‘ACT now’: Vulnerable people in difficulty are today urged to apply for further help to meet rising costs after the county received a £2.2million financial boost.
It comes after Dorset Council received £2,294,941 from the government’s Household Support Fund to provide short-term financial aid.
Dorset Council says this, along with other support available, to help people in the midst of the cost of living crisis.
Applications are now being received from pensioners and people of working age who receive qualifying benefits or who are in fuel poverty.
Councilor Andrew Parry, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for children, education and early care, said: ‘The Household Support Fund is there to help those who need it most.
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“There’s a simple online application form, and if you’re having trouble filling it in or you don’t use the internet, our library-based volunteer Digital Champions can help. Your local Citizens Advice office will also be able to help you.
“If you are struggling with the cost of living crisis, there is a range of support available to you, so please act now.”
The support will be via supermarket vouchers. Vouchers will be issued to residents of the Dorset Council area with savings of less than £10,000 who meet the following criteria:
Retiree benefiting from a pension credit;
Of working age and receiving a means-tested benefit*; Where
A pensioner or resident of working age who does not receive a means-tested allowance and who is in a situation of fuel poverty**.
* Means-tested benefits are Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reimbursement, Income-Related ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), Income Support, Credit working tax or child tax credit.
** Energy poverty is defined as spending 10% of household income on energy expenditure
Apply for support at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/household-support-fund
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Residents will need their most recent bank statements, proof of benefits (if applicable), energy bill (if applicable) and ID. The website also explains how to nominate a family member or friend if assistance is needed or if the applicant does not have an email address.
Alternatively, applicants can get help completing their form from a Digital Champion at their local library. To make an appointment, telephone 01305 221048 (Monday to Friday 10am to 12pm).
Local Citizens Advice Bureaux also offer assistance. Check opening times and locations at citizenadvicedorset.org.uk or call Dorset Council customer services on 01305 221000 for opening times.
Meanwhile, in line with previous school holidays, families with children who receive free school meals during school terms will receive food vouchers during the summer holidays. These are funded by the Household Support Fund and schools in Dorset will share voucher information directly with families who receive free school meals.
If you are not claiming free school meals for your child, but think you qualify, apply by completing the online form. You can also request free activities for your child during the summer holidays.
Check if your child is eligible for free school meals at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/free-school-meals
Find out what other support, including Council Tax Support, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit, is available at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/benefits
Find out where you can access food at local food banks, community fridges and social supermarkets at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/access-to-food