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Scottish Welfare Fund


What is it?

The Scottish Welfare Fund is a discretionary scheme that provides two types of grant: Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants. 
These grants do not need to be paid back.

If you need to apply for both, you must make separate applications for each type of grant.

Crisis grant

A Crisis Grant aims to help people who are in crisis because of either

  • a disaster (like fire or flood)
  • an emergency situation such as losing all your money or having it stolen or where someone has no food

Community care grant

A Community Care Grant aims to help people who

  • may have to go into care unless they get some support to enable them to stay at home.
  • are leaving any form of care such as a hospital, prison or care home and require help to set up their own home

A Community Care Grant can also help households facing exceptional pressure with one-off items (like a cooker or a washing machine).

What about the Social Fund?

Some aspects of the Social Fund still remain with the DWP including:

  • Cold Weather Payments
  • Winter Fuel Payments
  • Budgeting Loans/Budgeting Advances

The DWP also offer support to people waiting for their first payment of benefit and who, in the absence of any other financial support, need an advance of that benefit to tide them over until the benefit is in payment. These payments are called Short Term Benefit Advances. Information about all of these are available from DWP

Some Social Fund payments have moved to Social Security Scotland. Information is available from the Scotland Social Security website

  • Best Start Grant - previously Sure Start Maternity Grants
  • Funeral Support Payment - previously Funeral Payments.

Who can apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund?

You must be over 16 and on a low income to be eligible to apply.

Are there circumstances when I will not be able to apply for a grant?

There are a range of circumstance in which you would not be eligible for a grant, including:

  • if you have already received three Crisis Grants. The number of Crisis Grants that you can receive from all the Scottish Councils in any twelve month rolling period will normally be limited to three. Any further awards within this period will be at the discretion of the Council and will only be given in exceptional circumstances
  • if you have already applied for the same item within the last 28 days (unless there has been a relevant change of circumstances)
  • if you have access to savings or capital of any amount (for Crisis Grants) or over a certain limit (for Community Care Grants)
  • if you are subject to immigration control

This list is not exhaustive, you must also satisfy certain qualifying conditions before a grant can be considered.

Will I get a grant if I apply for one?

The Council only has a limited amount of money available from the Fund so the decision to award a grant and how much to pay will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Grants are only available to people who do not have alternative means of paying for what they need.

If we receive a lot of applications, only the highest priority cases will receive support. Examples of high priority need are:

  • people who are vulnerable due to old age, ill health or for some other reason
  • people who have immediate need
  • people who will face significant adverse consequences if the item or payment is not provided

How will grants be paid?

Crisis Grants awards will be made via the PayPoint Cash Out system. This system will allow for prepaid gas and electricity cards to be topped up with credit where you have requested assistance with fuel costs.

Community Care Grant awards will be made by the supply, delivery and installation of furniture, white goods and other household items. It is important to note that you must not buy items or pay for anything before you hear about the outcome of your Community Care Grant application. You will not be re-imbursed if you have already paid for things you asked for help with.

How do I apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund?

You must apply to the council where you live or intend to live (if you are leaving hospital, prison or residential care).

If you need to apply for both a Crisis Grant and a Community Care Grant, you must make separate applications for each type of grant. 

If you live in South Ayrshire, you can check eligibility and apply:

  • Online (you will need to allow pop-ups in your browser). If applying for a community care grant item priority rating from 1 May 2022 is "high".
  • If you are not able to apply online phone 0300 123 0900 to ask for advice from the Scottish Welfare Fund team.
  • By phoning 0300 123 0900 to apply for a Crisis Grant. Your application will be registered and passed to a decision maker. You will then be contacted to discuss your application.

Please note we can only accept telephone enquiries about existing applications between the hours of 10.00am to 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

What happens if I am refused a grant or if I do not qualify?

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your Scottish Welfare Fund application you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called a first-tier review. You must make your request in writing (it can be emailed using a recognisable email address), this must be made within 20 working days (or 4 weeks) of the decision being made and should include:

  • The date and reference number from your decision letter
  • The reasons why you do not think the right decision was made on the application. For example, this might be because you do not think we took all the relevant information into account, because you do not agree with the award that has been made or because you don't agree that you are not eligible for the Scottish Welfare Fund.
  • Information which you did not give us when you made your application but which you think might make a difference to our decision. Please phone us to find out more about this if you are not sure.
  • Information on any changes to your circumstances since the application which might make a difference to our decision.
  • If someone is making a review request for you, you must provide supporting evidence that gives your agreement for them to act for you and for the review to proceed.

A first-tier review is carried out by a different decision maker from the Scottish Welfare Fund Team.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the first-tier review, you have the right to ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review. This is a second-tier review.  You should contact the SPSO within one month of the first-tier review decision.

The SPSO are not part of the council and their service is free.

How to contact the SPSO:

More information and frequently asked questions

Further information is available on the Scottish Government website.

This website also provides a BSL Translation video to assist with enquiries.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more from your local Council or from the Scottish Government's website at:

The guidance for decision makers on the Scottish Welfare Fund is available at: