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Scottish Welfare Fund

This discretionary scheme provides 2 types of grant - Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants. These grants do not need to be paid 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 (eg hospital, care home, prison) and need help to set up their own home

A Community Care Grant can also help households facing exceptional pressure with one-off items (like a cooker or a washing machine).

Who can apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund?

You must be over 16 and generally get 1 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.

Apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund

You must apply to the council where you live, or intend to live (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

alternatively, 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). Please ensure you allow pop-ups in your browser.

When can't I apply for a grant?

You wouldn't be eligible if you:

  • have already received 3 Crisis Grants. The number of Crisis Grants that you can receive from all the Scottish Councils in any 12 month rolling period is limited to 3. Further awards within this period will only be given in exceptional circumstances and are at the discretion of the council
  • have already applied for the same item within the last 28 days (unless there has been a relevant change of circumstances)
  • have access to savings or capital of any amount (for Crisis Grants) or over a certain limit (for Community Care Grants)
  • are subject to immigration control

This list is not exhaustive. You must also satisfy certain qualifying conditions before a grant can 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

How will grants be paid?

Crisis Grants awards are made via the PayPoint Cash Out system. PayPoint allows for prepaid gas and electricity cards to be topped up with credit, where you have requested assistance with fuel costs.

Find local PayPoint retailers.

Community Care Grant awards will be made by 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 Community Care Grant 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 1 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?

Other aspects of the Social Fund will still be dealt with by the DWP, including:

  • Sure Start maternity grants
  • funeral payments
  • cold weather payments
  • winter fuel payments
  • 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.

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