Thousands now eligible for over £140 this winter – how to claim yours

GMB: Household Support Fund shows PM 'isn't just a showman'

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The Household Support Fund was launched in September to help struggling family make ends meet. Due to replace the Covid local support grant, eligible households can now claim up to £144 in certain areas through their local councils.

As energy costs continue to soar, with some experts predicting a £2,000 annual bill in 2022, families living on the edge of poverty are struggling to stay afloat. 

With the addition of work from home mandates, heating costs during the winter months is due to increase greatly.

The government first announced the Household Support Fund in September, providing £500million in cash which was shared amongst local councils across the UK. 

Individual councils can decide the requirements, amounts and claims process for families and individuals to receive their due share. 

Derbyshire council has announced that claimants can receive two payments worth £64 per household along with an additional £20 for each partner and any dependent children living in the same household. 

Ultimately, this would see a family of four receiving £80 on top of the original £64, leaving them with £144 belated Christmas present this winter. 

The council shared on its website that their eligibility criteria are:

  • Claimants must be over 16 years of age and living in Derbyshire
  • Claimants must demonstrate how and why they are facing financial hardship

They also noted that due to their limited budget for this scheme, applications will be assessed individually on their needs, urgency and risk. 

Councils may have differing eligibility criteria and application processes so those who believe they may be eligible are advised to check their local councils’ website. 

Potential applicants can find their local councils’ website by using the postcode checker provided on the Gov.uk website. 

Individual councils may also have different deadlines and amounts to give out so claimants are advised to apply as soon as possible. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak commented that this scheme should help struggling families to afford the necessities to have a comfortable winter as living costs continue to rise. 

He said: “Everyone should be able to afford the essentials, and we are committed to ensuring that is the case.”

The scheme was announced amidst a flurry of far more stressful revelations, such as the Universal Credit uplift anex and the end of the furlough scheme. 

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, shared that the fund was aimed at those who were still struggling to get back on their feet due to the economic backlash of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. 

She commented: “Our targeted Household Support Fund is here to help those vulnerable households with essential costs as we push through the last stages of our recovery from the pandemic.”

To be eligible for the fund, households must be claiming one of the qualifying benefits such as Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

In the face of a cost-of-living-crisis, it appears that the household support scheme arrived just in time to be a saving grace for thousands, but experts have criticised the last minute attempt to save public finances. 

The fact that the fund is also provided on a discretionary basis, with each council expected to view each case differently, may not actually end up meeting the needs of the countless families in emergency situations. 

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