From April 2013 some elements of the Social Fund will no longer be available. This change will affect Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans which will stop at the end of March 2013. The council is working with local organisations to look at ways of providing essential emergency support to help vulnerable people on low incomes.
The Department for Work and Pensions has asked local councils to develop local support based on need. The purpose of the Social Fund is to support people in extreme financial hardship. Rather than setting up a new scheme, the council is working with local organisations to provide a range of help, including advice and support in kind like food vouchers and second hand furniture.
What is staying?
The Department for Work and Pensions will still offer interim Payments and Social Fund Crisis Loan alignment payments for all benefits but these will be called Short Term Benefit Advance (STBA) from April 2013. You will still be able to apply for Budgeting Loans but only if you have been claiming benefits for over six months.
Short Term Benefit Advances (STBA) provide an advance of your future benefit payment at the start of a benefit claim if:
- you have a change of circumstances which means a significant increase in the amount of benefit you are entitled to
- you encounter a period of financial crisis before receiving your first benefit payment of benefit.
Any advance of benefit will have to be repaid over a short time (up to 12 weeks). This will be taken back from subsequent payments of benefit.
Budgeting Loans will continue to be available to people who have been claiming the following benefits throughout the past six months:
- Income Support (IS)
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (ib-JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ir-ESA)
Budgeting Loan application forms are available from gov.uk (opens a new window)
For further information:
More information can be found on the support in a crisis page.
or call the Department for Work and Pensions on 0845 6060 234
Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm
Or visit www.gov.uk (opens a new window)