The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, MP, has doubled the Household Support Fund (HSF) to help some of the poorest people in Birmingham and the rest of the United Kingdom through, what the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) say will be the biggest drop in living standards in a single year since records began in 1956.
Mr. Sunak made the announcement in the House of Commons on Wednesday, March 23 that the HSF would be doubled to the tune of £1b.
Mr Sunak said: “I want to do more to help our most vulnerable households with rising costs.
“They need targeted support so I am doubling the Household Support Fund to £1 billion with £500 million of new funding.”
What is the HSF?
The HSF was initially announced in September last year, and was designed to help less well off families to cope with higher fuel costs and a spike in the cost of living between October 6, 2021 and March 31, 2022.
The HSF is there to assist households who may be struggling to stay afloat amid the spike in the cost of living. The help is there to assist with basic necessities such as food, household bills, fuel and more.
The on-the-ground delivery of the HSF is managed by local councils.
Who is eligible for government support?
For Birmingham residents, households must undergo an assessment criteria, determining if they’re eligible for access to the fund.
If you have children, in order to apply, your child must be entitled to free school meals, or healthy start vouchers if your child is of a preschool age.
For households without children, applications are being accepted if you’re a recipient of one of the following benefits:
- Council Tax Support
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Social Funds (Cold Weather Payment, Funeral Payment, Sure Start Maternity Grant)
- Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit)
- Universal Credit
How do I apply online?
Once your eligibility has been confirmed, the trusted partner agency will complete your application to receive your grant.
A list of all important email addresses concerning partner agencies can be found on the Birmingham Council website.
Birmingham council advises that “If you have a query regarding an existing application please contact the trusted partner organisation who submitted the application on your behalf in the first instance.
“Please do not contact trusted partners until seven working days after your application has been submitted as they may not be able to provide an update on the progress before this time.”
How do I receive the grant money?
The usual process is for the money to be paid directly into your bank account. However, if you do not have access to your bank account, alternative arrangements can be made to ensure you are the recipient of the funds.
The process can take up to seven days to complete, as certain processes need to take place. These include necessary financial checks and fraud detection measures.