Author Topic: Help from the Social Fund  (Read 2256 times)

KizzyKazaer

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Help from the Social Fund
« on: February 10, 2012, 06:12:08 PM »
Crisis Loans – who can apply

You can apply for a Crisis Loan if you:

- are aged 16 or over
- don't have enough money to meet your (or your family's) immediate short term needs in an emergency or as the result of a
  disaster
- think there will be serious damage or risk to your (or your family's) health or safety without the loan

A Crisis Loan can help cover the following short term needs:

 - meeting daily living expenses
 - rent in advance
 - board/lodging charges
 - residential charges for a hostel
 - pre-paid meter fuel debt
 - travel expenses if you are stranded away from home

A Crisis Loan can also help if either of the following applies:

 - you have suffered a disaster like a fire or flood that has caused a lot of damage and you need help to meet other expenses
   like replacing household items and clothing
 - you have been awarded a Community Care Grant and you're moving out of institutional or residential accommodation           
   and don't have enough money to pay advance rent to a non-local authority landlord

How much do you get?

There is no set amount for a Crisis Loan. The amount you may be able to borrow will depend on:

 - your individual circumstances
 - any savings you have
 - whether or not you have any outstanding loans from the Social Fund

How Crisis Loans are paid

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account. This is the safest, most convenient and efficient method of payment.

How do you repay it?

If you qualify for a Crisis Loan you'll need to agree how you are going to pay it back.

An adviser at the Jobcentre Plus office will talk to you and agree a repayment plan with you that you can afford. If you're on benefit, the loan is normally repaid out of your normal benefit payments.

You don't have to pay interest on a Crisis Loan, which means you only repay the amount you borrowed.

A Crisis Loan does not count as income and will not affect other benefits you are getting.

How to apply

Contact Jobcentre Plus on the number below if you need to apply for a Crisis Loan to cover:

    living expenses
    urgent rent in advance

Telephone: 0800 032 7952

If you have speech or hearing difficulties you can use the textphone number: 0800 032 7958.

Lines are open Monday to Friday, from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm. Lines are normally less busy before 9.00 am.

Jobcentre Plus will then send you an application form to complete and send back to them.

Download a Crisis Loan application form

Clickable links to these forms are available here:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/On_a_low_income/DG_10018856


How to appeal

If you're unhappy with a Crisis Loan decision you have the right to ask for a review. To do this you must write to Jobcentre Plus within 28 days of the decision. You will need to explain why you think the decision was wrong and ask for it to be reviewed.

If you're still unhappy with the outcome, you can ask for a further review by a Social Fund Inspector. The review process is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 12 days.

See the Social Fund Independent Review Services website for contact details:

http://www.irs-review.org.uk/contact/contact.htm
   

« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 02:02:22 PM by SunshineMeadows »

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Help from the Social Fund
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2012, 09:21:11 AM »
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/On_a_low_income/DG_10018905

Budgeting Loans

Who is eligible?

You may be able to get a Budgeting Loan if you or your partner have been claiming or getting payment of one of the following benefits for at least 26 weeks:

- Income Support
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Pension Credit

and you need help to pay for any of the following:

- furniture or household equipment
- clothing or footwear
- advance rent or removal expenses for a new home
- travelling expenses
- things to help you look for or start work
- improving, maintaining or securing your home
- repaying hire purchase or other debts you took out to pay for any of the above

How much do you get?

The smallest amount that can be borrowed for a single Budgeting Loan is £100. The most Jobcentre Plus can pay you for any one time will depend upon whether you are:  single, a couple, or single/couple with children.

Also taken into consideration is if you: already owe money to the Social Fund;  are able to pay the loan back; have any savings over £1000 (or £2000 if you or your partner are over 60)
 
The total amount of all Social Fund debt that can be borrowed by way of a Crisis Loan or Budgeting Loan cannot be more than £1500.

How it's paid

Jobcentre Plus will normally pay your loan into an account.  It can be paid into the following types of account:

- a basic bank account
- a current account
- a Post Office® card account
- a building society account
- a credit union account

How do you repay it?

Your repayments, which are worked out at the time your loan is agreed, are usually automatically taken out of your benefit. If you're not getting benefits, another method will be agreed.

You normally have to repay a Budgeting Loan within 104 weeks.

The repayments are interest-free which means you only pay back what you borrowed and no more.

A Budgeting Loan award does not count as income and will not affect other benefit you're getting.

How to apply

You can contact Jobcentre Plus, or your pension centre and ask them to send you claim form SF500.
   
To download a form to print off and complete, see the link at the top of this post.

