HARD-UP households can get emergency cash help for bills and other essential costs.
If you’re struggling with the rising cost of living, there is financial support available.
The price cap soared almost £700, taking the average household gas and electricity bill to £1,971.
Meanwhile, supermarket prices are also going up, putting further pressure on consumer finances.
We explain how to get emergency cash worth hundreds of pounds to help you navigate the cost of living crisis.
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Household Support Fund
The government launched the Household Support Fund last year and has since added an extra £500million to the pot.
The funding has been handed to local councils to give out to residents in need.
Each local authority decides what help to give and who is eligible.
So it’s worth checking with your local council to find out what help is on offer in your area.
Meanwhile, people who live in Salford can claim free cash under the scheme to help with essentials.
Some charities have a pot of cash to give out to people who are struggling to get by financially.
Turn2Us has a free grants search tool so you can find out what help is available to you.
You’ll need to search for what’s available specifically in your area by entering your postcode.
Next, you’ll be asked to give details about yourself, such as your name and gender.
You can also go into more depth by telling Turn2Us about your current health and employment situation.
Once you’ve found a grant you think you’re eligible for, you can put in an inquiry through Turn2Us.
Universal Credit budgeting loan
If you claim Universal Credit, you may be able to get an emergency loan to cover unexpected, essential costs.
The advance is worth up to £348 if you’re single, £464 if you’re part of a couple or £812 if you have children.
They’re handed out to people who need cash for essentials like repairing a broken cooker or for help getting a job.
It’s a loan, not a grant, so you’ll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments.
This means your benefit payments will be lower than usual until you’ve repaid the debt.
Remember you’ll still have to repay the loan even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
You can apply for the payment online.
Discretionary Housing Payment
You may be able to get Discretionary Housing Payment to cover housing costs.
You might be eligible if you’re already entitled to Housing Benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit.
The payment is discretionary, which means that the financial support given out is decided on case by case basis.
If you are eligible and the council gives you Discretionary Housing Payment, how much you get will depend on your council.
There is no fixed amount given out and what you get may cover only some of your housing costs, not all of it.
You need to apply through your local council for Discretionary Housing Payment.
You can find your local council by searching your postcode here.
Help with energy and water debts
Your energy supplier or water provider may be able to help you if you’ve fallen behind on payments.
Most energy firms have a hardship fund to help customers who are struggling to pay.
For example, British Gas will cancel up to £750 worth of debts.
Contact your supplier to find out if there’s help available and if you’re eligible.
Meanwhile, water firms have similar funds to support low income customers.
For example Severn Trent gave away £3.5million last year through its Trust Fund.
It gave out more than 3,000 grants worth on average £781 and helped nearly 400 household buy essential appliances.
Thames Water customers could get help through its charity trust fund.
It offers grants for essential household goods and you must have been referred by a local debt advice agency or charity in the area.
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Each firm has its own scheme, so you’ll need to check with yours directly.
You can find out who your local water supplier is using the tool on WaterUK – just enter your postcode.
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