When facing a crisis, the council in Norfolk can provide assistance for paying living expenses as part of welfare. When of the common requests is for fuel bills, and this is available in a crisis. The Local Assistance Scheme is also used for providing other household goods, such as food or furniture. Funds from the government have been issued in order to help eligible individuals on a low income with an emergency they may be facing. An aim is to help ensure the vulnerable have food and some type of heat on during the winter months.
The funds are limited and any assistance provided is at the discretion of the council. There will not be a cheque issued, but instead any participants will be issued a pre-paid card for paying their bills due to their supplier. There will also be priority given to certain individuals, such as the disabled, as noted below.
When applying for help, the applicant needs to meet all criteria. Applications are only accepted at most once per year. The Local Assistance Scheme will give priority to the following, including people over the age of 16, families with children, individuals on a government benefit, women who are fleeing violence, and people with a mental or physical disability. The applicant will need to show the willingness to address their crisis.
Applications can be made online, at the council, or an approved partner. Proof of income and assets will be needed, as well as residency, such as from council tax records. Any assistance is provided at the discretion of the council and no person is guaranteed to get help. To find out more, call 0344 800 8025.
The Norfolk Council will review each application on a case by case basis. If funding is provided and the person is eligible for a grant, then the council will determine the amount to provide them for their electricity or other bills. Many individuals will not be eligible, and they will be referred to other charity schemes or government benefits.
Use of LAS in Norfolk
Grants may be provided for different expenses in a crisis, however the aim will be to help keep a home or flat warm during the winter. In rare cases there may be help for food, rent arrears or other housing costs. The pre-paid cards / grants can be used for the following.
- Emergency food is covered. Families with an urgent need may want to contact a food bank though, as the council will take time to review the application for the Local Assistance Scheme.
- The schemes will help with utility bills. The aim is to provide help from October to March, and a card can be used to pay for electricity bills or any arrears on an account.
- Water arrears may be paid as well from this welfare scheme, which is not offered by many councils. Customers should also call their fuel or supplier though to work out a payment plan, or find other resources to get help with water bills.
- Signposting may be provided to approved partners of the council if the Norfolk Local Assistance Scheme can’t assist. There are many not-for-profit organisations in Norfolk that can help.
The grants, which do not need to be repaid, will be provided in the form of pre-paid cards. Cash will very rarely be paid out by the council. Fuel suppliers will use them for paying an arrears on an account. Some applicants may be provided a voucher for food or maybe other household items. Call the council for more information on the LAS scheme.