Household Support Fund
What is the Household Support Fund?
The Household Support Fund has been made available to county councils and unitary authorities in England to support those most in need to help with global inflationary challenges and significantly rising living costs. This funding covers the period from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 and local authorities have discretion on exactly how this funding is used within the scope of the guidance set by the Department for Work and Pensions.
What is happening in Warwickshire?
The Warwickshire Local Welfare Scheme will distribute this funding to families and individuals most in need through both proactive targeted support and by application. This includes countywide utility voucher campaigns, cost of living support for families/carers of children eligible for benefits related free school meals, and welfare grants for community-led groups and initiatives, including schemes led by district and borough councils to support the most vulnerable in our community and respond to a specific immediate need.
We know that sudden unexpected costs can create real challenges for our residents who are experiencing financial hardship. The Household Support Fund is one-off funding to provide short-term support to meet immediate needs and help those who are struggling to access the essentials.
What support is available?
Help for Warwickshire residents struggling to pay utility bills.
In recognition that an unexpected increase in costs can create real challenges for our residents who are experiencing financial hardship, another county wide utilities voucher campaign is launching Monday 6 March 2023.
A one-off voucher payment will be available to help those who are struggling to afford energy and water bills. This will supplement ongoing emergency support from the Local Welfare Scheme for residents in financial crisis.
Households in Warwickshire can apply whether they use pre-payment meters, pay by direct debit or on receipt of a bill. Residents are invited to contact us on 0800 4081448 or 01926 359182 for a confidential discussion about their situation. All applications for the payment must be made by 24 March 2023.
Anyone entitled to benefits eligible free school meals has already received this support.
Due to the limited amount of funds we have available, we will prioritise items necessary for day to day living such as food, energy and water and particularly those who may not be eligible for the other support the government has recently made available.
Unfortunately, we are unable to support with the following:
- any application made that is felt to be not an immediate need
- applications from those with sufficient income or savings
- support with mortgages or personal debts
- phone costs or associated expenses
- help with Council Tax as this is met through other types of support
The Warwickshire Local Welfare Scheme
What is the Warwickshire Local Welfare Scheme?
The Warwickshire Local Welfare Scheme helps our most vulnerable residents at times of unavoidable crisis when they have no other means of help
Who is eligible?
Our eligibility criteria balances supporting as many residents as we can with targeting our limited funds to support those who need our help the most.
Applicants need to be:
- a legal resident in the UK
- aged 16 or over
- have no other access to funds or enough resources to pay for food or energy
- experiencing a situation which poses a serious health or safety risk to themselves or their family
- a resident of Warwickshire
- a member of the armed forces who can demonstrate a strong connection to Warwickshire
Who is not eligible?
- someone in hospital, or a care home unless their discharge is imminent
- someone subject to immigration control by virtue of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- applicants or their immediate family who have received four awards for food and energy within a 12-month period
- applicants or their immediate family who have received an award for household goods or clothing
- prisoners and people lawfully detained
- someone from abroad who fails or would fail the habitual residence test for the purpose of welfare benefits
How will payments be made?
If you are due to receive an award, we will normally provide vouchers.
All awards from the Local Welfare Scheme will be made as quickly as possible to meet the agreed needs of the household. We also reserve the right to provide ‘in-kind’ support where this is appropriate.
What information will I need to provide?
In order to assess the household needs and priorities, the council will require you to provide some information. This may include details of who is living within the household, the household income, any savings held by household members, and of the circumstances and reasons that led to an application being made. We will also need some practical information, such as your National Insurance number and contact details.
Our customer service advisors will also consider all the information at their disposal to assess the risk faced by the applicant and the relative priority of their application including:
- Financial circumstances
- Access to other forms of financial support
- Circumstances and reasons for the claim
- Preventative measures taken by the applicant or partner
- Impact of making or not making of the award
Reviewing unsuccessful applications
The scheme is discretionary and there are no appeal rights to an Independent Tribunal, but you can ask us to look at your case again within five days of our decision if you are not happy with the outcome of your application. Requests for a review of our decision need to be made in writing. It must state the reasons why you are asking for a review of the decision and be signed and dated.
You will be notified of the review decision within 14 days of your request. This decision will be final.
How often can I apply?
In exceptional circumstances repeat applications will be considered on merit. In the case of repeat applications further work and referrals to other agencies will be discussed with the applicant and may be conditional on having further financial support (for example, referrals to Citizens Advice)
In line with the principles of good administration, all applications will be treated fairly and consistently. Applications will be processed in a timely manner.
We will monitor this scheme on an ongoing basis. We will regularly review the scheme to ensure that we are making the best use of the money we have available.
We committed to tackling and preventing fraud in all its forms. If a claimant attempts to claim an award from the Household Support Fund by making a false declaration or providing false evidence or statements, they may have committed an offence under the Theft Act 1968. Where we suspect that fraud may have occurred we will investigate the matter as appropriate, and this may lead to criminal proceedings.
Please call one of our helpful advisors. They will ask questions about your circumstances that you must answer honestly, and they will also signpost you to other agencies and organisations who can offer help and support.
To enquire or to apply for support, call the Local Welfare Scheme on 0800 4081448 or 01926 359182.
- Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm
- Friday from 9am to 4.30pm
To find the information you need to manage increased household costs, please visit the Cost of Living website.