Additional funding has been made available from the UK Government to local councils via Household Support Fund to help to support those most in need to help with rising living costs.
The current Southampton Household Support Fund scheme (1 April 2022 – 30 September 2022) offers the following support:
- Help for pupils eligible for Free School Meals: As part of the Household Support Fund, we will continue to support financially vulnerable families using the Free School Meals (FSM) Voucher Scheme over the 2022 summer holidays, with a £30 voucher per eligible child/pupil. This will continue to be offered directly from education settings and will include a single supermarket voucher. If you are unsure whether you qualify for FSM, please speak to your early years setting, school or college. Or you can use our helpful checker. School aged pupils who are eligible for FSM are also able to access the city’s Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF). Families are encouraged to redeem their vouchers by the close of play on the 19 August 2022. There is no requirement for the vouchers to be spent, just redeemed. Those vouchers that have not been redeemed by this date, will become invalid and no longer accessible.
- Help for low-income pensioners: We will be making a one-off, direct Household Support Fund and Discretionary Council Tax Payment to Southampton pensioner households who were in receipt of Council Tax Support on 1 August 2022. If you are eligible, there will be no need to apply for this support.
- If you pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit: If you are eligible for this payment, you will receive it directly into your bank account on or around 22 August
- If you do not pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit: If you are eligible for this payment, you will receive a voucher through the post. The voucher will come as a bar code embedded in a letter from Southampton City Council. The letter will give instructions on how to redeem the voucher at the Post Office. Voucher letters will be sent out to eligible households from 15 August
- Help for other low-income households: We have also had an online Southampton Household Support Fund for low-income Southampton residents. Due to high levels of applications and limited funding, this is now closed to new applications. The Government has a wider package of Cost of Living support for low income households.
What other support is available?
Household bills SHOW
- The Environment Centre can help with advice on how to cut your energy costs and make your home warmer
- Visit the government’s website for help heating your home, including information on a discount to reduce your electricity bill for winter, cold weather payments and winter fuel payments
- British Gas Energy Trust provides grants for customers in utility bill arrears, irrespective of energy company
- WaterSure allows you to have your water bills capped if you are on certain benefits
- Southern Water provides support if you are struggling with water bills
Housing costs or council tax SHOW
Other costs SHOW
- Healthy Start Vouchers – if you receive certain benefits and are pregnant or have a child under the age of four
- Free School Meals – if you meet the income criteria and have a school-aged child
- Bereavement Support Payment – if you are on a low income and your husband, wife or civil partner has died in the last 21 months
- Funeral Expenses Payment – if you are on a low income and are responsible for arranging someone’s funeral
- Use a free online benefits calculator on the Turn 2 Us website or on the Entitled To website
- If you are over pension age, there is useful information on Age UK
- Visit our benefits and welfare pages for more information about universal credit, housing benefit and council tax support
- Contact Citizens Advice for help applying for Universal Credit
- If you have been impacted by the Benefit Cap, please email us or call 07917 557149
Managing debt SHOW
- Citizens Advice Southampton can advise and support you with money and debt queries
- Frontline Debt and Christians Against Poverty provide free and confidential debt help
- You can also get debt advice online at any time of day from StepChange and National Debtline
- The Welfare Rights & Money Advice team can help you with benefits, budgeting and debt advice if you are a council tenant
Money and income SHOW
- Check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to
- Visit the Money Advice Service for tips and tricks to save money when shopping
- Impartial advice can also be found on Money Saving Expert
- If you’re regularly paying bank charges or overdraft fees, or if you’ve been refused a current account, you might need a basic bank account which can help you to avoid most of these charges
- Find out if you are eligible for Help to Save, a government scheme which pays a bonus to savers who qualify
- Before you think about borrowing money, make sure you know how much it will cost you to pay it back. Avoid expensive options such as payday loans; you can use this guide to look for alternatives to payday loans
- If you are concerned you have borrowed money from a ‘loan shark’ please contact Stop Loan Sharks