Household Support Fund Could Offer Extra Council Payment Of £65.00

To cope with the rising cost of living crisis, households will get payments of £65.

A £65 payment will be made to households that currently qualify for council tax reduction due to low income. The funds are from the government’s Household Support Fund and are intended to help locals during the current crisis in the cost of living. There will be an additional payment of £20 for each qualifying child if there are any in the home.

These payments do not need residents to apply. By December 9, payment will be sent into the same bank account if you already pay your council taxes by direct debit. You will receive a voucher that you may exchange for cash at the Post Office if you choose not to pay via direct debit. Check if your local council supports the scheme.

More information on the Houshold Support Fund

The Department for Work and Pensions has made £421m available to County Councils and Unitary Authorities in England to help those most in need to cope with global inflationary challenges and the significantly rising cost of living. DWP provides funding to County Councils and Unitary Authorities to administer The Fund and provide assistance to households most in need.

The Fund is intended to support households in the most need, including those who are eligible for the Cost of Living Payments but not claiming qualifying benefits, people claiming Housing Benefit only, and people who begin a claim or return to payment of a benefit after the relevant qualifying date.

Low income households may need help with the cost of energy bills, and LAs should prioritise supporting households with energy costs. The Fund can also be used to support households with wider essential costs. Authorities are encouraged to explore ways of supporting disabled people in their area, such as by increasing the value of awards granted to this group in their Management Information (MI) returns for this grant.

Authorities can deliver the scheme in a variety of ways, including providing vouchers to households, making direct provision of food or goods, or issuing grants to third parties. Local Athorities have access to DWP’s Searchlight portal which provides information on individual citizens’ entitlement to and receipt of welfare benefits. This information may be useful in identifying those most in need. Local Authorities should use other sources of information to identify vulnerable households, including advice from professionals who come into contact with vulnerable households.

The Department for work and Pensions has given over £400 million for local authorities to give low-income households extra money towards their Council Tax during the cost-of-living crisis. .

Objective and key principles

Funds must be spent or committed before 31 March 2023. Authorities are encouraged to ensure that vouchers are redeemed before the end of The Fund or shortly thereafter.

Authorities are encouraged to use discretion when identifying and supporting those most in need, and to work together with District Councils and third parties including, where necessary and appropriate, other local services to help those who are struggling to afford energy and water bills, food, and other related essentials.

When deciding how to help people, authorities should consider how they plan to provide support, including the risk of fraud.

Working with other organisations

Authorities must work collaboratively with District Councils to administer this grant, and should consider whether District Councils are better placed to do so.

Authorities must have a rationale for their targeting of The Fund, including how they define eligibility and how households access The Fund. Authorities should focus on identifying and supporting a broad cross section of vulnerable households, including families with children of all ages, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers and disabled people.

Authorities should have regard to the fact that households in receipt of support from at least one of the above schemes may still be in need of support through The Fund. Local Authorities have been advised to consider prioritising those households that are vulnerable to rising costs of living despite being in receipt of government support with the cost of living.

The Fund can be used to support energy and water bills, as well as essentials linked to energy and water, such as period products, warm clothing, soap, blankets, the purchase of equipment such as fridges, freezers, ovens, slow cookers. The Fund can be used to support households on low incomes to repair or replace white goods and appliances with more energy efficient ones, or to invest in simple energy efficiency measures which will pay back quickly. It can also be used to support wider essential needs such as clothing and essential transport costs. In exceptional cases, households in receipt of housing benefit, universal credit, or direct housing payments can still receive housing cost support through The Fund. However, The Fund should not be used to provide housing support on an ongoing basis. The fund can be used to support households in genuine emergency with rent arrears, but this is not the primary intent of the fund. Administrative costs are reasonable and include staff costs, advertising, web page design, printing application forms, small IT changes, and mortgage costs.

The DWP advises local authorities to consider the risks involved when making payments to recipients, and use vouchers instead of cash where possible. Authorities should consider restricting access to vouchers and ensuring that they are used within the intended scope of The Fund.