The Social Fund is intended to help you with living costs that aren't covered by your weekly benefit payments.
The Social Fund was separated into the Regulated Social Fund and the Discretionary Social Fund. As of April 1 2013, the Discretionary Social Fund was abolished, and ways to access to a number of non-repayable grants and some repayable loans were changed.
A national system for applying for the following benefits has continued:
- Funeral Expenses Payment
- Sure Start Maternity Grant
- Cold Weather Payment, and
- Winter Fuel Payment
As these payments are set down in law, you have an entitlement to claim them and to appeal to an independent tribunal if you dispute the Department for Work & Pensions' decision.
Discretionary Social Fund changes
Community Care Grants
Community Care Grants ceased as of April 1 2013. They have been replaced by a localised service delivered by local authorities.
For more information on Community Care Grants visit GOV.UK.
Budgeting Loans are available to help people pay for essential things such as rent, furniture, clothes or hire-purchase debts. You can apply for a Budgeting Loan if you’ve been on a qualifying benefit for at least 26 weeks and have expenses you’ve been unable to budget or plan for. This is an interest-free loan that you need to repay.
Read more about Budgeting Loans.
As of April 1 2013, Crisis Loans will no longer be available from the government's Social Fund (via Jobcentre Plus), but there will be an alternative from your local authority.
For more information on Crisis Loans visit GOV.UK.