Household Support Fund (HSF)
The Government has announced a further extension of the Household Support Fund running from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024.
The Council has been given £3.3million from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide support to a wide range of low-income households who are most in need due to the rising cost of living. The scheme is closely linked to energy costs, the rising cost of food, bills and other household costs.
Support will be staggered over the coming months to help reach the Borough's most vulnerable households.
Who is eligible for support?
The new Household Support Fund, extended to 31 March 2024, is being offered in the following ways:
Support for all households in receipt of Council Tax Reduction
If you are eligible for Council Tax Reduction you will be contacted by us during the summer and the winter with a voucher, exchangeable for money, to be used to help pay energy costs. Vouchers will be worth £80 which you will be able to exchange at any PayPoint outlet.
Summer vouchers, distributed in June and July, must be exchanged up until 31 December 2023.
Winter vouchers will be distributed as follows:
- During the first two weeks in December, Paypoint vouchers will be sent to all working age households entitled to Council Tax Reduction. These vouchers must be exchanged up until 18 February.
- During the first two weeks in January, Paypoint vouchers will be distributed to all households with pensioners entitled to Council Tax Reduction. These vouchers must be exchanged up until 29 February.
During December and January you could have an enquiry about a voucher, for example you might not have received one when you think you should have. If this is the case, then please get in touch with us after the appropriate distribution period has ended as your voucher is probably on its way to you.
For enquiries please contact us by email HSF@stockton.gov.uk.
You can self-serve and view your Council Tax Reduction and Council Tax account online by visiting your online account.
Support for those who don't get Council Tax Reduction
There are discretionary payments of £300 per application available to low-income, energy paying households who do not receive Council Tax Reduction and do not benefit from Government's Cost of Living support payments.
Households can check if they are eligible for this discretionary support, to help pay their energy costs, through our online application process below:
You may be eligible for this payment if:
- you live in the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees
- your household does not get Council Tax Reduction
- no members of the household have received a Government Cost of Living Support payment any time this year
- you are liable to pay the household energy bills or prepayment meters
- your total net weekly household income does not exceed £400 for a single person, £500 for a couple, or £600 for a family
If you are unable to apply online then please contact us by telephone 01642 526070 or email HSF@stockton.gov.uk and we will arrange an alternative way for you to apply.
This application based scheme will close when funds are fully utilised.
Choose to self-serve and view your Council Tax Reduction and Council Tax account online by visiting your online account.
Support for people accessing the 'Back on Track' scheme
The funding will also be used to supplement the Council's Back on Track Scheme. This scheme provides support to vulnerable people in financial crisis.
Support for Care Leavers
People aged 18 to 25 years who have left care will receive a voucher worth £75.
Support for Local Food Hubs
Targeted support will be given to help support a local food hub initiative. The Bread and Butter Thing, operated by the Council's Fairer Stockton-on-Tees team will be offering a low cost shopping initiative.
Government Cost of Living Support available
To find out what support is available to help with the cost of living please visit the Governments Cost of Living Hub. Their website includes information about income and disability benefits, bills and allowances, childcare, housing, and travel.
Other cost of living help and support available
We want to make sure that you are aware of all the help and support available. Visit the Council's Here to Help support page to access a 'one stop shop' with all of the support services available including energy saving schemes, welfare assistance, food banks as well as health, housing and employment advice.