Families handed free slow cookers and one-off payments to help with cost of living – are you eligible? | The Sun

FAMILIES have been handed free slow cookers and one-off payments to help with the cost of living.

The money is coming from the Household Support Fund (HSF) which first started in September 2021.

Swindon Borough Council has distributed 426 slow cookers, 85 health grills and 24 kettles for struggling families.

The scheme is part of a support fund handed by the Department of Work and Pensions.

A council spokesperson said: "These were purchased using a portion of the Household Support Fund, which is money given to us by the Government to help households with the cost of food, energy and wider essentials. 

"This year, 83 residents have also been given a payment from a pot of £13,100 to help them with essentials."



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More than 180 residents have also been granted a one-off payment from the Emergency Assistance Fund – with £17,520 already been used.

The grant help covers the costs over the span of April 1, 2023 to 31 March, 2024.

Eligible residents can receive payments to cover costs of food, energy and other essentials.

Councils across the country get a portion of the funding based on the size of the area and its population.

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How much you can get varies depending on the location so you will have to check on the council website.

The initial fund was worth £500million but has been extend in subsequent years.

The help was due to end in March this year but it was extended until April 2024.

How much can I get?

Keep in mind how much you receive will depend on your individual circumstances.

For example, those on welfare benefits can get up to £150. But you can claim between £250 and £500 if you're not on benefits, depending on the size of your home.

It is best to check with your own council as they don’t all operate in the same way.

Get in contact with them directly if you have a specific query.

You'll only be able to apply once per household every six months.

You can sometimes also ask for shopping vouchers if you'd prefer them over free cash.

How can I apply?

You'll need to fill out an online form on your local council’s website.

Alternatively there should be paper copies available at your local library – just ask at the reception desk.

You can also request support when filling out the form if you wish.

Make sure you have the important documents to hand including your National Insurance number, a recent bank statement and any information on benefits you're receiving.

And remember what you get will depend on your situation, and not every council will hand cash out the same way.

What if I don't live in Swindon?

Your local council will likely have its own version of the scheme going and you should get in contact with them to find out more.

But be quick – applications for HSF are normally done on a first-come-first-serve basis. You don't want to miss out and be disappointed.

And remember what you get will depend on your situation, and not every council will hand cash out the same way.

For example, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is paying out up to £230 into thousands of people's bank accounts.

But only if you're receiving Council Tax Support.

You should check with your local council to see what help you might be in line for.

If you don't know what council area you fall under, you can use the government's council locator tool online.

Just type "find my local council" into Google and it should be the first link that appears on the page.

What other help can I get?

There's always plenty of help to get even if you don't qualify for HSF.

A number of energy providers for example, including British Gas, E.On and EDF, offer grants worth up to £1,500.

You should contact yours if you are finding it hard to keep up with payments.

And keep in mind the Warm Home Discount is being paid out, although it's ending this month. It's a £150 one off payment towards your energy bills paid to eligible households between October and March each year.

There are different ways to qualify for the scheme, but if you live in England and Wales you have to either:

  • be receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
  • be on a low income and have high energy costs

Beyond March 31, you can still get help with energy bills if you are struggling with payments.

For example, the £301 cost of living payment will be hitting bank accounts between April 25 and May 17.

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It's part of the big £900 payment going out this year, which will arrive in three parts – the remaining two, worth £300 and £299 will be made this autumn and in spring 2024 respectively.

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