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A number of councils across the UK are supporting eligible low-income families with rising living costs by supplying free supermarket vouchers – and some are worth up to £500. The vouchers are distributed by local councils through the Household Support Fund, which is a scheme that was launched in 2021 and has since been extended to March 2023 to help with the cost of living crisis.
Every council receives a portion of the Household Support Fund, which then distributes the money in a way that meets the needs of their local communities.
This means Household Support Fund schemes may vary slightly in different parts of the country, and people can use the official postcode checker to find out what services their local council is currently offering and how it is providing them.
The Fund was initially set up by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help vulnerable households meet the costs of daily needs such as food, clothing, and utilities as the country recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now in its third phase, the national criteria have been updated to help people who missed out on other means of Government support designed to help with surging living costs.
While some councils have been using their portion of the fund to help with energy bills, others are using it to support households with soaring food and essentials costs by distributing hundreds of pounds worth of free supermarket vouchers.
Councils will either be contacting people directly if they’re eligible to receive the financial support, otherwise, people may have to apply for it through their respective councils’ websites.
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Among those that list support via supermarket vouchers, Luton Borough Council is offering between £100 and £500 worth of grocery, cash, or utility vouchers to those who meet the criteria.
According to its website, eligible applications must have savings of less than £6,000 and are either in receipt of any eligible benefits or have a household income of less than £34,100.
Applications must be submitted online and the deadline to apply falls on February 28. Only one application is permitted per household and the total amount of support will depend on the individual’s circumstances.
In North Yorkshire, households could receive up to £325 in supermarket e-vouchers. Those eligible should have received a letter informing them of this between January 4 and January 16, and the vouchers much be redeemed by February 15.
Eligible households in London boroughs, such as Camden, Ealing, Tower Hamlets, and Wandsworth are also offering support via supermarket vouchers.
Hard-up households in Wandsworth could be eligible for up to £230 in vouchers; households in Camden will get £15 worth of vouchers for every child who lives in the home in February 2023, while in Ealing, households will receive £15 per child in February and another £30 per child in March.
Households in Tower Hamlets have to apply for support via the Resident’s Support Scheme on its website.
Elsewhere, Medway Council is offering up to £210 in vouchers depending on the circumstance, while households in Bracknell could be eligible for a one-off supermarket voucher of £45 per child.
The Government has said that the third round of Household Support Funding needs to be spent before the end of March, so it’s important for those eligible to claim to visit their local council website to check what’s available sooner rather than later.
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