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Crisis and Community Care Grants

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides two types of grants that you don't need to pay back.

Crisis Grants

Aimed at helping people in crisis because of either:

  • a disaster (like fire or flood)
  • an emergency (like needing to travel to visit a sick child)

Community Care Grant

Aimed at helping people who:

  • may have to go into care unless they get some support to enable them to stay at home
  • are leaving any form of care (hospital, care home, prison) and need help to set up their own home

This can also help households facing notable pressure with one-off items. For example, household appliances.

Who can apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund?

You must be over 16 years old and generally get one of the following benefits to be eligible:

  • Income Support
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

You may still be able to get help if you are not getting one of these benefits and are on a low income.

When can't I apply for a grant?

You wouldn't be eligible if you:

  • have already received three Crisis Grants. The limit of grants you can receive in a 12 month period is three. Further awards given within this period will only be for special circumstances. These are at the discretion of the council
  • have already applied for the same item within the last 28 days. This is unless there has been a relevant change of circumstances
  • have access to savings or capital of any amount for Crisis Grants. This is over a certain limit for Community Care Grants
  • are subject to immigration control

This list is not exhaustive. You must also meet certain qualifying conditions for applications to be considered.

Will I get a grant if I apply?

The council has a limited amount of money available from the fund. The decision to award a grant, and how much it will be, is determined on a case-by-case basis.

If we receive a lot of applications, only the highest priority cases will receive support, for example, people who:

  • are vulnerable
  • have immediate need
  • would face significant adverse consequences if the item or payment is not provided

Applying for a grant

You must apply to the council where you live or intend to live. For example, if you are leaving hospital, prison or residential care.

If you live in North Ayrshire, you can check eligibility and:

Apply for the Scottish Welfare Fund

Or, you can apply by telephoning 01294 310001.

You can also track the progress of your application online. You'll need the tracking reference number (given to you at the time of application).

How will grants be paid?

Crisis Grants awards are through the PayPoint Cash Out system. PayPoint allows credit top ups on prepaid gas and electricity cards. This is where you have requested help with fuel costs.

Find local PayPoint retailers.

Community Care Grant award the supply, delivery and installation of furniture, white goods and other household items. You must not buy items, or pay for anything, before you hear about the outcome of your application. You will not be reimbursed if you have already paid for things you have asked for help with.

What happens if I am refused a grant or don't qualify?

You can ask for a review of the decision. This must be done within 20 days of receiving the decision about your Scottish Welfare Fund application. If you can show good reasons for not applying within this limit, this may be extended.

A first tier review is carried out by a different decision maker from the Scottish Welfare Fund Team. You will receive the decision about the first tier review in writing.

If you are unhappy with our decision after the first tier review, you have the right to ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review. The SPSO are not part of the council.

You should ask the SPSO for an independent review within one month of receiving our decision about the first tier review. In some circumstances you may be able to ask for a review after this. You should contact the SPSO for advice.

Contact the SPSO

  • SPSO website
  • Freephone: 0800 014 7299
  • write to: FREEPOST SPSO (no stamp required)

Alternatives to the Scottish Welfare Fund

We will work with you to identify any other support you may need or be entitled to and refer you to relevant services to help tackle underlying problems.

Report Scottish Welfare Fund fraud

We encourage anyone who has information regarding suspected fraud against the council to report it to the Corporate Fraud Team

What about the Social Fund?

Social Security Scotland manages parts of the Social Fund, such as:

  • Sure Start Maternity Grants 
  • Funeral Payments 
  • Cold Weather Payments 
  • Winter Fuel Payments 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) used to deal with the above. They still manage Budgeting Loans/Budgeting Advances.

The DWP offers 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. These payments are called Short Term Benefit Advances.