On this page
- What is the Scottish welfare fund
- Who can get a Scottish welfare fund payment
- What you get
- Applying for a Scottish welfare fund payment
- More information
The Scottish welfare fund provides crisis grants for living expenses in the event of an emergency or disaster, and community care grants to enable and support independent living.
Crisis grants are for short-term living expenses if there is an emergency, or living expenses and items if there is a disaster. They provide a safety net when there is an immediate threat to health or safety. To get a crisis grant you must be on a low income or be unable to access your money.
Community care grants are paid to support independent living. You could get a grant:
- if you or your family is under exceptional pressure
- to help you or someone you care for get established in the community after a period in care or prison
- to help you or someone you care for stay in the community rather than going into care
- if you've been homeless or had an unsettled way of life and will have support to sustain a tenancy
- if you're looking after a prisoner or a young offender who is on temporary release
To get a community care grant you must be on a low income or be unable to to access your money. See the next paragraph.
To qualify for a grant from the Scottish welfare fund, you must be on a low income or be unable to get access to your money – for example, because you are fleeing domestic abuse.
The law and guidance say that you don't need to be getting benefits or tax credits to qualify for a grant. However, if you are on one of the following benefits it is accepted that you have a low income:
- universal credit;
- income support;
- income-based jobseeker's allowance;
- income-related employment and support allowance or
- pension credit.
Crisis grants help pay for essentials like food or heating.
Community care grants can cover the full cost of the item you need. In the case of a community care grant paid for people looking after a prisoner on home leave, it can cover living expenses.
You can be paid cash or be given the items you need. Your local authority can also make payments using pre-paid cards or vouchers.
You apply for a crisis grant or community care grant from your local authority. Find out how to apply to your local council on mygov.scot.
Normally you cannot get more than 3 crisis grants in a 12 month period, but exceptions can be made. If you're a member of a couple, you can both get at least 3 crisis grants in a 12 month period.
The local authority doesn't have to look at an application for something you already applied for within the last 28 days. It doesn't matter whether the application was successful or not. However, if your circumstances have changed since you last applied, the local authority should consider your application
You can't get a grant for certain excluded items or expenses.
If you disagree with a Scottish welfare fund decision, you can ask the local authority to review it. Apply within 20 working days of the decision. If you apply later than this, explain why you didn't apply earlier.
If you're not happy with the outcome of the review, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
If you're unhappy with the way your application was handled rather than with the decision itself, you can complain to the local authority. If you're still unhappy after this, you can complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
Learn more about the Scottish welfare fund in our free eLearning course.
Read the Scottish welfare fund regulations on legislation.gov.uk.