Household Support Fund
Support for those most in need
The Household Support Fund has been made available to support households in the most need; particularly families with children of all ages, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers, and people with disabilities who would otherwise struggle with energy bills, food and water bills.
The Department of Work and Pensions Household Support Fund (HSF) will provide support to those most in need by providing vouchers or payments to eligible households or making direct provisions to help with food and goods.
The government has recently announced renewed funding for the period 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. Final details will be confirmed in due course and until then residents are advised to refer to the dropdown boxes below for more information on the programmes that are currently running.
So what help is available through the Household Support Fund?
Subject to funding and eligibility criteria, this fund could offer qualifying residents across the county of Worcestershire the following:
- financial support toward current energy and water costs
- financial support toward energy and water debts only
- assistance to repair, service and replace broken boilers and heating systems
- support with food costs or direct provision of food
- support with wider essentials
Please note this is not an emergency support service, it may take a number of weeks for applications to be processed.
Is there support available if I use Alternative Fuels?
Alternative Fuels Payment
£200 Government Alternative Fuel Payment for households without a direct connection to a mains gas grid supply for central heating.
For more information visit: Alternative Fuels Payment
Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Fund
Households without a direct relationship with an energy supplier can now apply for the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Fund.
For more information visit: Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Fund
What won’t the fund be considered for?
The fund cannot be used for payment of mortgage costs or to pay off debts.
Can I still apply if I have no recourse to public funds?
Yes, the fund allows us to provide a basic safety net support to an individual, regardless of their immigration status, if there is a genuine need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example if:
- there are community care needs
- they have serious health problems
- there is a risk to a child’s wellbeing
How much money will I receive?
There are several different schemes operating across the county which you may be able to receive support from. Each scheme has different criteria and may award different payment amounts. Contact Act on Energy for more information.
Will the fund affect my benefits?
No, this funding is applicable to all who qualify and will not affect your benefits. It is also available to people not on benefits where other criteria are met.
How can I apply for the Household Support fund?
Act on Energy are providing support for energy costs across Worcestershire. The scheme is currently open for new applications. Initial eligibility includes permanent Worcestershire resident, an income of no more than £30,000, no household savings and a member of the household has some form of vulnerability e.g. disability, long term condition, pregnant, unmanageable debt.
Pensioners, carers and people with a disability or long-term condition who are also on a low income are encouraged to contact Age UK Worcester and Malvern to see if they are eligible for a one-off payment by calling 01905 724294.
Pensioners on pension credit should have received a one-off payment already. If you are newly in receipt of pension credit, you will receive a payment in the coming weeks, and you do not need to apply. This will be issued to you in the form of a voucher directly by the county council.
Further information on the wider local support available can be found through Here2Help Worcestershire, including a directory of community services.
Proof of financial hardship
We will require evidence to support your application. We will discuss this with you once we receive your application.
Can I make an application on behalf of someone?
The scheme is intended to support as many vulnerable people as possible in Worcestershire. Referrals from professional organisations may be possible in some cases. Please contact the scheme organisers.
Making more than one application
Each scheme will have different rules in relation to the number of times you can receive support. You will need to contact the relevant scheme organisers for the specific details.
Help with food and other essentials
Help with food and other essentials may also be available via your local District Council or their partner organisations.
Further information in relation to the support available for food and other essentials can be found through Here2Help
Claiming Free School Meal Vouchers during the school holidays
The council will continue to support families who qualify for a Free School meal in the holidays until the end of the Easter holiday in 2023. You will need to contact your school directly regarding the issuing of Free School Meal vouchers during school holidays.
Additional support with holiday activities and lunch is also available for families via the Ready Steady Worcestershire programme Ready Steady Worcestershire.
Healthy Start is a Government Scheme that provides weekly vouchers to eligible parents and can help you if you’re pregnant or have a young child under four. These vouchers can be spent on milk, fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk at your local shops and supermarkets, as well as offering coupons for free vitamins too.
For more information about the scheme, visit Healthy Start | Worcestershire County Council