What is a crisis?
A Crisis Grant is a sum of money given by the Scottish Welfare Fund in a crisis. The grant is tax free and you don’t have to pay it back.
A Crisis Grant is something you need:
- in an emergency
- because of disaster
You can apply for a Crisis Grant to cover the cost of essentials like:
In addition, the help you need must be:
- not available from anywhere else, and
- the only way to stop serious damage to you or your family's health and safety
These can be paid for crisis if they are considered essential to deal with a crisis. They would normally be paid at standard public transport rates.
Who Can Apply?
The only pre-requisite is being 16 or over and being on a low income. If you are on Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Universal Credit, or Incapacity Benefit you will be considered to meet this condition. The council has discretion to include others who are not on these benefits but who are on similar low incomes. The key test of eligibility for a Crisis Grant is the severity of your situation and the likely impact on you and your family.
If you have recently made or are about to make a new claim for benefit and you are suffering from financial hardship, you can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions for a short-term advance of your benefit entitlement. This will then be recovered from your future benefit payments
If you are entitled to a short-term advance of your benefit you will not be entitled to Scottish Welfare Fund for the same reason.
Scottish Welfare Fund grants are normally a one-off payment for living expenses or items. There are restrictions on the number of times you can apply for a grant, even if the circumstances are different each time.
Unsure if the Scottish Welfare Fund can help you? Why not read The Scottish Government's myth busting information sheet.
How to apply for a Crisis 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 12.30 p.m; 1.30 p.m. to 4.45 p.m.)
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 12.30 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. to 4.45 p.m. 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 describe how 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. 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. You will be notified of our decision by the end of the following working day for a crisis grant. Please note that for applications received on a Friday we will always try to make a decision on the same day, however in some cases this may not happen until the following Monday. It is important therefore that any information requested in support of your application is provided as soon as possible.
Any applications made after 4.45 p.m. will be treated as made on the next working day.
How will I receive the grant?
If you are successful you will be given a voucher that can be used in any outlet that displays the yellow PayPoint logo. This is usually sent as SMS to your mobile telephone, but can be emailed or posted out if preferred by you.
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 crisis 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 may reapply at any time for assistance.
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 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.
Numbers to call for short-term advance payments:
- 0800 169 0140 – Income Support, ESA or JSA
- 0800 731 0297 – Carers Allowance
- 0800 731 0469 – Pension Credit or State Pension
DWP still administer Social Fund payments. Please call them on 0800 169 0140 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.