Following the £20/week cut from Universal Credit, the government has announced a new £500 million 'Household Support Fund' for vulnerable households across the UK. It will run from October until 31st March 2022.
The scheme has been put together very quickly, so there isn't much information out there that clearly explains who can access the grant, how it will be paid or where to apply.
Our advice is that you make sure to understand the information below so that when your local council launches then you will be able to apply.
Money in England is being distributed to county councils and unitary authorities, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will decide how to distribute their share of the funds.
If you are unsure about which council you are in, you can enter your postcode here to check:
It is also a good idea to check with your local Citizens Advice Bureau about how your council is distributing the funds. Find your local bureau here:
The money will mostly go to households deemed vulnerable. Seeing as the scheme has been introduced to counteract the Universal Credit cuts, if you are eligible for Universal Credit you may well be eligible for the Household Support Fund.
At least 50% of the money must go to households with children, and the money is not restricted to people who are receiving benefits or are unemployed.
Councils can identify households they regard as vulnerable from their database, though we strongly encourage you to apply anyway if you are struggling as they may not have you on record.
The money must be primarily used to pay for food, energy and water bills.
Each local council will decide where to direct the money, though they must stay within the DWP's overall guidelines. This includes:
Councils must provide the DWP with a clear plan as to how they will use the funds by 29th October. We'll be sharing more news as and when we hear it on this blog, though make sure you stay up-to-date with your council's local news.
We are hoping that most councils will also publish information on their websites, though in the case that they don't, it's a good idea to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau at the end of the month to ask for more information.
If you are struggling, there is help out there.
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