The council in Nottinghamshire provides help to vulnerable families from the Welfare Assistance Fund, or NWAF. The authorities will closely control what types of expenses can be paid using a grant, and the local government will do this be issuing a pre-paid card that is loaded with money for paying only certain expenses. Some examples of the bills that can be covered include fuel costs, travel expenses or there may be furniture for people resettling in Nottinghamshire County.
This welfare fund relies on central government funding to keep it operating. With the ongoing cutbacks to the local authorities the number of people that are assisted continues to go down. So all grants are awarded at the discretion of the council and the aim is to help families that are threatened by a one-time crisis.
Assistance available from Nottinghamshire NWAF fund
First, there is aid for those people that have no other resources available to them. When applying, the council will require proof that the person applied for Short Term Advances from DWP or that they sought financial help from others as well. Whether it is a charity, friend, or family member, the government will require that all these resources were applied to before NWAF will assist.
If found to be eligible for the Welfare Assistance Fund, based on the criteria below, the council will issue an award. If the applicant has an emergency, the assistance will be provided within 3 days. If NWAF is to be used for furniture or households goods, then that will take up to 10 days for a award to be issued.
There are three forms of assistance from welfare. One is a voucher. This will be issued for needs such as travel or to pay for food or clothing. Grants, or pre-paid cards, are the second form of payment. The client will be need to use the grant at a PayPoint, and this money will be used to pay for heating bills or maybe a rent deposit in a crisis. The last form of assistance from NWAF is when the Nottinghamshire council provides the family the goods directly, and this may be for furniture, bedding, or white goods. The council will decide what form of payment to make based on an assessment that is done.
All funds issued will be in the form of a grant, so the family does not need to re-pay the money. However, the maximum amount that welfare will provide to a family in Nottinghamshire is up to £1000 each year.
If the applicant does not qualify for a grant from the Nottinghamshire NWAF fund, then linkage may be given to loan schemes. There are several options available to residents. They can apply to a credit union, national bank, or another lender. There are some organisations that even allow people to borrow money no matter their credit score, and this is how council loan schemes help pay bills of vulnerable families. The use of the money can be for many different bills, including food, eleftric, or rent.
Any grants are a last resort, as noted. This is a discretionary scheme for families on a low income in Nottinghamshire, and the council does not need to award anyone funds. That being said, some of the application criteria in place from the council is as follows.
-Welfare can only assist a family once a year.
-Applicants need to be over the age of 16.
-NWAF is only for families with a local connection, and they need to have living in Nottinghamshire County for 12 months or be fleeing domestic abuse or face another exceptional hardship.
-The applicant needs to be low income or eligible for benefits, such as Universal Credit, Income Support, or the Disability Allowance or others.
There are other eligibility criteria in place by the council, and each application is reviewed on a one-off basis for merit. The council will make a decision within 2 days if there is a crisis, otherwise it may take several business days.
The authorities will also closely control what expenses are paid from Welfare. They do this using a loaded pre-paid card or voucher. It will only be approved to pay certain types of bills, and if the participant tries to use the voucher for other expenses then the council will take action.
So if NWAF has been authorized to pay for a parcel of fresh food, and if the person tries to use it for non-approved grocery items, then the authorities will not only ban the resident from applying for Nottinghamshire Welfare Assistance Fund in the future, but they may also take legal action. Many of the cards will also come with a unique control to help monitor this.
Additional support may also be provided to families in a safety emergency, such as fire. The council wants to prevent people from needed to enter a shelter or institution. So if the Nottinghamshire resident has a healthy or safety crisis, then the council will provide every from deposit help to clothing or pre-paid fuel cards to keep them in the community. Other exceptions can be made for this as well.
The phone number to call to apply for the welfare fund, or to get information, is 0115 780 0008. The hours are Monday to Friday. Or people can drop in at the council office in Billingham for more information.