The Social Fund is a scheme to help people who are on low income with certain one-off or occasional expenses. These additional payments are outside the range of regular benefit payments.

Regulated Payments

These payments are non-discretionary and you are legally entitled to them if you satisfy the eligibility conditions. Click on a payment for more details:

Cold Weather Payment

In periods of sustained cold weather, where your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days you may be entitled to a Cold Weather Paymen. Full details are available at the following links:

Please note, there are a number of additional government funded schemes across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which provide help with heating. For more details, follow this link.

Budgeting Loans

A Budgeting Loan is an interest-free loan for people who have been on Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), Pension Credit for at least 26 weeks.

It is intended to help spread the cost of certain essential one-off expenses over a longer period. The amount you get is decided by the decision maker at Jobcentre Plus.

You normally have to repay the loan within 104 weeks and the repayments will come from your benefits. If you stop getting benefits you will have to agree another way to repay the loan. Apart from satisfying the rules for an award from the Discretionary Social Fund you may still be refused, or offered less money, because of budgetary constraints.

Payment of budgeting loans can also be refused on the grounds that you are unable to pay the loan back.

Wherever there is a refusal to pay, or less money is offered, you should always ask for the decision to be reviewed and get independent advice.

Full details of eligibility, how to claim and what you will repay are available from GOV.UK.

Short Term Benefit Advance (STBA)

You may be entitled to a STBA if you have claimed a benefit, or an increase in the amount of a benefit you are already getting, but you haven’t yet received the first payment.

To get an advance you will need to show that you or your family are in financial hardship.

Full details of eligibility, how to claim and what you will repay are available from GOV.UK.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

If you are already receiving Housing Benefit you may be able to get additional help from the council if you are struggling to pay your rent.

Full details of DHP and how to claim are available at MAG - Discetionary Housing Payments.

Local Welfare Provision

Local Welfare Provision is a source of support for people facing a crisis or short-term unavoidable need. They are administered by local authorities in England and the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Payments from these types of funds are different from most social security benefits because they are discretionary. This means that you have no right to a payment even if you meet the qualifying conditions for one.

The help available will vary between one authority and another and you should check your local authority's website to see what their scheme provides and how to apply for help.

You can also find what is available in your area on the Coordinated Community

Financial help if you're disabled

There is a wide range of disability-related payments, grants and concessions that are available in addition to disability benefits and tax credits, These include Disabled Facilities Grants, Council Tax Disabled Band Reduction Scheme, Vehicle tax exemption/reduction and more.

Full details are available from GOV.UK.

Other Sources of Money

There may be other sources of money for which you may be eligible, such as the Family Fund.

The Family Fund is a Government fund administered independently by the Joseph Rowntree Trust to help families living in the United Kingdom and caring at home for a severely disabled or seriously ill child, under the age of 16.

Ask your Jobcentre or Pension Centre whether there are any such sources of money for which you may be eligible.

More Information

Full details of the Social Fund and all of the payments and loans can be found at the following links:

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