Financial support for households

The government has provided funding for us to support households to manage the cost of the living crisis, and who would otherwise struggle to meet the cost of food, essential items and other household bills.

Our borough is a place that fosters and grows ambition, enabling everyone to be the best they can be. As we look to making Barnsley the place of possibilities, it’s important that we make sure everyone in Barnsley has the right care and support that they need. Read the statement from Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, about supporting people through the Household Support Grant.

You can find out about the types of financial support available and how to apply for them below.

Support for food and essential household items

If you receive council tax support you can apply for up to £200 in vouchers through the Household Support Grant to buy groceries and/or essential household items.

You can apply for grocery vouchers to use in either Aldi, Asda, Morrisons or Tesco, and vouchers for Argos, Currys or Halfords for essential household items.

Applications can only be made by the person whose name appears on your council tax bill, and you can only make one application per household. If your application's successful you'll receive your vouchers usually within 10 working days. These will be sent from Voucherline. If you've told us your email address the vouchers will be emailed to you.

Please note: if you're experiencing immediate food poverty, help is available from Barnsley Foodbank.

Before you apply

  • You must already receive council tax support and be the claimant named on your council tax bill to be eligible to apply for the Household Support Grant.

    Please note: council tax support is not the same as a single person or other discount from your council tax bill. Please check your council tax bill if you're unsure if you receive council tax support before you apply for the Household Support Grant.

  • You must ensure all the information you provide in your application is correct; if you don't provide accurate information your application will be declined.

  • To minimise the risk of fraudulent grant claims we'll undertake checks when you apply to verify your claim is valid and to detect fraud. If you provide false or inaccurate information we'll record this. We and other fraud prevention agencies may use and search these records to prevent and detect fraud.

  • Your details will be shared with a third party for us to be able to fulfil your voucher application.

  • All awards for the Household Support Grant are discretionary, and your application may be unsuccessful if we receive it after our total grant funding has been used.

You can apply for the Household Support Grant using our online form below. If you're unable to apply online you can call (01226) 772799 to apply by phone between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday.

The closing date for applications is 31 March 2022, however we reserve the right to withdraw the grant earlier subject to funding availability.

Help to pay your rent

Our discretionary housing payment (DHP) scheme provides for a top-up of rent for a temporary period to help people facing a crisis and to enable them to stay in their homes. To be eligible you must already receive housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, and this must not already cover the full cost of your rent.

You must demonstrate that your weekly income is less than your weekly essential expenditure. An award is normally for six months.

Help if you're in rent arrears

If you're not eligible for a discretionary housing payment and are in arrears with your rent, you may be eligible for support from our discretionary housing fund.

Please email adviceservices@barnsley.gov.uk or call (01226) 773870 for more information and if you want to apply.

Help to pay your council tax

Council tax support

If you’re on a low income you may be able to claim council tax support to help you pay your council tax bill. Council tax support reduces your council tax bill in the same way other discounts (like single person discount) reduce your bill.

Council tax discretionary relief 

If you've been awarded council tax support and you're still finding it difficult to pay your council tax bill you can apply for additional discretionary relief.

Any further relief will only be awarded if it's considered you're suffering extreme financial hardship. You'll need to provide three months of bank statements to confirm the amounts you provide on the form.

Find out more in our council tax discretionary relief policy.

Help with energy bills/arrears and heating your home

Help with energy bills/arrears

You may be eligible for support through our discretionary Household Support Grant if you need help to pay your energy bills or are in arrears with your energy supplier. You can apply for:

  • a fuel voucher (this is a payment of £140 for electricity or gas, to help you meet the cost of fuel over the winter period)
  • help with energy arrears

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for a fuel voucher or help with energy arrears you must either:

How to apply

You can apply for support by filling in our online form below. In the form you'll need to upload:

  • a copy of your most recent utility bill(s) showing your name, address, account number and balance/amount of arrears
  • if you have a pre-payment meter:
    • a photo of your pre-payment top-up card (if you're applying for a fuel voucher)
    • photos of the credit and debit screens of your meter (if you're applying for help with arrears)
  • copies of the three most recent bank statements or wage slips for everyone in your household aged 18 or over if your household income is less than £30,000 per year and you don't currently receive council tax support

If you're unable to apply online you can apply by phone by calling us on (01226) 787915.

Grants towards gas central heating, boiler replacement, insulation and energy saving measures

We're currently offering free gas central heating systems to homeowners, and grants towards the cost of gas central heating to private landlords, whose homes don't currently have this. If you do have an existing gas boiler but this breaks, or you don't have heating or hot water, we may also be able to help you through our affordable warmth programme if you're on a low income and own or privately rent your home.

We've also secured funding from the government to offer insulation and energy saving measures to low income residents.

Food vouchers if you're pregnant or have a child under four

If you’re pregnant or have a child under four you could be entitled to Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods at local shops. Pregnant women and children over one and under four can get one £3.10 voucher per week. Children under one can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.

The vouchers can be spent on:

  • plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT
  • fresh, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables, including loose, pre-packed, whole, sliced, chopped or mixed fruit or vegetables, fruit in fruit juice, or fruit or vegetables in water (but not those to which fat, salt, sugar or flavouring have been added)
  • fresh, dried and tinned pulses, including but not limited to lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas (but not those to which fat, salt, sugar or flavouring have been added)
  • infant formula milk that says it can be used from birth and is based on cow’s milk

Women and children getting Healthy Start food vouchers also get vitamin coupons to swap for free Healthy Start vitamins. Healthy Start vitamins are specifically designed for pregnant and breastfeeding women and growing children. Your midwife or health visitor will be able to tell you where you can swap your coupon for vitamins in your area.

Read the eligibility criteria and apply for a Healthy Start voucher online.

COVID-19 Test and Trace support payment

If you've been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self isolate, you could be entitled to a payment of £500 (depending on your circumstances) to support you if you're unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.

Find out about the Test and Trace support payment and apply.

Support with benefits and budget management 

Visit Citizens Advice Barnsley (CAB), Age UK Barnsley or DIAL for more information about budget management, how to access benefits and debt advice. CAB are also available for phone support on 03444 111 444.

Our area councils will also be offering support with financial hardship. Contact your local area team to find out more.

Further help and support

Visit our webpage about how to get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for a list of other available support, including employment support, digital support and specialist help services.