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Crisis and Community Care Grants

The Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a safety net for vulnerable people on low incomes through the provision of Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants.  The Scottish Welfare Fund is a national scheme, underpinned by law and delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by all local councils.  The Scottish Welfare Fund replaces elements of the Social Fund abolished by the Department for Work and Pensions in 2013.

Community Care Grants made under the scheme aim to help vulnerable people set up home, or continue to live independently within their community, specifically:

  • helping families under exceptional pressure
  • helping people following a period of care or homelessness
  • helping people continue to live independently where there’s a risk of care or homelessness
  • helping people meet additional costs associated with looking after someone on temporary release from prison or a young offenders’ institution


Crisis Grants made under the scheme aim to help people facing a disaster or emergency.

  • A disaster might mean a fire or a flood
  • An emergency, for example, running out of food, might be caused by a sudden loss of income
     

You may be eligible to receive a grant if you are aged 16 or over and on a low income.
 

Crisis Grants

What’s a crisis grant?

Crisis grants can help keep you and your family safe from harm in a one-off crisis.

You might be able to apply for a crisis grant if you’ve had an emergency, for example your money has been stolen or you have lost it, or if you’ve suffered from a disaster like a serious fire or flood causing substantial damage.

The grants are paid by Fife Council as part of the Government's Scottish Welfare Fund.

Who can apply for a crisis grant?

Anyone who’s suffered an emergency or disaster and is struggling with the expense can apply. It can help pay for the things someone needs to prevent harm to them or their family's health or safety because of an emergency or disaster. Applications can be made for living expenses and essential items such as food, heating costs, nappies, toiletries and temporary accommodation costs.

The grants are designed to help people who are on a low income, so you can apply even if you don’t claim benefits. We give you a grant and not a loan, so you don't need to pay it back.

How often can you apply?

You can normally only get 3 crisis grants in a 12 month period.

If you claimed a benefit from The Department for Working and Pensions or at your Job Centre and you are waiting for your first payment, you should contact them first for a Short Term Benefit Advance.

If you have applied before for the same goods/services, you can only apply again after 28 days of your application, unless there has been a relevant change in your circumstances.

If you have already claimed a crisis grant please allow 1 working day for us to process your application and call you back.

What can be awarded?

Crisis grants are awarded on a priority basis.

We grant the highest priority items to vulnerable people who have an immediate and severe need, or who will face significant adverse consequences if help is not provided urgently.

If you do qualify for a grant, it will be provided in one of three ways: 

  • A chip and pin card loaded with a predetermined amount to pay for large awards
  • Goods, such as brand new items of furniture delivered and installed direct from the contractor to you 
  • A voucher that can be redeemed for money or energy top up for prepayment meters (PayPoint Store Locator)

Community Care grants

What are community care grants?

Community care grants provide support to help you live independently in the community.

It could also help if you:

  • are about to leave care to live on your own in the community
  • face going into care because you don’t have the support you need to continue living at home
  • are a family facing exceptional pressures and need an essential items for your home.


Community care grants are provided by Fife Council as part of the Scottish Government's Scottish Welfare Fund.

We are currently working on Community Care Grant award applications with the following date, for transparency and fairness we work STRICTLY to a date and time of application received - will NOT take any requests to move specific cases up the queue. 

10th August 2016

We are currently awarding HIGH priority items only.


Who can apply for a community care grant?

Anyone who is struggling to live independently can apply.  They can help people with the things they need to live independently in the community rather than having to live or stay in care. Applications can be made for essential items such as furniture and household equipment. If furniture or appliances are awarded, brand new products are supplied and installed/fitted by our qualified contractor.

The grants are designed to help people who are on a low income, so you can apply even if you don’t claim benefits. We give you a grant and not a loan, so you don't need to pay it back.

How often can you apply?

If you have applied before for the same goods/services, you can only apply again after 28 days of your application, unless there has been a relevant change in your circumstances.

If you have already claimed a community care grant please allow up to 15 working days for us to process your application and we will call you back as soon as possible within this timescale. During very busy periods this can be anything up to 20 working days.

Already tried to apply and need us to call you back?

If you have already tried to make a Community Care Grant application online and you need us to call you back. Complete your details and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


What can be awarded?

Community care grants are awarded on a priority basis.

We grant the highest priority items to vulnerable people who have an immediate and severe need, or who will face significant adverse consequences if help is not provided urgently.

If you do qualify for a grant, the support you receive will depend on your circumstances. Community Care Grants could be provided as:

 

  • Goods, such as brand new items of furniture delivered and installed direct from the contractor to the customer
  • A chip and pin card loaded with a predetermined amount to pay for services such as removal costs


There is no cash alternative. 

How do I apply for an Award?

To be eligible to apply for a Crisis Grant or Community Care Grant through the SWF, you must be aged 16 or over, and be on a low income.

  • Community Care Grants are only accepted online - Apply online - if you are experiencing difficulties with filling out the application please contact us using the online under the "Community Care Grants" section and we can discuss this with you (link to external site, opens in a new window - make sure your browser popup settings allow this)
  • Crisis Grants - Call us on 0300 555 0265 Monday to Friday: 11.00am to 4.30pm. Calls to 0300 cost no more than the national rate. If you phone we can call you back so you don’t get charged unnecessary telephone costs

 

Once you’ve applied, Fife Council will contact you within 1 working days if you have applied for a Crisis Grant or up to 15 working days if you have applied for a Community Care Grant. During very busy periods this can be anything up to 25 working days.

Already made an application and need to tell us of changes?

