Millions spot special payments of up to £550 when checking bank accounts

Close up of hand taking out money as UK pound notes in cash from wallet
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/Collection Mix: Subjects RF)

Millions of people are beginning to notice special payments in their bank accounts to help them cope with household bills. The cash is being paid out as part of the Household Support Fund (HSF) run by local councils, providing a boost to those feeling the financial strain.

People who believe they are suffering "financial hardship" can apply to their council for support. Many are making cash payments to families and individuals most in need - potentially up to £550 depending where you live.

The HSF is now open for the latest phase of funding which will last through the summer, making payments to help the worst off manage with the cost of living. Some of those who have already applied will have noticed the money landing in their bank accounts.

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Councils have encouraged those who believe they might be eligible to get their applications in quickly as the money could run out before the fund closes in September, particularly in places like the West Midlands where demand for support is likely to be high.

While money is issued by the Government, it is down to local authorities to decide how best to spend it. Some are providing other forms of support like food vouchers and council tax discounts.

People should check their local council's Household Support Fund page online for full details of what is available where they live and how to apply. In most cases, applicants will be expected to provide proof that they are struggling to get by and they may also have to show they are receiving some form of means-tested benefits.

The HSF was extended to the end of summer by the Government at the Budget earlier this year in recognition of the fact millions are still struggling with the cost of living. It's unclear if the HSF or a similar scheme will be renewed beyond September, particularly as it's possible a new Labour Government could be in charge by then.