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Welfare assistance scheme

We will provide support to vulnerable residents who require help to establish or maintain a home independently in the community or require emergency assistance following an unexpected event. Assistance will be provided in the form of foodbank vouchers, fuel vouchers, furniture (new and refurbished) and electrical items to assist people in need.  

Eligibility criteria

Residency:  You should be resident within the borough of St Helens. If moving from outside the area, you should have previously had strong ties to the borough or be placed here by a recognised agency. 

Age:  Applicants must be at least 16 years of age. 

Income:  You should be on a low income and normally be in receipt of one of the following qualifying benefits: Income Support; Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance;  income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Guaranteed Pension Credit; or Universal Credit (where net earnings must not exceed the threshold eligibility for free school meals). 

Access to other funding: You should have explored and will be expected to have applied for other available sources of funding before seeking additional assistance under this scheme. 

Savings / loans: The level of savings held by the you and / or your partner and the availability of alternative finance via affordable loans will be considered as part of the assessment process. 

The council does not provide 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 or 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 that 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, 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) If you have exhausted other options and you consider that there is a serious risk to your health and safety, please complete the crisis application form or contact us on 01744 676666.

Applications for assistance for furniture and white goods should be made via the online application form.  

The Council has provided pupils who are eligible to benefit-related free school meals with vouchers during the Christmas and February 2021 half-term holidays.   The vouchers are equivalent to £15 per week for each child and were distributed via your child's school.

To support families with their energy and utility bills during this period, the Council will be shortly issuing a £100 voucher to households, with children, who are in receipt of either Housing Benefit and / or Council Tax Reduction.    You do not need to apply separately for this scheme. The voucher can be cashed at any Post Office.  You will need to provide relevant identifications.