I’ve heard the Scottish Welfare Fund is distributing grants to people in need. How do I find out if I am eligible and how to apply?

I’ve heard the Scottish Welfare Fund is distributing grants to people in need. How do I find out if I am eligible and how to apply?

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a safety net for people on low incomes.

Awards are made by individual local authorities and are discretionary. They are aimed to support people in need or in emergency situations.

What should the grants be used for?

There are two types of grants in the Scottish Welfare Fund: Crisis Grants and Community Grants.

Crisis Grants aim to help people on a low income who are in a crisis because of an emergency or a disaster. This grant should be used to help prevent serious damage or risk to health or safety for them or their families.

You normally can’t get more than 3 Crisis Grants in any 12-month period, unless you can show that it wasn’t your fault that you require additional support. If you receive a Crisis Grant, you are not required to pay this money back.

Community Grants aim to help people establish or maintain a settled home. Examples of what this grant can be used for would be to buy furniture, household equipment, travel costs, storage charges, or removal expenses.

Who is eligible to apply?

Support is available to people leaving care or who may need to go into care, leaving imprisonment, have been homeless or living an unsettled way of life.

You will not receive a Community Care Grant if you have applied for the same item or service within the previous 28 days unless your circumstances have changed.

If you receive a benefit such as Income Support, Pension Credit, Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance (or your income is about the same as someone who is), it’s more likely you’ll have your application approved.

You cannot apply for either grant if you have the resources of your own which you could use to help alleviate the situation.

How do I apply?

You can apply for these grants online, by post, email, or phone.

Most councils will tell you the outcome of your application within 2 working days for Crisis Grants and 15 working days for a Community Grant.

When applying you should provide as much information as you can about how the grant will help you. Your local council will check some of the information you provide, such as the benefits you receive.

The budget allocations for local authorities aim to ensure that money goes to the areas where more people experience poverty. Each council has a set budget and therefore not all applications may be granted, however any money not used by a local authority during the financial year is rolled forward to their budget for the following year.

Can I appeal if my application is refused?

If your local council refuses your application, or you’re given less than you applied for, you can ask the council to look again at the decision.  You need to make this request within 20 working days of the local council telling you about the decision.

If you’re unhappy with the outcome of this review, you can apply to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review. You’ll usually need to do this within one month of receiving the decision from the local council about your first review. 

Advice Direct Scotland run moneyadvice.scot, and can assist you in completing your application or answer any questions you may have. You can contact the team on 0808 196 2316, Monday-Friday, 9am–5pm.

You can access free, impartial advice on any topic from advice.scot by contacting 0808 800 9060 or by visiting www.advice.scot. Advice is available to everyone in Scotland, at no cost, regardless of personal circumstance.