£85m remains unclaimed in living cost support from local councils – are you eligible?

Local councils are sitting on millions of pounds worth of support, and there’s only a limited time left for people to claim it.

The Household Support Fund is targeted at the most vulnerable households and is typically used to help them with the cost of essentials like groceries, toiletries, and warm clothes, as well as provide further support with .

On April 1, 2023, the Government extended support for another year, adding a further £842million to the fund. This funding is allocated to local authorities across England for distribution to constituents most in need.

However, a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request from lender Creditspring found a staggering £85million is still yet to be claimed across local councils.

The deadline to claim lands on March 31, 2024, so Britons must act fast if they believe they might qualify for support.

Neil Kadagathur, CEO and co-founder of Creditspring, commented: “With the end of the scheme fast approaching, all councils must ensure that all available support is provided to the struggling households who need it the most.

“With over a dozen councils still to award over £1million from the Household Support Fund, the race is on to not only boost awareness and simplify the application process so households can apply in time but also to identify vulnerable people who they could proactively provide vital support to.”

Councils in England decide how best to allocate their fund – now worth £2billion across its lifetime – by drawing from local knowledge and making direct contact with people in the community.

For a few examples of how local authorities have previously used the fund, Kent County Council is currently offering eligible claimants one physical or one virtual prepaid card to the value of £100, which can be used towards energy costs.

Newcastle City Council are currently offering free school meal vouchers and a cost of living scheme “Top Up” worth up to £700 for households receiving housing benefits but didn’t qualify for the full £900 cost of living payment.

Meanwhile, Peterborough City Council is offering households vouchers worth up to £80, which can be claimed twice, provided there is a two-month gap between applications.

Derby City Council is still offering households free school meals during term breaks, as well as food vouchers worth up to £120.

Households facing financial hardship can claim up to £200 in hardship grants from Birmingham City Council. It’s also offering a £50 cash voucher for low-income pension-age households.

People can find out if and what their local councils are offering through the Household Support Fund by visiting the respective websites.

Additionally, Creditspring has launched a new Benefits Finder tool to help households get the support they’re entitled to.

On average, the tool has found that individuals could be entitled to £890 per month in additional financial support.