Household Support Fund: thousands of UK families to get £15 voucher for food in October - who is eligibile?

Local councils will dish out the food vouchers to struggling families under a new £421 million pot of funding given by the government to the Household Support Fund

Thousands of UK households will get £15 cash vouchers this month to help pay for the rising cost of groceries during the October half-term break.

The food vouchers will be dished out under a new round of £421 million funding given by the government to the Household Support Fund and will be distributed to struggling families to help pay for bills and essentials.

Local councils have been given a slice of the new pot of funding which will be shared out to households.

West Northamptonshire Council has announced it will be handing out part of its £2.6million portion of cash in the form of food vouchers.

Who is eligible for the vouchers?

The £15 vouchers will be given to low income households with children to help pay for food during the October half term break.

Councils will be contacting schools in their local area, who will dish out the vouchers ahead of the holiday.

West Northamptonshire Council has not yet outlined if families need to apply for the vouchers, or if they are given out automatically. It also has not specified the eligibility criteria for who can qualify.

How much support can I get?

Councils are currently deciding how to distribute their new round of funding. In a lot of cases, households won’t know exactly what they can get under the latest round of support just yet.

But in the last round of funding, you could get up to £500 in free cash support from some councils - for example Bromsgrove and Redditch. Other authorities were offering vouchers, like Coventry City Council.

Residents of Effingham, near Guildford, could get up to £300 free cash to help them through the cost of living crisis, while Lewisham Council sent payments to families with children receiving free school meals - they also sent payments to pensioner households if they applied for the help.

What other help is there?

If you do not live in West Northamptonshire you can still get help under the Household Support Fund, but what support you can get will vary, because each council is in charge of how to spend the funding available.

Some councils may decide to dish the help out automatically, while in other authorities you will need to apply for the support. Others choose to distribute funding out in the form of vouchers, and some give out cash payments.

To get more information on what support is available, and how to get it, you will need to contact your local council. You can find yours using the gov.uk council checker tool.

To be eligible for the help, you usually have to be in receipt of Council Tax Support.

There is also plenty of other help on offer if you are not eligible for support through the Household Support Fund.

Some other sources of support include:

  • Energy companies offer hardship funds, for example you can get £750 from British Gas if you are a customer
  • Households on pension credit or low incomes may qualify for the warm home discount scheme worth £15
  • If you are pregnant or have a child under the age of four then you may qualify for Healthy Start vouchers to help pay for basic foods such as milk or fruit
  • You can apply for free school meals for your child if you are claiming certain benefits including Universal Credit
  • If your Universal Credit payment is not enough to cover your rent, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). This will give you extra money if your council decides you need help to meet your housing costs - and you don’t need to repay a DHP