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Welfare grant scheme

Changes in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 mean that certain elements of the Discretionary Social Fund scheme have been replaced by locally based provision delivered by local authorities.

From 1 April 2013 crisis loans and community care grants were replaced by the welfare grant scheme. These changes mean that you can no longer apply for certain parts of the social fund.

Before you apply to the scheme

We work with welfare advice providers in the area to ensure that various forms of advice are offered. Please see: Information relating to the advice services that are available.

You may be entitled to other types of support, such as a Hardship Payment (if you have been sanctioned), a Short Term Benefit Advance (if you are awaiting your first payment of Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance) a Universal Credit Advance (if you are awaiting your first payment of Universal Credit) or a Budgeting Loan. If you are eligible for such support then you will need to apply for it before you can make an application for a Welfare Grant, as you can only apply for a Welfare Grant if you are unsuccessful in obtaining such other form of assistance.

You may alternatively be eligible for assistance from other schemes / charities. The Welfare Grant Scheme is only available to those who have already tried and exhausted other avenues of assistance.

If you think you may not be receiving all the benefits you are entitled to you may find it helpful to review your entitlement to benefits.

Who can apply?

You may be able to get some help if you are

  • in a crisis
  • in an emergency
  • in receipt of certain benefits or
  • on a very low income


  • live in South Gloucestershire or
  • are looking for a home in South Gloucestershire

What is covered?

The Welfare Grant Scheme does not provide cash or loans, but it can help with basic essentials. For example

  • food for you and other members of your household
  • essential items such as nappies and formula for your baby
  • help with gas and electricity where you pay for these by topping up a prepayment meter
  • essential items of furniture such as beds
  • white goods (maximum of one per application)*
  • basic equipment for cooking and eating

You and your household may only make

  • one application during a 12 month period for an award of food, gas / electricity, baby formula and / or nappies


  • one application during a 24 month period for any other award not listed above

If you have a history of repeat applications then we will refer you to other agencies for advice or support.

What is not covered?

We are not able to assist with costs where these can be met by other government support or state benefits such as the Universal Credit Advance or the Short Term Benefit Advance. We are not able to help with the following costs

  • flooring, curtains and redecoration
  • transport costs or motor vehicle expenses
  • installation of a telephone, telephone line or mobile phone costs
  • housing costs or costs associated with moving home
  • TV licence or television / satellite cost or repair
  • costs associated with the provision of care
  • specialist beds or other specialist equipment

Please note that funds are limited and so you should only apply for those items that are essential to you.

Information relating to assistance with travel.

If you are successful with your application for food then you will be awarded supermarket vouchers. If you are successful with your application for gas and electricity then you will be awarded a prepaid card with which you can top up your meters.

If you are successful with your application for goods then you will be awarded reconditioned or new items that will be delivered to your home by our suppliers.


How do I apply to the Welfare Grant Scheme?

You can apply over the phone.

You can make an application over the telephone by contacting the Welfare Grant Team between 8:45am and 2pm Monday-Friday, on 01454 868899.

Please note that when you make an application for a Welfare Grant you will need to have the following information to hand

  • your address or your new address if you are about to move
  • National Insurance Number
  • names and birth dates of any children or other members of your household
  • income details for yourself and other members of your household to whom the application relates
  • information relating to your household expenses/out-goings
  • details of the items that you wish to apply for
  • information relating to your crisis situation / why you need help under scheme

Please provide as much information as possible in your application regarding your situation to enable us to make a fair decision.

Alternatively you can check if you are eligible and apply online.

When using the online application form, you will be prompted to allow pop-ups; please agree to this to allow the application form to display and submit correctly. Please note that this form may not work on all tablets and Android devices.

What happens next?

We will aim to process your application within the following timescales:

  • applications for food, gas / electricity, baby formula and nappies will be processed within 2 working days
  • applications for essential goods will be processed within 5 working days

If your application is successful you will receive a call from us to confirm your award and what you need to do to collect it.

If your application is unsuccessful you will receive a letter in the post advising you of the reasons for the refusal. If you do not have an address then we will contact you by phone to advise you of this.

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