Cash strapped Britons could get boost to help put food on the table – are you eligible?

GMB: Household Support Fund shows PM 'isn't just a showman'

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the introduction of the Household Support Fund earlier this year in his Autumn Budget. It’s a cash injection worth £500m and available through local councils, although many Britons still haven’t heard of it.

Britons’ finances were squeezed more than ever in 2021, with experts predicting a typical family could be £1,200 a year worse off in 2022.

Thanks to a mix of rising energy costs, taxes and stagnant wages many could find themselves much poorer by the middle of the year.

However, for the 5.8million people on a low income or a benefit like Universal Credit or Pension Credit there is a ray of hope – they could qualify for extra support from their local council.

People don’t necessarily have to be unemployed either – 40 percent of people claiming Universal Credit are in work but receiving a benefit such as Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to top up their income.

Because the money is dished out by local authorities there’s no way of knowing how much people might receive.

In Durham, for example, families who have children eligible for free school meals can apply for £60 in food vouchers.

Thousands more who are struggling could get financial help towards meeting fuel costs, rent payments or home repairs.

As each situation will be looked at on an individual basis, people are being urged to check by searching for their local council online at Gov.uk

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Meanwhile, Britons should also double check that they are getting all the help they are entitled to from the Government – experts say £15billion is lost in unclaimed benefits every year.

Since the Budget, two million more people could be eligible for a Universal Credit top up because of the new taper allowance.

For households on a low income this could mean an extra £1,000 a year – but they’ll have to start a new claim.

The Taper Allowance allows people to still claim Universal Credit, but it means that their payments will be reduced at a steady rate.

How does the Universal Credit taper allowance work?

  • The Universal Credit earnings taper rate is currently 55 percent.
  • This means that for every £1 they earn over their work allowance (if they are eligible for one) their Universal Credit will be reduced by 55p.
  • Those who qualify for a work allowance include people with responsibility for a child or a limited capacity to work.

What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea

Individual circumstances will affect how much of an allowance someone is allocated before reductions kick in but a rough guide is £335 per month if they receive help with housing costs and £557 if they don’t.

To check, people can input their earnings into an online benefits calculator.

People who have stopped receiving Universal Credit because their earnings have increased or they have gone back to work, should reapply as they might now come under the threshold.

Universal Credit can also open up the door to other Government help like free prescriptions or Personal Independence Payments.

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