Household Support Fund London: what is the government support, how do I apply online, and who is eligible?

The scheme is to be extended past March.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced his plans to aid people financially in his Spring Statement earlier this week.

The Chancellor spoke in the House of Commons on Wednesday, March 23, and announced that he is doubling the Household Support Fund to £1 billion, to give local authorities the support they need to help people in their local area.

The Household Support fund was due to end on Thursday, March 31.

What is the Household Support Fund?

The Household Support Fund was worth £500m when it  was initially announced in September 2021 - it was devised to help families cover the rising cost of fuel and food.

The period that the scheme was initially set up to cover was from October 6, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

Councils throughout England  distribute the money to households it deems who need it most.

But, in his highly anticipated Spring Statement, Sunak announced that the scheme was to be extended, saying: “I want to do more to help our most vulnerable households with rising costs.

“They need targeted support. So I am also doubling the Household Support Fund to £1billion.”

What has the London Council said?

Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said: “Against a backdrop of skyrocketing inflation and high unemployment and poverty, many Londoners are going through the hardest of hard times.

“Boroughs are doing all we can to support our residents through this cost-of-living crisis, and the chancellor’s boost to the Household Support Fund will provide some much-needed relief. Boroughs’ local knowledge and community links mean we can ensure the money gets to those who need it most.

“But there’s so much more the government could do to ensure councils are better resourced to deliver targeted local welfare support for hard-pressed households in London and across the country.”

Who is eligible?

Schemes can differ from borough to borough.

Richmond City Council, however, have laid out who can apply and who is eligible for the scheme.

They state that people wishing to apply  “Must be over 18 and live in the borough of Richmond and be struggling from the impact of rising costs of food and energy or continue to be impacted by COVID.”

This can include: Reduced pay or lost job, benefits issues, struggling to afford food, energy costs and other essentials, including white goods, extra costs as a result of COVID-19.

Richmond Council also states that to apply contact Citizens Advice Richmond or Richmond Aid.

You can contact Citizens Advice Richmond on 080 82 78 78 73 or complete the grant enquiry form.

Hillingdon Council, in West London also details who is eligible.

They state that “To be eligible for a grant, you must live in a household with children aged under 19 who attend a school within Hillingdon and be in receipt of at least one of these benefits”.

These benefits include: Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, The guaranteed element of Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit - as long as you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and your annual gross income is no more than £16,190, Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit), Universal Credit - your household income must be less than £7,400 a year after tax and not including any benefits you get, You must be in receipt of or eligible for benefit-related free school meals (not universal free school meals)

If you’re in a household without children, you are eligible if you are a vulnerable adult, and you are known to the council’s adult social care team, you are a household with no recourse to public funds and you are known to the council’s adult or children’s social care team, you are a care leaver who is known to the council and currently receiving care leavers’ services, you are being assisted by the Citizens Advice Bureau, Age UK or a debt management agency in respect of your finances.

As stated, schemes can differ from borough to borough, so the eligibility criteria may be different. To find out if you’re eligible for the grant in your borough, contact them directly via phone or email.