If you have already made an application and need to tell us of any changes. Complete your details and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

What happens if I am refused a grant?

If you have applied already for a SWF grant and are unhappy with the outcome, you can ask us to look at the decision again.

You can find more information on our review process here.

Where else can I get support?

Fife council, other agencies and local charities are on hand to help and give you advice on anything from budgeting, getting back onto learning, employment, travel costs to energy advice and keeping safe.

There are items for which an award from the Scottish Welfare Fund cannot be made:


If the item(s) you need is on the fund excluded list, you can see what other alternative support can be provided

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my personal circumstances be checked by the welfare team? Yes

  • We have the required access to DWP data to check information provided by applicants.
  • We will work with applicants to identify any other support they may need or be entitled to and refer them to relevant services to help tackle underlying problems.  This may include money advice, debt advice, welfare rights, social work or any other relevant services. 
  • We are working with DWP to achieve continuity with other welfare provision.
  • Eligibility checks will be done to find out whether the applicant is eligible for a grant.  These include identity and residence checks, a check against a savings threshold and the limit for repeat applications.
  • We will check that the applicant’s personal circumstances meet the conditions set out for the grants.
  • We will check the applicant’s needs are of sufficient priority to warrant a payment from limited funds by assessing them as high, medium or low priority.
  • We will check there is sufficient money available in the budget to pay a grant. 


Do you have to be in receipt of a benefit to apply for a Scottish Welfare Fund grant?

  • You do not need to be in receipt of a benefit to apply for a grant.  You may be eligible to receive a grant if you are aged 16 or over and on a low income.
     

Do you need to have children to get a Scottish Welfare Fund grant?

  • No - the Scottish Welfare Fund aims to provide a safety net to a wide range of vulnerable people with low income, not just those with children.
     

Can I apply if I am subject to a benefit sanction?

  • Yes – being subject to a sanction or disallowance does not affect your eligibility.
     

I have made a new application to the DWP (Department for Work and Pension), but I need help now – what should I do?

  • Before contacting your local council you should seek assistance from the DWP.  In some circumstances the DWP may be able to provide you with a Short Term Benefit Advance.
     

Do I need to apply to the DWP for a Budgeting Loan before asking for a Scottish Welfare Fund grant?

  • No – eligibility for the Scottish Welfare Fund is not dependent on whether you have asked for a Budgeting Loan.
     

I am unhappy with the outcome of my application to the Scottish Welfare Fund, can I appeal this decision?

  • Yes – if you do not agree with the decision made on your application, you can ask for this to be reviewed by a different decision maker.  To do this, you should write to your council within 20 working days requesting this.  If you are unable to do this in writing, you should contact your council to discuss alternative.  If you are still unhappy, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review.  SPSO is not part of a council.  More information about this service is available at: www.spso.org.uk/scottishwelfarefund.
     

I wish to complain about the way my application was handled by the council, how do I do this?

  • You can find information about our complaints procedure here, or by contacting the team directly.  If having been through the council’s complaints procedure you remain unhappy, you can ask SPSO to look at your complaint.  More information about this service is available at: www.spso.org.uk/complaining-spso
     

I owe my local council money; can I still apply for help from the Scottish Welfare Fund?

  • Yes – your local council will not take into account any money owed to them, for example, in relation to council tax, rent arrears or parking tickets when considering your application.  You cannot, however, pay off debt using a Scottish Welfare Fund grant.
     

Does the Scottish Welfare Fund experience depend on where you live?

  • Yes – the Scottish Welfare Fund is delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by every council in Scotland.  The Scottish Government issues statutory guidance to councils in order to promote consistency, however, councils have extensive discretion over how the scheme is delivered in their area.  By allowing councils to decide how to take applications and what to award, the scheme can be tailored to specific local needs and parameters, providing a more holistic service.
     

Do I have to agree to work with other services, like debt advice, if I apply for a Scottish Welfare Fund grant?

  • No – you don’t have to take any other help, but the council may suggest other services which could help you resolve the underlying cause of a crisis, or help strengthen your ability to live independently.
     

I have previously applied to the Scottish Welfare Fund, can I apply again?

  • Yes – every application will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.  There are, however, some rules about repeat applications to keep in mind.  For example, local authorities are not required to consider an application if a person has already applied for the same type of assistance within the last 28 days and nothing has changed.  Also, while there is no limit on the number of Community Care Grants an individual can receive in any one year, Crisis Grants are normally limited to three in a rolling 12-month period.
     

Will I be sent to a food bank if I apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund?

  • No – food banks will not be used to fulfil a grant.  If your application is unsuccessful, however, your council may consider signposting you to a local food bank to meet any immediate need.
     

Does the Scottish Government provide Scottish Welfare Fund grants?

  • No – the Scottish Welfare Fund is delivered on behalf of Scottish Government by all 32 councils.  The Scottish Government publishes guidance setting out how the scheme should be administered.  Councils have extensive discretion over how the scheme is delivered in their area.
     

If I receive a grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund, do I need to pay this back?

  • No – any grant provided by the Scottish Welfare Fund does not need to be paid back.  Loans are not given through the Scottish Welfare Fund.
     

I am about to move to a different part of Scotland, who should I apply to for help?

Scottish Government Fund Information and Performance

Still unsure if the Scottish Welfare Fund can help you?

Why not read our myth busting information sheet.

Where can I find out more information about the scheme? 

To find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund, see the page on the Scottish Government's Website at:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People/welfarereform/scottishwelfarefund

Welfare Fund performance

Scottish Welfare Fund performance stats.


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