MILLIONS of hard-up households can claim free cash from their local council via the government's Household Support Fund (HSF).
The cash is dished out from a pot of £842million by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Location is key but depending on where you live you could be in line for up to £1,000 in cash or vouchers.
The fund is usually given out based on your financial circumstances and what benefits you receive.
It's designed to help the most hard-up families struggling with the cost of living.
But what is the Household Support Fund, and how do you apply for the help? Below we explain all you need to know.
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What is the Household Support Fund?
The Household Support Fund was first launched in October 2021 to help Brits pay their way through winter amid the cost of living crisis.
Councils up and down the country got a slice of the £500million funding available to dish out to Brits in need.
It was then extended for a second time in the Spring Budget and for a third time in November to help those on the lowest incomes with the rising cost of living.
The DWP has confirmed a fourth extension of the scheme through to March 31, 2024.
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The help you can get varies depending on who your local council is, as well as your personal situation.
But you may be able to get free cash and vouchers to help pay for things like heating your home or to cover costs of your weekly grocery shop.
If an applicant is already receiving benefits, these will not be affected by the HSF.
And, you do not need to be getting benefits to receive vouchers or funds from the HSF.
Every council will provide the means they feel best suits their area.
Check with your local council to find out what support is available and the eligibility criteria.
Thousands of residents in Nottinghamshire will be given £100 in free cash but they needed to apply by September 30.
Buckinghamshire Council have also extended their support after receiving £4.8million for April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024.
For example, those living in West Devon received up to £400.
How do you apply?
To get the help, you'll need to check with your council – as local authorities are in charge of distributing the funding.
To find your local council, use the gov.uk council finder tool.
Once you've found your council, there should be information on how to apply for the funding on its website.
Each council will have a different application process – so exact details on how to apply will vary depending on where you live.
That means that the eligibility requirements to access the fund could also vary – it's best to check with your local council for more details.
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Some councils won't require you to apply for the help and they'll contact you about it instead if you qualify.
If there's no information on your council's website, then its best to ring them up and ask for more information.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].
You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.
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