions on certain benefits, including Universal Credit and Pension Credit.
Meanwhile, a £150 payment and between £150-£300 payment will be made to millions with disabilities and pensioners in June.
You may be entitled to the £150 disability cost of living payment if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
Plus, pensioners who are entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023/24 will get an extra £150 or £300 paid on top of their normal payment from November this year.
You will be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment this winter if you were born before September 25, 1957.
Those eligible for the payment will receive a letter in October and November telling them how much money to expect.
Energy suppliers also offer plenty of energy grants and schemes to help you out if you're struggling.
Here's a list of schemes open right now:
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- British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
- British Gas Energy Trust
- EDF Customer Support Fund
- E.ON and E.ON Next Grants
- Octopus Energy Assist Fund
- OVO Energy
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
There's a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment meter.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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