Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the government announced a hardship fund available to councils supporting individuals and families who've been directly affected by COVID-19.
You can find out about the financial support available and how to apply for it below.
Our financial hardship fund
Financial support for food, utilities and daily living costs
Our local welfare assistance (LWA) scheme is a discretionary scheme to help people suffering financial hardship due to emergency or unexpected circumstances.
Help is available by means of foodbank vouchers for the Barnsley Foodbank Partnership, gas and electricity tokens, and for household items such as a cooker or microwave, washer, fridge freezer or beds.
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 your must be entitled to housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.
You must demonstrate that your weekly income is less than your weekly essential expenditure. An award is normally for six months.
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 relief using the form below.
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.
Fuel poverty and heating your home
Better Homes Barnsley are offering gas central heating systems to eligible homeowners free of charge, or for just £750 for private landlords with eligible tenants.
To qualify you must heat your home with electric, coal or standalone gas fires and meet the eligibility criteria. You don’t have to be on benefits to qualify. Installation includes an A-rated Ideal Logic combi boiler with a two-year warranty. We could also help you get connected to the mains gas supply free of charge.
We can also help if you are on a low income and struggling to pay your utility bills or keep your home warm. Find out about how to make your home warmer and cheaper to run.
Email the warm homes team for more information about the support available or call (01226) 773366.
Healthy Start vouchers
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.
Winter grant payment for families who receive free school meals
If your child receives free school meals as you/they receive a qualifying benefit, you can apply for a winter grant payment to help with the cost of fuel and energy over winter. You can see the list of qualifying benefits on our free school meals webpage.
If you're eligible you'll receive a one-off payment of £80.
How to apply
If you applied for and received the £15 free school meals payment for the October 2020 half term holidays you don't need to apply for the winter grant payment as we already have your details and we'll make the £80 payment to you automatically.
If you did not receive the £15 free school meals payment for the October 2020 half term holidays, but your child receives free school meals as you/they receive a qualifying benefit, you will need to apply for the winter grant payment using our online form below.
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.
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.