January’s a lean month for everyone, but if we’re really struggling after the expense of Christmas there’s a pot of cash called the Household Support Fund that could help us out.
The fund was introduced after the government cut the £20 uplift to Universal Credit in October.
It’s a £500m fund that’s been shared out among councils and it’s there to help us if we find ourselves struggling for essentials like food, bills or clothing this winter.
What is the Household Support Fund and how can I claim?
If we live in England we’ll have to go through our council. It’s likely we’ll get a supermarket voucher if we’re successful, worth up to £150. Vouchers for kids’ clothes worth up to £60 could also be available.
In Wales, the focus has been on heating and eating – and the Welsh Government has pumped £51m into £100 energy payments for eligible households (those on Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits).
Our council should be in touch if we’re eligible to invite us to apply.
The Welsh fund also includes extra cash for foodbanks and food schemes to help those of us in food crisis.
In Scotland, it’s called the Winter Support Fund. The money has been given to councils and charities, who will give out grants based on need.
If we’re already getting support from a charity we can ask if they have any cash to give out from the fund. Otherwise we can approach our council to find out if we can claim.
The money is expected to last until March – so it’s not an unlimited pot.
If we’re not sure which is our council, we can find out here.
The government has also put money into a separate fund for those of us in England who rent our homes from a private landlord and who have been left in rent arrears by the pandemic.
Like the Household Support Fund, the cash will go to councils to give out. If we’re worried about losing our home then we should contact our council about getting help through this fund.
It’s likely it’ll be paid directly to our landlord and payments will be decided on a case-by-case basis.