DWP Household Support Fund Awareness Week

Tue,17 October 2023
News Benefits Money
The DWP has announced that “in aiming to further support households with the rising cost of living, the Government allocated £842 million to Local Authorities in England to extend the Household Support Fund for a year from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2024.”

Between 16 to 22 October it is holding a “Household Support Fund Awareness Week”, encouraging those who want to find out what support is available in their local area to visit their council’s website or contact their local council office for more information. 

 The DWP outlines the Housing Support Fund scheme as follows: 

“Get help with the cost of living from your local council  

You may be able to get help with essential costs from your local council. This is sometimes known as ‘the Household Support Fund’. This could help if you’re struggling to afford things like: 

  • energy and water bills 
  • food 
  • essential items 

 Your council may also offer food vouchers to families during the school holidays. 

 Who the Household Support Fund is for 

Funding is aimed at anyone who’s vulnerable or cannot pay for essentials. You do not have to be getting benefits to get help from your local council. 

 If you get benefits, they will not be affected if you get a payment from a Household Support Fund scheme. 

 Find out about schemes in your area 

Councils decide how to run their schemes. There may be differences in: 

  • eligibility criteria 
  • if or how you need to apply 
  • who money is given to 

For example, some councils share out money through local charities and community groups and some limit household applications to one per year. 

Check with your local council to find out what support is available. 

 Other help you can get 

You can also: 

check if you’re eligible for a cost of living payment 

check what benefits and financial support you can get 

get council tax support if you’re on a low income or get certain benefits 

get a discretionary housing payment if you’re struggling with your rent.” 

[See also our DR UK Cost of Living Help factsheet] 

In addition, DWP Household Support Fund Guidance issued to local authorities says that: 

“Disabled people in particular may be facing acute challenges due to the disproportionate impact that rising costs bring for the additional services they need in order to manage their conditions, remain independent and avoid becoming socially isolated. 

 For example, some disabled people may have increased utility bills due to the usage of equipment, aids or adaptations associated with their disability. They may also have additional heating, water or transport costs.  

 Authorities are therefore strongly encouraged to explore ways in which this group may be supported and must record the total value of awards granted to disabled people in their Management Information (MI) returns for this grant.” 

 DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said:  

Extra funding to help those struggling in the cost of living crisis is welcome. 

However, the Housing Support Fund is not the best way to provide it as: 

  • the support available through HSF is provided on a discretionary basis to those facing emergency situations
  • it is a post code lottery dependent on each local authorities priorities
  • it does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge facing Disabled people in the cost-of-living crisis 

 By having a fund that people need to apply for emergency grants to meet the cost of basics like food and heating shows that our social security system is inadequate and needs extra funding and reform.” 

See also our related news story A third of disabled people are struggling financially.