THOUSANDS of struggling households can claim vouchers to spend in Tesco, Asda, Aldi and other supermarket as the cost of living rises.
The scheme began in October 2021 with a £500million plan to help vulnerable households.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak doubled the scheme in February this year to £1billion, and announced in May that a further £500million would be added to the pot.
The extra help comes as millions face a surge in prices and further pain this October, with energy bills set to soar by another £830.
So the government has stepped in to help those struggling with free cash, vouchers and more support.
Each council is given a separate sum of money to dish out however they want.
While some choose to give out supermarket vouchers, other choose free cash or discount codes.
Below, we’ve listed six council areas which are offering supermarket vouchers to struggling households.
What you get depends on where you live, so we recommend checking offers with your local council first.
People living in the Medway council area can get up to £210 in supermarket vouchers.
These vouchers can be spent in a range of stores including Tesco, Asda and Aldi.
Residents are also offered fuel vouchers and referrals for vouchers.
How much you can claim does depend on your circumstance, so do check that.
For example, a single homeowner can claim £50 in vouchers.
Households with two to five residents can get between £70 and £175 in vouchers – do check the website to see what fits you.
For six or more residents in one home, the council can reward vouchers worth up to £210. These can only be used for food, fuel or referrals.
If you live in Barnsley, you could get up to £200 in vouchers to spend in key supermarkets including Aldi, Asda, Argos and Currys.
You’ll usually receive your voucher in 10 working days.
You can find out more and apply on Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s website.
You might need to provide a recent bank statement when you apply, as you’ll need to show you’re on low income.
In North Yorkshire, if you’re of working age, don’t have children and you’re getting the maximum discount to help pay your council tax, you can still claim up to £75.
You’ll only get one payment per household if you’re eligible, though, but double check for any exceptions.
Everyone who is eligible will get a letter by next month. This will have tips on how to claim and use your e-vouchers.
Vouchers can be redeemed at any of these supermarket chains:
- Farm Foods
- Marks & Spencer
You’ll be able to use your vouchers in store, although you can use them online for some supermarkets.
To find out whether you’re eligible for the Household Support Fund, you can use your council’s online checker.
Coventry City Council said households in the area can apply for help, but it will also accept applications from third parties such as social workers, relatives, friends and more, if you know someone who needs some help.
Households in the area can claim a one-off supermarket voucher for £36, which they can put towards their food costs and so have more money left to pay for their energy bills.
To receive the voucher you must meet the following criteria:
- Be in receipt of the maximum amount of Council Tax Support
- Be exempt from Council tax as: your property is wholly occupied by people with a severe mental impairment, you live in an annexe and you are a dependant relative of a person who is a resident in the main family property, you are a Coventry care leaver who is liable for council tax and is a resident in that property
Once Coventry Council has received your application, a member of its community support team will contact the resident to discuss their application with a letter.
But you can still try and get the help if you haven’t been contacted.
To claim the voucher, you should:
- Scan the QR code on your letter (which you will receive if you are eligible for the voucher) using your smartphone’s camera – this code is unique to your voucher
- You will be asked to enter your email address or mobile phone number in order to claim the voucher.
- If you have used the E-vouchers platform before, you will be sent a link to login. If you have not used the platform before you will need to create an account before you can login.
- Once logged in, you can select your preferred supermarket, then your digital voucher will show.
Those eligible can apply more than once, the council said, so you might be able to get more than one chunk of cash.
Leicester County Council is offering supermarket vouchers and support with energy bills.
Referrals are now open until 28 September 2022.
Local residents can’t apply directly though and you need to be referred by a professional support worker or agency before the deadline.
You could get up to £15 on a voucher to pay for food for one child, which will be issued through schools.
Do check eligibility here to see if you could claim extra help.
Those living in Ealing could get £90 in supermarket vouchers over this month.
The majority of voucher recipients are automatically identified from council records and sent out, but some may need to contact the council if they believe they meet requirements.
Families eligible for benefits or from low income backgrounds as well as care leavers could claim these vouchers.
And if you’re a pensioner, you’ll get a one-off payment of £103.79 through the post office in July or August.
How do I know if I’m eligible?
Again, each council is different and we recommend visiting your local website to find out what the requirements are.
Most councils will need to see an immediate need for support – so you might need to prove you’ve had benefits by showing your latest bank statement.
To find out what supports on offer, speak directly to your local council or visit its website for more details.
For example, Derby Council is giving out £120 in cash to residents struggling over term break.
Torbay Council is lending a maximum amount of £50 towards food or energy bills.
Also, if you find you’re not eligible but still need support, you can check in with your energy suppliers to see what grants are on offer.