Four free cash schemes closing within DAYS – how to claim up to £500 now | The Sun

FOUR free cash schemes are closing within days and thousands will need to get their applications in as soon as possible.

The cash support comes through the Household Support Fund offered by local authorities and is worth £421million in total.

Each council gets a different portion of funding depending on the size of the catchment area, population, and need.

The vouchers or grants on offer vary by location so you'll have to check to see what you can get and how your council will pay you.

You'll usually need to be on a low income to receive the help.

The funding runs until the end of March, which is the deadline for which councils must dish out the available money to hard-up households.

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While the government has announced it is pumping a further £842million into the HSF after March 31 – thousands are being urged to apply for the free cash available under the current scheme as soon as possible.

For example, residents eligible for Test Valley councils scheme can get up to £125 in free cash but they'll need to get their applications in within days.

Those living in Bracknell Forest, Camden and York will also need to apply for up to £500 in free cash to help with bills.

It's important to get your applications in as soon as you can because councils have the power to close their schemes before their original deadline if all funds become allocated beforehand.

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Test Valley Borough Council

Eligible households can get £125 free if they live in the Test Valley area of Hampshire.

The help is on offer for people who are struggling to pay for housing costs, energy and water bills, food and other essential items.

Eligible households will get a £125 one-off payment.

The scheme opened for applications on March 3 and people have until March 21 to apply.

You'll need to upload your ID and proof of your rent liability or accommodation costs – like a tenancy agreement or statement.

Applications will be considered within 28 days of being submitted.

If successful the grant will then be paid directly into your bank account, or it will go directly to your landlord.

You can apply for the money online via the council's website.

Bracknell Forrest Council

This scheme can provide one-off payments in emergencies and help with the cost of essential items that are difficult to budget for.

The scheme offers support for basic living costs and the cost of meeting essential items to help you remain in your home like new white goods and furniture grants.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be 16 years of age
  • Have the right to reside in the United Kingdom
  • Have lived in Bracknell Forest for the past 6 months continuously or 3 out of the last 5 years 
  • Be in receipt of a qualifying state benefit or low income

Qualifying benefits include:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income support
  • Income based jobseekers allowance
  • Income based employment and support allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Council tax support

You can apply for the help online via the council's website but must do so before the application portal closed on Friday, March 24.

Camden Council

Residents of Camden Council are being offered up to £500 to help with food, energy, fuel and other household costs.

Eligible customers can choose to receive cash in their bank account, vouchers or cost-cutting appliances such as a slow cooker or an air fryer.

To apply, you'll need to prove you're on low income and urgently need the help.

This might mean printing a recent bank statement or providing proof of benefits.

You'll also need to be over 18 (unless you live independently at 16 and over) and you should've been living in Camden for at least six weeks.

You can only apply for one payment per household, and the person applying must be responsible for paying Council Tax.

To apply, you can call Citizens Advice Camden on 0808 278 7835.

But be quick – while the deadline to apply is Friday, March 31.

York City Council

Hard-up households in York can apply for one-off payments of between £200 and £300 to help with bills and living costs.

To be considered you must require urgent financial assistance, have inadequate savings to meet eligible costs in line with the scheme, or are a household caring for a child who receives high rate disability living allowance.

Other households who are struggling to meet their living costs and/or other essential costs may be eligible, including:

  • Households who are ineligible for other government support with the cost of living
  • Unpaid carers
  • Care leavers
  • People with disabilities
  • Families with children receiving low or middle-rate disability living allowance
  • Pensioners
  • Students upon referral from their educational establishment
  • Families with children

You can apply for the money online via the council's website and will need to do so before applications shut on Friday, March 31.

What other support is available?

Even if you don't live in these areas your local council will likely have its own version of the scheme going.

You should get in contact with your own local authority to find out more.

A £900 payment will be going to millions on means-tested benefits and Universal Credit this year.

To be eligible for the payment, households will need to be claiming at least one of the following:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Social Fund (Sure Start Maternity Grant, Funeral Payment, Cold Weather Payment)
  • Universal Credit

Elderly Brits will receive another one-off £300 pensioner cost of living payment.

Those with certain disabilities will also qualify for a further £150 cost of living payment.

Energy suppliers also offer plenty of energy grants and schemes to help you out if you're struggling. Here's a list of schemes open right now:

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  • British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
  • British Gas Energy Trust
  • EDF Customer Support Fund
  • E.ON and E.ON Next Grants
  • Octopus Energy Assist Fund
  • OVO Energy
  • Scottish Power Hardship Fund

There's also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment meter.

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