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Welfare assistance scheme

As part of a review of the Social Fund, the Government has abolished Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans.  Responsibility for developing a discretionary local scheme has been passed to local authorities.

Please note: The Council and the citizens advice bureau will not be providing crisis loans or cash payments under this new scheme.

Purpose:

Our scheme will operate from 1st April 2013 and will contain three elements:

  1. Provide support to vulnerable residents who require help to establish or maintain a home independently in the community. We will provide furniture, new and refurbished, and electrical items to assist people in setting up or maintaining a home.
  2. Support residents who have experienced a disaster, e.g. they are homeless due to fire or flood.
  3. Signpost applicants to other support and welfare services available when in financial need.  We will not be providing Crisis Loans or cash payments.

Qualification Criteria:

Applicants must:

  • live within the borough of St Helens;
  • be on specified benefits or low income;
  • have no other source of income or savings; and
  • be eligible to receive public funds.

Application Process:

Applications for assistance for Furniture and White Goods should be made via the on-line application form.  Please select Help in a Crisis if you are seeking support following a disaster or require assistance, where there is a serious risk to your health and safety.

Details of the Scheme, including further information on the application process and qualification criteria, can be found under Related Documents.

Services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus:

  1. Short Term Benefit Advances, for new benefit applicants or existing claims where there is a significant change of circumstance. If you have recently applied for benefit you can apply for a Short Term Benefit Advance by calling the DWP's Benefit Enquiry hotline on 0845 608 8526.
  2. Budgeting Loans, to help pay for essential items. Please visit www.gov.uk/budgeting-loans/ for further information.
  3. Hardship payments for those who have received a benefit sanction.   To claim hardship payments you will need to complete form JSA ESA10JP at your local Jobcentre Plus office.

The Council will not be providing crisis loans or cash payments, including where you have lost or spent your money.  It will, however, signpost you to other support and welfare services if you are in financial need and there is a serious risk to your health and safety.

1) Please check whether you are entitled to support provided by the Department for Work and Pensions / Jobcentre Plus:

  • Short Term Benefit Advances, if you have made a new benefit claim and are waiting for payment or have an existing claim where there is a significant change of circumstance which will increase the amount of benefit you receive, you can apply for a Short Term Benefit Advance by calling the DWP's Benefit Enquiry hotline on 0845 608 8526.
  • Budgeting Loans, are interest free loans available to help pay for essential items. Please visit www.gov.uk/budgeting-loans/ for further information.
  • Hardship payments for those who have received a benefit sanction.   To claim hardship payments you will need to complete form JSA ESA10JP at your local Jobcentre Plus office.

2) If you are seeking support following a disaster and are homeless you should contact Housing Options.

3) If you have a designated social worker / support worker then please contact them if there is a serious risk to your health and safety. You can contact the Customer Services (Social Care Team) if you require further assistance in contacting your social worker.

4) In all other situations it is unlikely that you will be provided with support.  If however you consider there is a serious risk to your health and safety, then please complete the Discretionary Welfare Scheme application form.

Other Support

If you have problems budgeting, debt or managing your finances then you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, who can arrange an appointment with you to look at your financial circumstances.

The Citizens Advice Bureau can be contacted, as follows:

  • telephone (01744) 737866 for an appointment; or
  • visit the drop-in session at 2nd Floor, Millennium Centre, Corporation Street, WA10 1HJ, between 10am and 1pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Citizens Advice Bureau will NOT be providing crisis loans or cash payments.