Thousands of families could get FREE £120 to help with cost of living crisis – are you eligible?

THOUSANDS of struggling families could get FREE cash help worth £120 as they battle the cost of living crisis.

It's in part thanks to the Household Support Fund, which has been giving out financial aid to help cash-strapped Brits get by, since October last year.

Most funds had dried up by March though as all the schemes came to a close.

But a shake-up announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Spring Statement meant another £500million was added to boost the help.

Councils can do as they wish with the money they are given, and they can hand it out to whoever they please too – which usually means different areas can expect different help.

For example, North Yorkshire residents were able to claim a £125 voucher to help pay for food and other essentials, in the first round of the scheme.

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While in Barnsley, households could get up to £200 in vouchers to spend at supermarkets and shops including Aldi, Asda, Argos and Currys.

Norfolk County Council has upped the ante now that the scheme has started to resurface though.

The council has just added its own £1 million to the Household Support Fund hand-out to create a new "Norfolk Cost of Living Support Scheme".

The £7.7 million total will be distributed to residents in the area from now until October.

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Just under half of the support is going straight to parents with hungry mouths to feed though.

Families will be able to get free cash vouchers if they have children eligible for means-tested free school meals.

The payments will be £15 per month, per child, and the scheme runs until October.

They technically start from April, which has of course been and gone, but parents will still be able to claim the back-dated month – with a double payment this month.

And in August they'll get twice as much (£30 instead) because of the school holidays.

In total it means families get £120 free cash in total by the time the support comes to an end.

The money will be sent in vouchers each month that can be spent at any supermarket on food or clothing or other essentials.

You don't have to apply if your child already receives free school meals as they'll automatically be enrolled in this new support scheme.

But if you think you would benefit from the support and want to get more help you can call 0344 800 8020 to explain your current financial situation.

You might be directed onto the same support or be able to benefit from the rest of the funds from the over £7 million pot.

The rest of the money is being reserved for other struggling residents including pensioners and children not eligible for free school meals, but it's not been revealed exactly what they can get.

What other help can I get?

Other help is available for more cash-strapped families too, so you don't have to miss out if you don't live in the area, or aren't eligible for the £120.

Other councils will soon begin dishing out their own Household Support Fund grants, but some towns may be waiting until September time to claim.

Welfare assistance scheme

Brits can apply for much-needed cash and vouchers for food, furniture, bills and more via the welfare assistance scheme – and you can get up to £1,000 in free cash.

It's something of a postcode lottery when it comes to what help they can get though as some councils are not as generous in offering help.

And others don't even have a scheme in place at all.

Council tax reduction

Many people paying council tax may not be aware that they can get their bill reduced.

Reductions are available for those on low-incomes, people claiming certain benefits, those caring for others as well as other circumstances.

The amount your bill is reduced by can range from 25% off to 100% which would mean you pay nothing at all for this bill.

You should get in touch with your local authority to apply for a discount.

Energy bill rebate

Later on in the year, households will get £200 off their energy bills.

The discount is applied automatically, but not until October.

But the money does have to be paid back – in the form of £40 added to annual bills over five years from next year.

This month though, plenty of households have already started seeing £150 land in their bank accounts thanks to the Council tax rebate that was part of the same support scheme.

Energy bill grants

If you can't wait until October to get the rebate help, then it might be worth contacting your supplier to access help from one of its grants.

British Gas customers for example, can apply for a £750 grant to help with their energy bills.

But the amount can vary according to your supplier and your circumstances.

Discretionary housing payment

If you’re struggling to pay rent, you could apply for a discretionary housing payment.

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It's given out on case by case basis though and how much you could get, depends on your personal circumstances.

You need to apply to your local council for the help.

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