THOUSANDS of hard-up households can get their hands on £100 free cash towards essential costs this winter.

The money is part of the government’s Household Support Fund, which is a pot of £500million being dished out to UK residents.

Cash-strapped households that are struggling to pay for utility and food bills can apply for help from their local council – what assistance is available will depend on the area you live in and your personal circumstances.

To find your local authority, you can use the council checker tool on the gov.uk website.

In most cases, the funding runs up until March 31 2022. 

But availability may end sooner for some councils if their funding is used up before then.

Rutland County Council has been allocated nearly £2million by the government to help vulnerable Rutland residents.

But other areas of the UK such as Kent, have been granted more than £11million to support local families.

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The aim of the funding is to help struggling Brits cope with rising utility and food bills as a result of the cost of living crisis.

Families could face paying £1,000 more for energy bills as the price cap almost doubles.

Rutland said that applications made after its funding has run out will be denied, and no further help will be available from its portion of the Household Support Fund afterwards.

With support doled out on a first come first served basis, it’s important to check the eligibility criteria and apply as soon as possible.

But you may or may not be given funding depending on your circumstances.

For instance, Rutland has specified that families with children who receive free school meals will be given food vouchers by their child’s school in accordance with the Household Support Fund. 

The vouchers are issued to cover school term breaks, which means they will soon be dished out for the upcoming February half term. 

Each eligible child will receive a £15 food voucher to cover the week break.

Depending on the available funds left, Rutland Council has said that Easter half term vouchers may also be provided.

Along with the food vouchers, households that are in receipt of Local Council Tax Support from November 15 will be issued a Household Support Payment of £100.

If you are eligible for this, the council should have contacted you.

Struggling families who don’t receive Local Council Tax Support can still grab the cash if they meet other criteria.

These requirements include:

  • Be a household living in Rutland on 15/11/2021, and the applicant or their partner is liable to pay the Council Tax for the property they are living in on 15/11/2021
  • The applicant or their partner is liable to pay the utility bills e.g., electricity, gas, water for the property they are living in on 15/11/2021
  • The household has savings of less than £5,000 on 15/11/2021
  • The applicant or their partner is in receipt of any of the following benefits on 15/11/2021: Universal Credit with housing costs; or Universal Credit without housing costs and your household income is less than £7,400 a year (not including any benefits you get); or Employment Support Allowance; or Job Seekers Allowance; or Income Support; or Child Tax Credit and your annual household income is less than £16,190; or the guaranteed part of Pension Credit.

If you live in the Rutland region and believe you’re eligible based on this, you can apply for the support on Rutland County Council’s website.

For those who are worried about rising costs, we explain how to protect your finances using other measure as the cost of living crisis reaches boiling point.

You could also try to keep costs down using these tips, and elsewhere we speak to an energy expert to get advice on how to manage bills over winter.

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