The Scottish Welfare Fund is there to help you if you are on benefits, have a low income or are having problems in paying a one-off expense. Grants do not need to be paid back to the Council, but are intended to meet one-off needs rather than on-going expenses.
There are two types of grants:
Crisis Grants - can be awarded to provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency situation where there is an immediate threat to health or safety. This means that a Crisis Grant could help you if you have an emergency such as losing all your money, or you need to visit a sick child in hospital, or you are stranded in an area. A Crisis Grant can also help if you are involved in a disaster such as a fire, flood or explosion.
Community Care Grants -
can be awarded to enable qualifying individuals to establish or maintain a settled home. Community Care Grants are also intended to help families or individuals who are facing exceptional pressure. This means that a Community Care Grant could help you if you are setting up in the community after a period of being in care, or you are at risk of going in to care because you don’t have the things you need to continue living at home. Community Care Grants can also help you get the items you need to set up home if you have been homeless, or are fleeing violence. This type of Grant can also help people to meet expenses if they are caring for people who are on temporary release from prison or a young offenders’ institution.
Who can apply for Crisis and Community Care Grants?
Grants are available to anyone aged 16 or over who lives or intends to live in East Dunbartonshire. Applicants should normally have a low income, for example be in receipt of a benefit such as Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit.
However, applicants DO NOT have to be in receipt of a benefit to receive a grant. Anyone who has a low income, or does not have access to their money, can apply. More information is given in the Grants information below.
If you do not have a low income but the Council is satisfied that you have no other means of support and that the grant would help to avoid serious damage or risk to your health or the health of your family, then the Council may allow an award depending on your circumstances.
However, Crisis Grants are not available if you can access other resources to tide you over the crisis. Other resources include things like savings, help from family or friends, or money or loans issued by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The number of awards that an individual can receive in any 12 month rolling period will normally be limited to a total of three from any area(s) in Scotland. Any further awards within this period will be at the discretion of the Council and will only be given in exceptional circumstances.
Community Care Grants
If you do not have a low income but the Council is satisfied that you have no other means to achieve a settled way of life, then the Council may allow an award depending on your circumstances.
If you are likely to receive a benefit or have a low income on leaving an institution or residential accommodation in which you have received care, then the Council may allow an award depending on your circumstances.
Community Care Grants are not available to you if you:
- are resident in a care home (unless there are plans for discharge within eight weeks)
- are a hospital in-patient ( unless there are plans for discharge within eight weeks)
- are lawfully detained (unless there are plans for release within eight weeks, or a release on temporary release)
- are a member of a religious order and are being fully maintained by the order
- or your partner have savings of over £700 if you are below pension age, or £1200 if you are above pension age
How does the application process work?
You will normally be expected to apply for a grant to the Council. If you are from outwith East Dunbartonshire, the Council can refer you on to your own council. In some circumstances, the Council may consider applications from people outwith the area if it judges that it is necessary at that time. Prisoners and young offenders should apply to the council responsible for the place that they will live in upon release.
Both types of grant application will be processed as soon as possible:
- Crisis Grants will be dealt with within two working days
- Community Care Grants will be dealt with within 15 working days
All applicants must receive a letter to advise them of the decision made on their application but may be contacted by phone or email initially, or if they do not have an address for the Council to write to.
Applicants can contact the Council’s Scottish Welfare Fund Team to be notified of the outcome. This can be by phone through Customer Services or by email.
How do I apply for a grant?
You can apply for a Crisis Grant or Community Care Grant using the following methods:
- Contacting the Scottish Welfare Fund Team through Customer Services on 0300 1234510
- Ask the Customer Services Team to help you fill in your application.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau can also help you apply on the phone or fill in a paper application
- By completing the application form and sending it by email or posting it to:
Scottish Welfare Fund Team
East Dunbartonshire Council
William Patrick Library
2/4 West High Street
How will grants be paid?
If your application is successful then you may be awarded a form of cash or goods as appropriate to your circumstances.
It is important to remember that grants will only be paid if there is enough money left in the Scottish Welfare Fund budget. There is a limited amount of money available. The decision to award and how much is awarded will be determined by the Council and is based on Scottish Government guidance.
Can decisions be reviewed?
If you are unhappy with the decision you can request a review. The review process is split in to two stages.
The first stage is a First Tier Review which is decided by the Council. If you would like to request a First Tier Review, you must ask the Scottish Welfare Fund Team for a review within 4 weeks (20 working days) of the date of your original decision letter.
Your request should be in writing or by email and should give:
- The date and reference number from your letter.
- The reasons why you do not think the right decision was made on the application. For example, this might be because:
- You do not agree that you are not eligible for the Scottish Welfare Fund, or
- You do not agree that you do not qualify for a Grant, or
- You do not agree with the priority level given to your circumstances, or refused items, or
- You do not agree with the award, or award amount, that has been made, or
- You do not think we took all the relevant information in to account, or
- You think that there has been an error or failure in the decision making process.
- Information which you did not give us when you filled in your application but which you think might make a difference to our decision. Please phone us to find out more about this if you are not sure.
- Information on any changes to your circumstances since the application which might make a difference to our decision.
- Your signature if you make your review request in writing. If you send it by email then it must be sent from an email address that is recognisable as your own. If someone is making a review request for you, you must sign the letter or confirm that the email has been sent on your behalf to give your agreement for the Review to proceed.
Arrangements will be made for your case to be reviewed by a senior member of the Scottish Welfare Fund Team who was not involved in the original decision. The outcome of your review will be communicated in writing or by telephone:
Crisis Grant First Tier Reviews will be dealt with within 2 working days.
Community Care Grant First Tier Reviews will be dealt with within 15 working days.
If you are still not happy once you receive the decision on your First Tier Review, you can request a Second Tier Review.
Second Tier Review
If you are unhappy with the Council’s First Tier Review decision, you have the right to ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent Second Tier Review. The SPSO are not part of the Council and are a free service.
You should ask the SPSO for an independent review within one month of receiving a First Tier decision from the Scottish Welfare Fund Team. In some circumstances you may be able to ask for a review after a month, contact the SPSO for more advice.
You can ask the SPSO for an independent review over the phone or in writing. If you prefer, they will send you a form in the post, or you can print it off their website or fill it in online.
How to contact the SPSO:
- By phone on 0800 014 7299. Calls are free to this number, even from mobiles.
- Write to this address: FREEPOST SPSO. You don’t need to use a stamp.
- Website: www.spso.org.uk/scottishwelfarefund
The SPSO can give you information in other languages or formats (such as large print, SMS, audio or Braille). In some cases, the SPSO may be able to meet you in person.
If you ask the SPSO for a review then they aim to give you their decision within the following time limits:
- For Crisis Grants, one working day from when they get all the information they need to make a decision.
- For Community Care Grants, 21 working days from when they get all the information they need to make a decision.