The Scottish Welfare Fund

What is the Scottish Welfare Fund?

From 1 April 2013, changes to the Social Fund scheme mean that Crisis Loans for Living Expenses and Community Care Grants will stop. In their place will be a new scheme called the Scottish Welfare Fund. It will be delivered by local Councils and will provide two types of grant:

  • Crisis Grants
    Providing you with a safety net in the event of a disaster or emergency
  • Community Care Grants
    Helping you to leave care and live independently, or to continue living independently.

Crisis Grants

A Crisis Grant may help if you are in crisis because of a disaster like a fire or flood, or an emergency such as being robbed or burgled. It may help with costs that have arisen as a result of the disaster or emergency, to keep you and your family safe from harm. Usually you will be on benefits before you can get a Crisis Grant.

If you qualify for a Crisis Grant, the help you receive will depend on the particular difficulties you face. You may be given money or another form of support. For example, a voucher, fuel card, travel ticket or furniture.

Community Care Grants

A Community Care Grant may help if you are on benefits, and about to leave care to live on your own in the community or face going into care because you don’t have the support you need to continue living at home. A Community Care Grant may also be able to help if you are a family facing exceptional pressures and need an essential item like a cooker or washing machine but don’t have the money to buy it.

As with the Crisis Grant, if you qualify for a Community Care Grant the help you receive will depend on your circumstances. You may be given money or you may receive support another way. For example, a voucher, fuel card, travel ticket or furniture.

Excluded Items

There are items for which an award from the Scottish Welfare Fund cannot be made. These are

  • a need which occurs outside the United Kingdom
  • an educational or training need including: clothing and tools, distinctive school uniform or sports clothes for use at school, equipment to be used at school, travelling expenses to or from school, school meals taken during school holidays by children who are entitled to free school meals
  • expenses in connection with court (legal proceedings) such as legal fees, court fees, fines, costs, damages, subsistence or travelling expenses
  • removal or storage charges if the person is being re-housed following a compulsory purchase order, a redevelopment or closing order or a compulsory exchange of tenancies.
  • a television or a radio or a licence, aerial or rental costs, costs of purchasing, renting or installing a telephone (unless this is for the purpose of a personal alarm), mobile phones and any call charges
  • repair to Local Authority property or the property of social landlords who maintain property on behalf of the tenant.
  • rent in advance, which can be provided by a budgeting loan or discretionary housing payments.
  • debts, debt interest, debts to government departments or Local Authority tax, Scottish Water water and waste charges, arrears of Local Authority tax or community water charges
  • any expense which the Local Authority or other organisation has a statutory duty to meet, for example regular costs for care or housing
  • a medical, surgical, optical, aural or dental item or service (note that needs under all of these headings can be provided free of charge by the National Health Service, if  are getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), or Pension Credit). Medical expenses, treatments, items and medications.
  • domestic assistance and respite care
  • work related expenses
  • investments
  • holidays
  • ongoing needs which are, or are likely to become, a feature of expenditure.
  • travelling expenses, with the exception of one-off expenses relating directly to the qualifying criteria, for example travelling expenses to help someone move to a new home where that move is essential to their re-integration in the community.
  • maternity expenses covered by a Sure Start Maternity Grant – see regulated Social Fund.
  • any costs related to a person’s funeral – see regulated Social Fund.
  • expenses to meet the needs of people who have no recourse to public funds

Summary of the Scheme

For further information you may find the summary of the scheme helpful.


You can find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund from the guidance on the scheme.

How to apply - find details of your Council here.

                           Edinburgh online or call  0131 529 5299


                           East Lothian online  or call  01620 827827


                           Midlothian online or call  0131 270 5600


                           West Lothian online or call  01506 773440


Last Reviewed: 31/07/2013