The payments are available through local authorities and are aimed at those who may struggle to make ends meet as inflation, a Universal Credit cut and the end of furlough kick in at once
Vulnerable households across the country will be able to access a new £500m support fund to help cover essential bills over the coming months as the Chancellor strips a £20 a week lifeline from six million families.
The new Household Support Fund will be introduced to support those facing severe hardship in England and will be distributed by councils in England, the Department for Work and Pensions today said.
It comes amid rising inflation and a phased £20 a week cut to Universal Credit – which analysts forecast will leave the average family £107 a month worse off from next month.
From next month, furlough and self-employed schemes will also end – leaving 250,000 people at risk of redundancy.
Those on a default dual fuel tariff, paying by direct debit will see an average annual increase of £139 from £1,138 to £1,277.
The new scheme will replicate last year’s Winter Covid Grant. The DWP claims it will offer small grants to meet daily needs such as food, clothing, and utilities and funding will be made available from October 2021.
Thérèse Coffey, secretary of state for work and pensions, said: “Over the last year, we have helped millions of people provide for their families.
“Our targeted Household Support Fund is here to help those vulnerable households with essential costs as we push through the last stages of our recovery from the pandemic.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak added: “Everyone should be able to afford the essentials, and we are committed to ensuring that is the case.
“Our new Household Support Fund will provide a lifeline for those at risk of struggling to keep up with their bills over the winter, adding to the support the government is already providing to help people with the cost of living.”
How does it work and who can apply?
The new fund will run over winter and will be accessible via your local authority.
Different areas have been given different amounts of cash depending on their size and how many people are struggling.
Each council can decide how the cash is used and who is eligible for the support.
It can be used to pay bills, get council tax support and provide school vouchers to children who qualify for free school meals over half term.
This fund will be in addition to the Warm Home Discount which provides a £140 rebate on energy bills.
Is the support enough to help struggling families? Let us know in the comments below
Cold Weather Payments will remain in place, paying poorer households £25 a week when the temperature falls below zero over winter.
The support you can get depends on where you live. It’s best to contact your local authority directly to find out what help you can get.
In some areas you can apply directly to the council for money to pay for food or bills.
Find out how to contact your local authority, here.