Help for Households

Across the world, countries are facing high energy prices, inflation and cost of living pressures after the COVID-19 pandemic and Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

I am consciously aware from regular conversations with residents of Croydon South that people are worried about the months ahead.

Although, as your MP, I am unable to provide specific financial or legal advice, below is an overview of Government support packages and a wide-range of services that are available at this time.

Household Support Fund

In February, the Government awarded Croydon Council a £6,027,379 Household Support Fund (HSF) Extension Grant for the period 1 April 2023 – 31 March 2024.

The Fund will soon be open to applications and all residents who fulfil the following eligibility criteria for the fund will have their applications considered:

Application based support

·      Top-ups for pre-paid energy and water meters

·      Assistance with energy and water bills debts

·      Food vouchers

·      Essential items relating to energy or water e.g., clothing, bedding, heater, and appliances.

·      Essential items relating to food e.g., slow cooker, microwave, cooker, fridge.

·      Items related to essential transport e.g., travel ticket, bicycle and helmet.

·      Other essential household items e.g., furniture, minor adaptions, draft excluders

·      Housing support (in exceptional circumstances, excluding mortgage payment)

·      Application turnaround time is typically 1-2 weeks. However, in urgent cases it will be done within 1-3 working days.



A.   Primary criteria

·      Evidence of a low income, and

·      Evidence of a crisis or

·      Evidence of hardship or

·      Risk of escalation (including referral from statutory services), and

·      An identified need e.g., vulnerability disability, health issue, carer, children

B. Secondary criteria 

·      Priority given to first time applicants, those not eligible for other types of help.

·      Typically, one appliance only per application

·      Awards typically capped and prioritised in accordance with published guidelines.

·      Additional discretion can be applied in exceptional circumstances.

·      Support with housing costs will only be provided in exceptional circumstances.

·      It will not be awarded for ongoing housing costs or unsustainable tenancies.

·      It will not be awarded to provide mortgage support.

·      In exceptional and genuine emergencies, it can provide support for historical arrears.

How to apply

Residents can apply via the council website Household Support Fund (HSF) | Croydon Council or they can call on 0208 760 5719 and applications can be taken over the phone.

Government cost of living support package

Last year, the Government introduced a new Energy Price Guarantee which will ensure that the average British household pays no more than £2,500 per year for their energy bills for the next two years.

This will save the average household at least £1,000 per year – giving certainty on energy prices so people can get through the winter, slowing inflation and making incomes go further. As part of this Energy Price Guarantee, green levies are temporarily suspended – contributing £150 to the £1,000 yearly average saving

Beyond this, as previously announced, millions of the most vulnerable households will get £1,200 of one-off support in total this year to help with the cost of living and their energy bills, with all domestic electricity customers receiving at least £400.

Energy bill discount

£400 off energy bills for households in Great Britain from this October. This automatic, non-repayable discount was applied in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023 to help households through that winter period.

There is no need to apply for the scheme and you will not be asked for your bank details.

You can find out more information here

Cost of living payment

Households on means tested benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Tax Credits, will receive a payment of £650 this year.

This will be made automatically in two instalments, one in summer and another in the autumn, and is in addition to the £400 discount on energy bills.

You can find out more information here

Disability cost of living payment

Individuals on disability benefits will receive a one-off £150 payment in September to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport.

This is in addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment for disabled people who also receive means tested benefits.

Check if you’re eligible

Pensioner cost of living payment

In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills.

This winter, they will also receive an extra one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment.

Check if you’re eligible

Winter fuel payments

In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills.

This winter, they will also receive an extra one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment.

Check if you’re eligible

Cold weather payments

£25 extra a week if you’re getting certain benefits is available during the winter when the temperature is zero or below for more than seven days.

Check if you’re eligible

Warm home discount

This autumn nearly three million low-income households are eligible for a £150 rebate on their winter electricity bills.

Check with your energy supplier to see if you are eligible

Help to heat

You may be eligible for grants to improve the energy efficiency of your home, which could help to reduce your energy bills. Government is investing in energy efficiency schemes which are being delivered by local authorities.

Find energy grants for your home

Income support

Universal credit

If you’re on low income, out of work or cannot work you may be eligible for Universal Credit.

Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit 

If you are eligible but find it difficult to apply via the link above, Citizens Advice provides a useful a Help to Claim service for Universal Credit. For more information, please visit here.

Help with childcare

If you are a parent or guardian, you may be eligible for the following support schemes:

Child benefit

You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is:

  • under 16
  • under 20 if they stay in approved education or training

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child. It’s paid every 4 weeks and there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

Claim Child Benefit

Help with Travel and Transport

Freedom pass

If you are an older person (i.e., someone who is eligible to receive a state pension) or have a statutory disability, you are likely eligible to travel for free or get discounts on TfL transport and most National Rail services with a Freedom Pass. For more information, please visit here.