THOUSANDS of households have just weeks to apply for up to £500 in free cash to help with the cost of living.
The help comes via the Household Support Fund (HSF) which is worth £421million.
The pot of cash has come from the government and has been shared between councils in England.
Those councils then decide how to distribute their share of the fund among residents.
That means what you can get depends on where you live but, in most cases, help is offered to households on benefits or a low income.
Camden Council, in London, is offering residents in severe financial hardship direct cash awards of up to £500.
Read more in Money
Our once-thriving area is now a ghost town – expensive parking drives people away
Money going down the drain? Pull the plug on these five household appliances
This might be if you are struggling to afford essentials such as food, energy bills or housing.
The money will be paid direct into bank accounts, as vouchers or via help with debt repayments.
You might also be offered appliances to help you reduce energy costs, such as slow cookers, air fryers or microwaves.
But the latest tranche of Household Support Fund has to be allocated by councils by March 31 so anyone in Camden looking to get help will need to apply soon.
Most read in Money
Big bargain brand to open 12 new shops within days – see the full list of locations
Shoppers rush to buy £120 air fryer that scans for just £10 – but there's a catch
Argos shoppers rush to buy £4 gadget that will keep you warm without putting the heating on
Big high street brand to open new style shops – and Paperchase fans will love it
Who is eligible and how do I apply?
To apply for the help, you must be over 18, although over 16s can apply if they live by themselves.
You also must have lived in Camden for at least six weeks and will need to provide proof you are in urgent financial need.
If there is more than one adult or family in your household the application has to come from the person who pays for Council Tax.
You can apply for help through the Camden Citizens Advice branch on 0808 278 7835.
If you live in a council home you can apply through your neighbourhood housing officer.
Or, you can contact a Camden Council "advice partner". More details about these can be found on the authority's website.
Can I get help if I don't live in Camden?
Yes you can. But the help on offer will depend on where you live.
Councils are distributing their share of the HSF differently.
Some are handing out vouchers, while others are making bank transfers to eligible residents.
The amount you are entitled to will vary depending on the area you live in too.
And some local authorities have already depleted their funds so won't be in line for help everywhere.
The best thing to do is find out who your local council is and see what their eligibility criteria is for receiving help through the fund.
You can find out what council area you fall under by searching "find my local council" in Google.
Councils have to allocate the latest tranche of the Household Support Fund by March 31.
However, the fund has been extended by the government which is pumping out a further £842million to councils.
This means your local council is likely to launch new schemes in the coming weeks.
Again, you should check with your local council what help you might be in line for.
What other schemes are closing in March?
It's worth taking note of the other schemes closing this month.
The winter fuel payment is designed to help households with heating costs through the colder months.
In most cases it's paid automatically but you may have to apply for the help on the government's website.
The deadline for claiming the payment this year is March 31, so you'll have to be quick if you still need to apply.
The last instalment of the £400 energy rebate is being made this month too, worth £67.
The payment was split into six monthly batches which started being made in October last year.
The cold weather payments scheme is closing at the end of March too.
Under the scheme, hard-up households can get a £25 payment for every seven-day period where temperatures are consecutively sub-zero.
Read More on The Sun
Gaz Beadle’s wife hits back after she’s mum-shamed over car seat
Nursery teacher reveals there are five types of mums when it comes to drop off
The payment is designed to help those on a lower income with the cost of heating, which is needed more in the colder months.
Payments are made automatically to you if you qualify.
Source: Read Full Article