If you're unhappy with the decision on your application

If you're unhappy with a Budgeting Loan decision, you have the right to ask for a review. You must write to Jobcentre Plus within 28 days of the decision. You need to explain why you think the decision was wrong and ask for it to be reviewed. 

If, after that review, you still think the decision was wrong, you can ask for a further review by a Social Fund Inspector. The Inspectors are independent from the Department for Work and Pensions. The review process is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 12 days.

You can download the leaflet and claim form, 'How to ask for an independent review' from the Independent Review Service website - see link in above post 'Crisis Loans'.

   

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Help from the Social Fund
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 09:43:47 AM »
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/Caringforsomeone/DG_10018921

Community Care Grants

These are not loans, you do not have to pay them back

Who is eligible?

You can apply for a Community Care Grant if you are either:

- already getting Income Support, income-related ESA, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credit
- likely to start getting one of these benefits within the next six weeks because you're moving out of care

and any one of the following applies:

- you're moving out of residential or institutional care to live independently
- you're moving to a new home which will be more suitable for you following an unsettled period in your life and are being
  resettled by an organisation like a local council or voluntary organisation
- you need help to stay in your home and not go into residential care or hospital
- you need help because you and your family face exceptional pressure, such as family breakdown or because one of you has
  a long-term illness
- you look after someone who is ill or disabled, or has been released from custody on temporary licence
- you need help with expenses such as visiting someone who is ill, or to attend a relative's funeral

How much do you get?

The amount you might get depends on your circumstances.

The amount of Community Care Grant you may get is reduced if you have savings of:

- over £500 where you and your partner are aged under 60
- over £1,000 where you and/or your partner are aged over 60

How Community Care Grants are paid

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account. This is the safest, most convenient and efficient method of payment.
   
A Community Care Grant doesn't count as income and won't affect other benefits you may be getting.

What it can't be awarded for

You won't get a Community Care Grant for:

- any need which occurs outside the United Kingdom
- educational or training expenses
- a distinctive school uniform, sports clothes or equipment
- travelling expenses to and from school
- school meals
- expenses in connection with court or legal proceedings
- removal charges expenses or storage charges, where the local authority can help with these
- domestic help or respite care
- repairs to local authority or housing association homes
- medical, surgical, optical, aural or dental items or services
- debts to government departments, including tax arrears
- investments
- Council Tax
- most other housing costs
- fuel costs, except in certain circumstances
- expenses of less than £30, except for travelling or daily living expenses
- work related expenses
- cost of buying, renting or installing telephones and call charges
- daily living expenses such as food and groceries (except if for caring for a prisoner or young offender on release on
  temporary licence)

You can't usually get a Community Care Grant if you have already asked for the same items or services in the last 28 days.

How to apply

Contact JobcentrePlus (see link below to find your local office) or download a Community Care Grant claim form - see link at the top of this post.

http://los.direct.gov.uk/default.aspx?type=1&lang=en

This application form can also be used if you are applying for a Crisis Loan for items and services in the event of a disaster.

The application form comes with notes to help you fill it in. The form will also tell you where to send it when it is completed. This form does not apply to Northern Ireland.

When to apply

You should usually apply straight away.

If you're still in residential or institutional care, you can apply up to six weeks before you are due to leave.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 09:45:45 AM by KizzyKazaer »

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Help from the Social Fund
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 09:50:34 AM »
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/moneytaxandbenefits/benefitstaxcreditsandothersupport/inretirement/dg_10018668

Cold Weather Payments

What are Cold Weather Payments?

You don't need to apply - if you can get a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid it automatically

Cold Weather Payments help people, who get certain income-related benefits, with their increased heating costs caused by periods of very cold weather during winter.

A period of very cold weather is when the temperature is either:

    recorded as an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days in a row
    forecast to be an average zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days in a row

How the Cold Weather Payments scheme works

The Cold Weather Payments scheme runs every winter from 1 November and 31 March.

A network of weather stations gathers temperature information. This is used to see whether there has been a ‘period of very cold weather’ in any postcode area.

When there is a period of very cold weather in your postcode area, a Cold Weather Payment is made to eligible people who live there.

When there hasn’t been a period of very cold weather in your postcode area, a Cold Weather Payment will not be paid.

People who live near to each other but in different postcode areas might get Cold Weather payments at different times.

How to find out if Cold Weather Payments have been made in your postcode area

You can find out if a Cold Weather Payment has been made in your postcode area by using the Postcode Search.

http://pensions-service.direct.gov.uk/en/cold-weather-payment/home.asp