What is a community care grant?
The purpose of a community care grant is to enable people to live independently, or continue to live independently, preventing the need for institutional care. It can also assist families facing exceptional pressure.
Who can apply for a community care grant?
Community care grants can be awarded in the following situations:
- to enable qualifying individuals who are leaving care or imprisonment to establish or maintain a settled home, where without a grant there is a risk that the individual will not be able to do so
- to enable qualifying individuals to establish or maintain a settled home after being homeless, or otherwise living an unsettled way of life
- to enable qualifying individuals to maintain a settled home, where without a grant there is a risk of the individual needing to go into a care institution
- to enable qualifying individuals to maintain a settled home in a situation where that individual, or another individual in the same household, is facing exceptional pressure
- to assist a person to care for a qualifying individual who has been released from prison or a young offenders’ institution on temporary release
There is no separate criterion for awarding grants for travel expenses. Expenses for travel to a family funeral or for visits to prison or hospital do not qualify for a grant in their own right. However, if the local authority judges that a journey is essential in connection with a crisis, exceptional pressure or in support of independent living, they may make an award for travelling expenses under the criteria for Crisis and Community Care Grants. In these cases, awards should be for the standard rate public transport. Where public transport is not available or is not suitable for some reason, petrol costs or taxi costs may be awarded. Local authorities may award travel vouchers.
What about priorities?
The council has to carefully consider and prioritise each application. The priority level depends on the type of need, how urgent and severe it is; the vulnerability of the person who is applying and the consequences of refusing to help. The impact of any support provided is also taken into consideration. The priority of the need is then matched against the current priority levels which the council is able to support taking into account the monies available within the fund. The Council decides the priority level supported on a monthly basis.
How to apply for a Community Care Grant
The application form will direct you to specific questions dependent on the information you give so please think carefully before you complete your answers. If at any point you click on the save and exit button, you will be provided with a reference number and password so that you can return to the application and complete it at a later time (the password is valid for 30 days). Your application will not be sent to the Scottish Welfare Fund team until you have reached the final page and have clicked on the submit application button.
You may also ask your Support Worker to apply online on your behalf.
Telephone Application (Monday to Friday, 9.00 a.m. to 12noon)
Phone 01546 605512 and chose option 1 to make an application with the council’s Scottish Welfare Fund team. The lines are open between 9.00 a.m. and 12 noon, Monday to Friday. Please make sure you call within these times. A member of the team will talk you through the application process and will complete the electronic application form for you. This can take 20 to 30 minutes. This is not a free-phone number but you can request that they call you back.
You can ask for a paper application form at any local council Servicepoint. Once you have completed and returned it, a member of staff will forward your application to the Scottish Welfare Fund team.
Information and evidence
When you make an application to the Scottish Welfare Fund it is important that you provide as much information as you can about your situation as this will help us to make a quicker decision. Please state why you need this help and how receiving this help will alleviate the situation you or your family are currently experiencing. Please let us know what items or living expenses you need.
We will require proof of your identity and your circumstances in order to process your application. It is also important that you provide your contact details, particularly a telephone contact number, as we will use this to get in touch with you about your application. For this we will check the information held on our records and we may contact other organisations in connection with your circumstances. We will contact you directly if we need any more information.
If you are receiving help from a Support Worker in the Social Services, National Health Service or a Money Advice or Welfare Rights Officeryou could ask them to make the claim for assistance with you or at least list their contact details so we can obtain more information to back up your need for help.
How and when will I be notified?
We will contact you by phone and will also send you a letter to confirm our decision. For a community care grant application, you will be notified of our decision within 15 working days of us receiving all the supporting information we need to assess your application. It is important therefore that you provide as much information as you can when completing your application. You should also provide evidence about your situation with regard to any medical conditions, changes in your housing situation. This could be a letter of support from a Council department or an agency that helps you, or your tenancy agreement, or a letter from an NHS professional if you or a member of your family needs extra help due to medical reasons.
How will I receive the grant?
If you are awarded a community care grant you will either be paid the amount of the award via BACS directly into your bank account, or you will be issued with an Allpay card pre-loaded with the value of the award made. Allpay cards can be used at any outlet that takes Mastercard payments.
Occasionally we may agree with you that a payment can be made to your Support Worker to allow you to purchase goods under their guidance. This is called a Supervised Spend.
What happens if I don’t qualify or my application is turned down?
If you are unsuccessful and cannot get a community care grant, further advice about other ways of getting help can be found at Argyll and Bute Advice Network. This will include information about how to apply for a budgeting or alignment loan from DWP. You can alsoget more advice about benefits you might be able to claim.
If your circumstances change, you can reapply for assistance at any time.
What if I disagree with the decision?
If you do not agree with the decision we have made you can ask for us to carry out a review. To do this, please write or email us within 20 working days of being notified of the decision, stating why you disagree. We will review your application especially in light of any additional information you might have provided and let you know the outcome as soon as possible.
If, following this first review, you are still unhappy with the decision, you can request an Independent Second Tier Review. This will be carried out by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman who will make an independent review of the decision. You can contact them by phoning 0800 014 7299. More details can be found at www.spso.org.uk/scottishwelfarefund.
Other help from DWP including Advances and Social fund
Please contact the Department for Work and Pensions on 0845 600 1506 regarding the following financial help:
- Short-term Advances – an advance payment of your benefit entitlement, following a new claim, when experiencing hardship.
- Budgeting Loan/Advances – financial support with occasional expenses if you are in receipt of an income-related benefit for a period of 26 weeks or more.
DWP still administer Social Fund payments. Please call them on 0845 603 6967 if you are seeking the following help:
- Funeral payments;
- Sure Start maternity grants;
- Winter fuel payments.
More information can be found at www.gov.uk/browse/benefits