The Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) scheme has replaced elements of the Social Fund scheme previously administered by the Government's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). From 01 April 2013 instead of applying to the DWP for a Social Fund Crisis Loan or Community Care Grant, people can now apply to their local Council for Scottish Welfare Fund grants which do not have to be paid back.
There are 2 types of grants:
These grants are to meet an urgent need that poses an immediate and substantial risk to health and safety. These grants can help provide access to essential items such as food and energy supply (electricity or gas).
Community Care Grants
These grants are to help people remain in the community or move back into the community or help ease exceptional pressure. These grants can help provide access to a wide range of basic household items.
How are awards made?
Depending on the type of grant required we may use vouchers or ask our nominated suppliers to provide items on our behalf. We will not make awards in cash.
Who can apply?
You can apply if you:
- live in the Falkirk Council area
- are legally resident in the UK
- are aged 16 and over
- are on a low income
- are on a qualifying benefit eg Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or Pensions Credit
- do not have access to your money
- do not have any access to other appropriate sources of financial support
- are subject to a sanction or disallowance by the DWP and have had your benefit reduced
as a result as you may be considered for a Crisis Grant until you can arrange a
Who can't apply?
- Anyone who does not live in the Falkirk Council area
- Anyone who lives in a care home, is in hospital or prison without a discharge date
in the next 8 weeks
Are there exceptions?
Because the Scottish Welfare Fund is a discretionary scheme, Assessment Officers will consider all applications to take account of individuals circumstances to ensure there is no substantial risk to health and safety.
What happens if I do not qualify for a grant or my application is refused?
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your application, you cannot appeal but you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called a First Tier Review. You need to apply for a review within 20 days of the decision. This time limit can be extended if it is accepted that you have good reasons for not applying on time.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of 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. However in some circumstances you may be able to ask for a review after this. You should contact the SPSO for advice on this.
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.