HARD-UP families are being given cash grants worth up to £600 to help with the rising cost of living.

Councils have been been given millions in extra cash as part of the government's Household Support Fund.,

The fund is there to help households that are struggling with theirenergy bills and other every day essentials.

The scheme was first established last year and extended again in the March budget to help those on the lowest income with the rising cost of living.

The voucher or grants on offer vary by location and you'll have to check to see how your council will pay you.

It's up to your local authority to set its own eligibility criteria for the free cash.

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They will then decide how to distribute the funding to households.

Some councils hand out supermarket vouchers while others give out cash grants direct to people's bank accounts.

For example, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is paying struggling households up to £600 to help with essential bills.

To be eligible for the grant you must be over 18 and live in the borough of Richmond and be struggling from the impact of rising costs of food and energy or continue to be impacted by Covid, for example:

  • Reduced pay or lost job
  • Benefits issues
  • Struggling to afford food, energy costs and other essentials, including white goods
  • Extra costs as a result of Covid

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You can also complete apply for the grant with the Citizens Advice online form or by calling Citizens Advice Richmond by freephone 0808 2787 873.

Guildford Borough Council is paying struggling households up to £300.

Applicants must:

  • be over the age of 16
  • live in Guildford
  • be without resources to meet their immediate short-term needs
  • be without resources to support their dependants

Households in Guildford will need to complete and return an application form to [email protected]

Birmingham City Council will pay vulnerable households up to £200 which can be put towards essential food and energy (gas, electricity, and water) bills.

To be eligible for the cash, you'll need to be of state pension age – born on or before September 30 1956.

You'll also need to be in receipt of at least one of the following benefits:

  • Council Tax Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Social Funds (Cold Weather Payment, Funeral Payment, Sure Start Maternity Grant)

In most circumstances, successful grant awards are paid via BACS into the applicant’s bank account within 7 working days.

To apply for the Birmingham City Council Household Support Fundyou must contact your local partner organisation, a list is available on the BSVC website.

They will complete an eligibility assessment and, once confirmed, will submit an application on your behalf.

All application for the Household Support Fund must be received by your council by 30 September when the current scheme draws to a close.

What other energy bill help is coming?

From October the first, all households will start to receive a £400 energy bill discount.

The payment will be dished out by your energy supplier and will be split across six discounts between October and March next year.

Households will receive a £66 energy bill discount in October and November and a discount worth £67 in December, January, February and March.

In November, a £300 one-off "Pensioner Cost of Living Payment" will be paid out to eight million households.

It will be given to those who already get the winter fuel payment – which is worth between £100 and £300 for those over state pension age.

Millions of households are in line to get the £150 Warm Home Discount between December and March 2023.

Check if you can get an energy grant

There are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling.

British Gas has recently confirmed that it'll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.

The British Gas Energy Trust has previously paid struggling households up to £1,500 – and you don't need to be a British Gas customer to apply for this help.

Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:

  • Bulb energy fund
  • EDF's energy customer support fund
  • E.on's energy fund
  • Npower's energy fund
  • Octopus Energy Octo Assist fund
  • Ovo's debt and energy assistance
  • Scottish Power's hardship fund

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You can get free debt advice

If you're in debt there are plenty of services you can take advantage of and they offer free advice on how to manage debt.

Most of them can offer you free guidance and help in person, over the telephone or online.

  • Money Advice Service – 0800 138 7777
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
  • StepChange – 0800 138 1111
  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000

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