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Exact date thousands of households must claim cost of living vouchers worth £140 – are you eligible?

THOUSANDS of households in line for cost of living payments worth £140 have just weeks left until they have to take action.

The help comes via the Household Support Fund (HSF) which is worth £421million.

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Households in one part of the UK are eligible for supermarket vouchers worth £140[/caption]

The fund has been shared between councils in England who have to distribute their portion before the end of September.

What you can get depends on where you live, as each local authority has been given its own unique amount.

North Yorkshire Council is dishing out e-vouchers worth £140 to thousands of households that can be spent at nine retailers.

They are being distributed to households who receive a 100% council tax reduction.

Letters started being sent to eligible households in the first week of July with details on how to claim the vouchers.

The letters being sent by North Yorkshire Council contain a code which you have to redeem on its website.

But the code has to be redeemed by August 5 or it will expire and you will miss out on the £140.

You need to have access to an email address to claim the e-vouchers.

Can I get help if I don’t live in North Yorkshire?

You might be able to. The £421million HSF pot has been shared between councils in England, but not equally.

Each local authority gets to decide its own eligibility criteria.

That means what you can get, and whether you qualify, depend on where you live.

Some councils started distributing help in April and have already depleted their share, so you might have missed out for now.

The Household Support Fund has been extended multiple times since its inception in October 2021, so it may be extended again though.

There are currently a number of councils offering help via the HSF.

Leicestershire Council is handing out payments worth £300 to thousands of households.

Households in Stockport can claim up to £315 worth of free supermarket vouchers to help with the cost of living.

Meanwhile, Wokingham Council is handing out grants worth up to £140.

If you want to check if you are eligible for help, contact your local council.

You can find what council area you fall under by using the Government’s council locator tool.

How else to get help with the cost of living

If you’re not eligible for the Household Support Fund in your local area, it’s worth checking if you qualify for benefits.

Recent figures from Policy in Practice reveal millions of people aren’t claiming the extra help when they could be.

In total, £23billion went unclaimed over the last financial year, with £8.3billion worth of Universal Credit not claimed for.

You can apply for benefits on the Government’s website.

It’s not just extra money you get from benefits either, with a number opening up additional perks.

Those on Universal Credit can get help covering the cost of childcare, for example, while those on Pension Credit can get a free TV licence.

Those on the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit also qualify for the Warm Home Discount – a £150 discount off energy bills once a year.

If you are struggling to pay for food, it’s worth seeing if you qualify for the Healthy Start Scheme.

The scheme entitles you to a prepaid card which can be used to get money off your supermarket shop and is worth up to £442 a year.

You qualify if you are on of the following benefits:

  • Child tax credits (only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Pension credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Universal Credit (only if your family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)

You can apply via www.healthystart.nhs.uk.

How has the Household Support Fund evolved?

THE Household Support Fund was first launched in October 2021 to help Brits pay their way through winter amid the cost of living crisis.

Councils up and down the country got a slice of the £500million funding available to dish out to Brits in need.

It was then extended for a second time in the 2022 Spring Budget and for a third time in October 2022 to help those on the lowest incomes with the rising cost of living.

The DWP then confirmed a fourth extension of the scheme through to March 31, 2024.

Chancellor Jeremey Hunt extended the HSF for the fifth time while delivering his Spring Budget on March 6, 2024.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing money-sm@news.co.uk.

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