I'm a money expert – here's how to get over £3,000 NOW while you wait for cost of living help | The Sun

EMERGENCY cost of living cash is soon being dished out to UK households – but here’s how to get more than £3,000 worth of help NOW while you wait.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently unveiled a £15billion package of support last month to help the nation pay for spiralling bills, but many households need help sooner.

Rishi announced helping including a £400 energy bill rebate to be handed out from October and a £650 payment to those on means-tested benefits to be given from July.

Many older households will also get a £300 one-off "pensioner cost of living payment" in either November or December.

But you could be waiting up to months for your cash while these schemes are put in place – if you need help now, there is more available, according to Resolver consumer expert Martyn James.

Applying to the Household Support Fund, checking if you are eligible for help with rent, and getting an energy bill grant are just some of the schemes that could get you thousands in free cash.

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Martyn is one of our experts on The Sun’s Squeeze Team panel, here to help guide and advise you through the cost of living crisis.

If you’re worried about making ends meet, are struggling to pay off your debts or don’t know how best to manage your cash, get in touch by emailing [email protected].

Household Support Fund – up to £300

The government’s Household Support Fund provides help to vulnerable households through supermarket and fuel vouchers, or one-off cash payments.

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The financial assistance is dished out via local councils, so how much you can get and whether you're eligible will depend on where you live.

The scheme was originally a £500million pot, but it has since been boosted to a whopping £1.5billion as the cost of living crisis has worsened.

The Sun has spotted that you can get as much as £300 to help with the cost of energy bills, food and more in some areas

Martyn said: "It is a bit of a postcode lottery as each council sets the rules on how the payments are distributed. But if you are struggling then give it a go."

To find out what support is on offer in your area, contact your local council, which you can find using the gov.uk checker tool, or visit its website.

Discretionary Housing Payments – £965

Hard-up tenants can get help with rent by applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

Local councils have DHP schemes –  it's a little-know pot of money you may be able to access if you are on benefits.

If you're claiming Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit and struggling with rent costs, you could be eligible.

“The fund can help you if you’ve got a shortfall in your payments, you are moving and need a deposit or rent you need to pay upfront before moving in,” Martyn said.

A Sun investigation found that the average DHP given to struggling households is £965.

The Sun contacted 30 of the largest councils in the country and found that payments ranged from as little as 54p in Wigan to £32,000 in Brent.

Each local authority dishes out DHP cash to those in need on a case-by-case basis, and the amounts available can vary.

Those in the most difficulty are likely to get a higher amount but the payments available also depend on how much cash the council has to give out and how many people have applied.

Energy bill grant – £750

Energy suppliers offer cash grants to those hardest hit by bills rises.

For instance British Gas is giving out up to £750 through its hardship fund – and you don't even have to be a customer.

But the amount can vary according to your supplier and your circumstances.

It's not just Universal Credit claimants who can get the help, but if you're on the benefit and have a low income you could qualify.

Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:

  • Bulb energy fund
  • EDF's energy customer support fund
  • E.on's energy fund
  • Npower's energy fund
  • Ovo's debt and energy assistance
  • Scottish Power's hardship fund

“Explain you can’t afford the bills and ask what help is available,” Martyn said.

“You will be asked to give information about your finances – make sure you answer all the questions – and the business should come up with some realistic plans to give you a bit of breathing space or help reduce the bills.”

Welfare assistance help – up to £1,000

Many local authorities run welfare assistance schemes, which are available to people on a low income who have run into financial difficulties – or who have had to deal with a crisis.

Martyn said it's worth finding out what's on offer in your area: "There may be a number of schemes through your council that can help with everything from food and furniture to discretionary payments."

For example, you can get supermarket vouchers to spend at supermarkets including Morrisons and Aldi, cash grants, and money to pay for furniture like sofas and beds in some cases.

But The Sun can reveal that families are facing a postcode lottery when it comes to what help they can get.

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As each council runs its own scheme – and decides what help to dish out – some families can claim more than others.

We found that while you could get up to £1,000 in some areas, some councils don’t even have a scheme that families can apply to at all.

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