Thousands of households to get £50 free cash direct to bank account within days – are you one of them? | The Sun

THE cost of living has soared for millions but thousands of households are set for a £50 payment within days.

The help comes via the Household Support Fund (HSF), which is worth £421 million.

The fund was first announced by the government in September 2021, but has since been extended twice.

It is a central pot of money that is shared between councils who then decide who to distribute it to.

The deadline for councils to issue their latest share of the fund is March 31, 2023.

However, lots of local authorities are offering help earlier to tie people over this winter.

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For example, residents in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, are set for a one off £50 payment from next month.

The free cash will be given to families on housing benefit, and/or Council Tax reduction or free school meals.

Calderdale Council is contacting eligible families from January 9, 2023, who will then be able to register for the payment.

Households with a disabled marker on the council's welfare and benefits system will be contacted from January 16, 2023 and are in line for a £50 one off payment too.

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These types of households must be receiving housing benefit and/or Council Tax reduction.

Can I get help if I don't live in Calderdale?

Yes you can. The Household Support Fund has been made available to councils across England.

But whether you're entitled to a payment will depend on where you live.

That's because each council decides who to offer payments to.

However, usually payments are made to households on benefits and low incomes as that's an indicator of financial struggle.

Payments don't always come as bank transfers. Sometimes residents are offered vouchers to redeem at supermarkets or the Post Office.

Thousands of residents in Stoke-on-Trent are being offered food vouchers worth £50.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is offering thousands of households up to £350 in cash support.

How do I apply for the Household Support Fund?

As is the case with how the money is distributed, the application process for the Household Support Fund varies depending on where you live.

Some councils are asking residents to apply on their websites, while others are writing to households in line for payments.

In Calderdale, the council is contacting households eligible for payments from January 9 or January 16.

They will then have to register for one off £50 payments.

You may have to prove you're in receipt of the qualifying benefits though.

So proof you get housing benefit, a Council Tax reduction or free school meals.

What other bill help can I get?

If you're not in line for help via the Household Support Fund, there's other help on offer.

A lot of energy companies offer struggling customers grants to help pay for their energy bills.

British Gas, EDF Energy and Scottish Power are just a few.

The British Gas Energy Trust for example can write off debts, and you don't even have to be a customer to apply for help.

The maximum grant usually offered to households is £750, but those in "exceptional circumstances" can get as much as £1,500.

The average pay out is around £550.

For the full list of firms offering help, you can read our guide here.

Millions of households should be in the process of receiving the £400 energy rebate too.

The payment has been split into six instalments to be paid between October this year and March 2023.

In most cases, the payments are being applied as discounts to people's energy bills.

But households on prepayment meters have to redeem vouchers issued to them at their nearest top up point.

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Plus, in November, chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced millions of households will receive extra cost of living payments.

If you're eligible for all three payments, that could mean a total handout of £1,350.

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