THOUSANDS of struggling households could get £100 free cash in time for Christmas.
The extra money boost before the most expensive time of the year could prove to be a massive help, especially as the cost of living comes down hard on many.
A number of councils are offering out money to support those struggling around this time of year.
It's all part of a wider scheme the government has introduced to fund councils and help those who need it most, called the housing support fund.
Those living in the city of Manchester for example can get up to £100, and there's very little they have to do to claim it.
In the area, the council is giving eligible households with dependent children a one-off cash grant of £100, and those without children could get £70 too.
If you live in the city and already get council tax support, you're automatically in line for the cash.
It means residents don't have to make new claims or apply online, though you can check eligibility on the council's website.
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The households that fit the criteria will receive a cheque in the post by December 17.
That leaves plenty of time for the money to be spent in any last attempts at present or food buying before the big day itself, or paying off any of the last bills of the year.
But Manchester council isn't the only authority giving a helping hand to hard-up Brits.
Other councils like Spelthorne Borough Council for example are offering their ownmoney boosts – you could get up to £80 if you live in this area.
And it's not only cash up for grabs either.
Thousands of families struggling to afford heating their homes this festive season could be eligible to get up to £120 in vouchers towards their energy bills too.
It means they can get an extra boost in time for Christmas when the electric bill and the cost of heating the house typically rockets anyway.
That's not even taking into account how much energy bills have soared in recent months, making this winter even harder for most.
Families who still find themselves struggling for cash after that, could get up to £140 in supermarket vouchers as well.
Both the vouchers for heating and eating are on top of the £100 you could be eligible for too, so it means you can focus the extra money on elements of your household bills that need it most.
But across all the schemes, the money you could claim will vary depending on where you live.
It's up to your local council to allocate the money from the Housing support fund accordingly – it means a postcode lottery though, as some councils are offering more help than others, while some don't have any schemes in place.
Though, where it is running, cash-strapped households can apply for help across the board under what is a £500million scheme.
If you don't live in Manchester specifically for this cash grant, you will need to find out from your local council what support they are offering under the household support fund.
To find your local council, visit the gov.uk's website and use it's authority finder tool.
You'll find there's more to the funds than just a cash pay-out too, in some cases households can claim free school meals as soon as term breaks up over Christmas, and through the February half term early next year too.
It's worth £15 per pupil per week in Manchester, but paid to the school rather than you directly.
There's extra money allocated for wider charitable food services and advice centres too over the winter period when many will be looking to use the help.
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