How Preston residents can get cost-of-living help with energy and food bills this autumn and winter via the Household Support Fund
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Preston City Council is accepting applications to the Household Support Fund, a government pot that gives local authorities cash to support their most vulnerable residents - and distribute it at their discretion.
The scheme works slightly differently in different council areas - and here’s our guide to how it operates in Preston:
Who is eligible for the Household Support Fund in Preston?
***Those experiencing financial hardship and do not have enough resources to meet their immediate short-term needs.
What bills can be covered by the Household Support Fund in Preston?
***Energy and water
***Essentials linked to energy and water
***Wider essentials linked to cost-of-living increases, including - but not limited to - white goods, furniture and flooring, which will be considered at the discretion of the authority, whose decision is final.
***Housing costs may be considered, but only if all other options to obtain support have been exhausted, such as discretionary housing payments.
What bills are not covered by the Household Support Fund in Preston?
***Items that are not essential, such as debts incurred by gambling.
***The repayment of loans, credit cards, overdrafts or hire purchase agreements.
***Rent arrears and/or deposits, unless meeting exceptional need.
How are decisions made about awards under the Household Support Fund in Preston?
***Payments are made on a first-come-first-served basis and so all applications will be processed strictly in order of the date they were received - and only if all requested supporting documentation has been completed.
***Awards will be made where there is no alternative means of meeting the need of the household making the application.
***Decisions are usually made within 20 days, but that target timeframe may not always be able to be met.
What information will Preston City Council need to consider an application?
***Full household details
***All applications must be supported with bank statements for all adults in the household and for all accounts held . These must be for one full month - showing transactions in and out of the account - and must be dated within the last two months. Screenshots showing the bank account details only will not be accepted but pictures of bank statements may be submitted.
***If you pay your energy bill by direct debit, a copy of the front and back page of your most recent bill showing:
– the balance owed
– the account number
– confirmation of what type of meter you have installed.
***If you have arrears on your energy bills, a copy of the bill showing the arrears, payments you have made towards these arrears and payment details for your supplier
***What support you need and why - a full, in-depth explanation of your circumstances is required. For instance, it is not sufficient simply to state, "an increase in household bills".
How do you apply for cash from the Household Support Fund in Preston?
***Fill in the form here.
Is there any other help with bills available this winter?
***The Warm Home Discount scheme begins in October - a one-off discount on energy bills for people who receive the ‘guarantee credit’ element of Pension Credit or who are on a low income and have high energy costs.
***The second of three instalments of £900 that is being paid by the government to households on means-tested benefits during 2023/24 will arrive in the autumn, with the final one following next spring.
***£300 for pensioner households this winter.
***£150 for people on certain disability benefits.