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Benefits

Scottish welfare fund

The new scheme called Scottish Welfare Fund to administer community care grants and crisis grants for special circumstances.

1.1 What is the Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund is a service provided by councils from 1 April 2013.

It replaced the discretionary Social Fund provided by the Department for Works and Pensions.

The Scottish Welfare Fund will offer 2 grants.

  • Crisis Grants can help pay for the things someone needs to prevent harm to their or their family's health or safety because of a disaster or emergency such as fire or flood, losing money, your normal benefit payments are delayed or have stopped, or being sanctioned by the DWP. Applications can be made for living expenses and essential items such as food, heating costs, nappies, toiletries, and emergency travel such as visiting a sick child in hospital. A decision on a Crisis Grant will be made no later than the end of the next working day
  • Community Care Grants  can be made for basic essential items such as furniture, household goods, travel costs, white goods, removal expenses, storage charges, connection charges for gas and electricity. A decision on a Community Care Grant will be made within 15 working days. Community Care Grants can help people in the following circumstances:
    • You are coming out of care or long term hospital.
    • You have been homeless.
    • You have just been released from prison.
    • It can also help families and individuals facing exceptional pressure.

If you receive a grant for living expenses you will likely receive a prepaid card. If you receive a grant for essential items you will either receive a prepaid card or the items will be provided to you. Cash grants will only be issued for travelling expenses.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is limited to the amount of money that is available to councils every year, therefore awards may be restricted.

Applications are made to the Council by phoning 0141 577 3475. Staff will discuss your application by phone only.

1.2 Who can apply?

Applicants should be aged 16 or over, resident in East Renfrewshire and normally entitled to one of the following benefits listed below, or payment on account of one of these benefits in order to be eligible for a Scottish Welfare Fund payment, but it is not essential.  The key test of eligibility for a Crisis Grant is the severity of the applicant's situation and the likely impact on them and their family. The key test of eligibility for a Community Care Grant is retaining or establishing a settled way of life in the community.'

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Savings Pension Credit
  • Guaranteed Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Families or individuals on a low income

1.3 How can I apply?

Applications can be made over the telephone, or in person using self-service facilities or downloaded from the Council's website. Please note that the busiest time to contact us is between 11am to 3pm and especially during lunch time so you may wish to contact us at an alternative time to avoid waiting.

Crisis Grants and Community Care Grant Application Line:

  • 0141 577 3475 - Monday to Thursday 8.45am-4.30pm, Friday 8.45am-3.30pm

1.4 Reviews

What happens if an application is turned down?

If you are unhappy with our decision, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called a review.

First Tier Reviews must be made in writing within 20 working days of our original decision and should include -

  • The reason for your request.
  • The reference number and date of the original decision being questioned.
  • Details of any change in circumstances since your original application.
  • The signature of the applicant or written consent from the applicant if the review is made on the applicant's behalf.

The time limit of 20 working days can be extended if you can show you had good reasons for not asking for a review within the lime limit allowed.

First Tier Reviews will be dealt with no later than the end of the 2nd working day after that on which the request was received for Crisis Grants and no later than the end of the 15th working day after that on which the request was received for Community Care Grants.

The review will be dealt with by a different decision maker, not involved in the original decision. The outcome of your review will be communicated in writing or by telephone.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the First Tier Review, you can ask for an Independent Review by the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO).The SPSO are not part of the Council and the service is free and impartial. You should ask the SPSO for an independent review within one month of receiving our decision. If you prefer, they will send you a form in the post, or you can print it off their website or complete it online.

How to contact the SPSO:

  • By phone on 0800 014 7299 Calls to this number are free even from mobiles.
  • Write to this address: FREEPOST SPSO (you don't need to use a stamp).
  • SPSO website

The SPSO can give you information in other languages or formats (such as large print, SMS, audio or braille). In some cases the SPSO may be able to meet you in person.

1.5   Other help

Other Social Fund benefits, such as Sure Start Maternity Grants, Funeral Payments, Cold Weather Payments, and Winter Fuel Payments continue to be dealt with by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP). They will still be paying benefits like Jobseekers Allowance, and Income Support.

The Department for Work and Pensions will continue to offer support to people waiting for their first payment of benefit and who, in the absence of any other financial support, need an advance of that benefit to tide them over until the benefit is in payment. DWP will also continue to provide Budgeting Loans for those on income related benefits and Budgeting Advances for those on Universal Credit. Please be aware that there are entitlement conditions and criteria for these funds.


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