HARD-UP households could get £75 FREE towards the cost of food as bills continue to soar.

The Household Support Fund (HSF), created by the government to aid those struggling, is in full swing and providing help for essential costs. 

Households worried about making their money stretch throughout winter can still apply for support

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Households worried about making their money stretch throughout winter can still apply for supportCredit: Getty

The HSF has provided UK councils with money for residents feeling the pinch of winter costs. 

The overall pot is £500million, but local authorities have been given a different slice of this depending on the need in the area.

For example, Birmingham was given £13million, Leeds £7million and North East Lincolnshire just under £2million. 

To find the authority in charge of your area’s funding, simply type your postcode into the local council checker tool on the government’s website. 

Local councils decide how they use the funding, with some opting for supermarket vouchers, fuel vouchers, or one-off cash payments.

With just a couple months left of the scheme due to end March 31, it’s more important than ever to apply for help before it runs out. 

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A number of councils, including Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, have warned the scheme will stop whenever their funds are exhausted.

This could be sooner than March considering the upcoming school half-term in February, meaning more funding will be used towards free school meal vouchers. 

Waverley Borough Council, located in Surrey was awarded £5million by the government and is offering residents £75 supermarket cards.

This is welcome relief for households in the area who have had to take drastic measures to keep costs down, such as deciding between heating or eating

The tough decisions come as the UK faces a cost of living crunch alongside an energy crisis, caused by a global increase in the demand for gas without enough supply.

As a result, many energy firms have gone bust and bills have rocketed for those not on a fixed-tariff.

But the energy price cap has already faced two increases last year, and with the current cap set to come to an end shortly, there’s a possibility prices will soar even further. 

How to claim the cash

Firstly, you have to be a resident of Waverley borough to apply.

Families with children can apply for the maximum amount of £75, but single households can apply for a maximum of £50.

The council is providing funds through its local Citizens Advice branch, and to apply you have to fill out a simple application form on its website

If you need help with the application, you can call a Citizens Advice agent for assistance.

Be prepared to give details of your financial circumstances as the council may require evidence of financial hardship.

If you discover you aren’t eligible for the HSF, you may be able to apply for help with your energy provider instead. 

Alternatively, you could get upto £1,025 towards energy bills if you missed out on the warm homes discount

Or for more advice on how you can reduce your bills, our expert Squeeze Team has tips you could follow to manage costs.

Martin Lewis tells households what to do about energy bills before next price cap announcement

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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