Scottish welfare grant fund

Councils across Scotland provide the low income and families facing a crisis with grants from the welfare fund. Any assistance provided is a the discretion of the local authorities, and resources are limited to people facing an exceptional hardship or crisis. The welfare funds are part of Community Care or Crisis grants, but each local council has some flexibility. More information on the types of bills, such as energy or transportation costs, they can help pay are below.

Individuals or families need to apply at their local council, as noted below, however the central government in Scotland has created an application for or local authorities to use. The aim was to ensure the grants from SWF are provided to the vulnerable in a consistent basis across the nation, and the central authorities will also ensure this occurs.

Funds are provided to people of all backgrounds and circumstances. The Welfare fund can help lone parents, and households that are not on benefits can also receive financial aid. It can also be combined with other help, such as charity food banks in Scotland, and applicants do not need to apply for a DWP loan before seeking help from welfare. So the government tried to make SWF as flexible as possible.

Uses of grants from welfare fund in Scotland

Emergency assistance is part of Crisis Grant. When seeking help, the council will need to perform an assessment of the applicants needs and determine the cause of the hardship. Any grants issued will priortise people facing a health or safety risk, such as maybe an illness due to lack of heat or hunger. There is also a priority given to people impacted by a disaster, such as fire.

Local authorities can decide on what is paid, and the method of payments made to the applicant. Some councils will provide cash using PayPoint or AllPay, but more likely will be pre-paid fuel cards or vouchers for food banks in Scotland. Other forms of assistance as part of Crisis Grants in Scotland may be travel warrants for an illness or white goods or furniture for people impacted by a disaster.

The other form of aid from the Scottish Fund, known as Community Care Grants, will help people live in their current home and remain independent. The terms will also be set by each local authority, and they can decide what types of housing or other costs they will pay, and all decisions are made at their discretion.

If a family is under pressure on a one-off basis and may need to leave their home or flat, Community care can provide support such as furniture or maybe fridges. Or referrals to the discretionary housing payment programme for rent arrears can be made from a council as part of welfare.

If the applicant is elderly and may need to leave during the winter due to heating bill arrears, there may be pre-paid cards for fuel costs, as this will help them remain in the community. There may be other uses of the grants in Scotland, and the council can decide on this.

Ongoing support and free advice is provided by authorities. Staff from the centres will partner with individuals and low income families and take a holistic approach to their hardship. Whether an applicant is in chronic poverty, or facing a one-off crisis, whenever possible SWF and councils will help the client.

Based on the results of the assessments, people awarded a grant from the Scottish welfare fund will be provide with free debt advice and information on how to budget or maximise income. This also includes job training, or free advice on conserving energy. Other support will be signposting to charities or information on welfare rights and benefits.

Of particular focus is on keeping people warm and their heat on during the winter, especially the vulnerable in Scotland. Local authorities can review programmes ranging from payment plans for arrears on heating bills to central government fuel schemes and other aid. Find more details on services that can provide heating bill help.

Applications and phone numbers for the fund

Each council and local authority will have their own process. Some will require face to face meetings, and other parts of the nation will allow people to apply for a grant over the phone or online. There are also different eligibility conditions in place, and in some towns person may need to be on benefits, and in other locations that is not a requirement.

Awards are given at the discretion of the council, and they also determine the payment process. Most authorities have limited cash, so the aid from Scottish welfare fund is more likely to be voucher for say fuel or food. The local office, at the phone numbers below, will have more information.

  • Aberdeen City Council and the Revenues and Benefits department. Call 08000 304 713.
  • Aberdeenshire Council can be called at 08456 080 149.
  • Angus Council processes grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund, and the phone number is 01382 536 596.
  • Argyll and Bute Council, call 01546 605 512. Referrals may be provided to free food vouchers and other support.
  • Clackmannanshire Council, 01259 450 000.
  • Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar allows people to apply both online and face to face. Telephone – 01851 822 642
  • Dumfries & Galloway families call 03033 333 007.
  • Dundee City Council, 01382 431 188.
  • East Ayrshire Council. Residents can ring 01563 576 900 for applications to welfare.
  • East Dunbartonshire Council has a dedicated Welfare Fund Team. Call 03001 234 510 for more information.
  • East Lothian Council, dial 01620 827 124.
  • East Renfrewshire Council Finance Department – 01415 773 475.
  • Edinburgh City is one of the largest providers. Telephone – 01315 295 299. Or find more details on the application process. Read Edinburgh Welfare fund.
  • Falkirk Council, telephone 01324 503 603.
  • Fife Council, dial 03005 550 265. The organisation allows crisis welfare grants to be applied to at most 3 times each year. Learn more.
  • Glasgow City Council, main phone number is 01412 761 177. This is the programme that is in highest demand in Scotland, and find more information on the Glasgow welfare scheme.
  • Highland Council welfare fund is at 08000 831 887. Pre-paid cards for utility bills are provided as well as other cash assistance.
  • Inverclyde low income families dial 01475 714 444.
  • Midlothian Council. The vulnerable can call 01312 705 600 for information on grants for bills such as heating and more.
  • Moray Council can issue vouchers and other support. Telephone 01343 563 456.
  • North Ayrshire, 01294 310 001.
  • North Lanarkshire, telephone – 03005 550 405.
  • Orkney Council. authorities run the scheme for their area. Residents can ring 01856 886 312 for a food bank vouchers and other assistance from the council.
  • Perth & Kinross, dial 01738 476 900.
  • Renfrewshire Council, main phone – 03003 000 204.
  • Scottish Borders Council, main phone 03001 001 800.
  • Shetland Council. Low income families and seniors can call 01595 744 682 for applications.
  • South Ayrshire Council provides grants as part of the welfare fund. 03001 230 900.
  • South Lanarkshire Council is run by the Housing and Relations Department. Call 03031 231 007.
  • Stirling Council, telephone – 01786 233 210.
  • West Dunbartonshire government centre can be called at 01389 737 640.
  • West Lothian Council. Call 01506 773 440.

For more information on Community Care or short term crisis grants from the SWF welfare fund, people need to call their local council at the number above. Each local area and city has their own application process, and they will determine what types of households expenses can be paid. The funds are limited and many people will not be given an award, but some type of grant will be provided to eligible low income families. Or in cases where a denial is given, there will be referrals given instead.


Michael T Arnot says:

To Jon McNamara

Scottish Welfare Fund, I have an issue with the so called Crisis Service for people on Dss Benefits!

I feel that they are often far to quick to refer people in financial crisis to Local Foodbanks! Whereever they maybe – This is wrong and wholly unacceptable !!

Foodbanks are a charitable run option that I wouldn’t even class as a service – as they are often run by Local Church Groups and organisations – i.e Charities~!!

Charities are no substitute nor should they be for application of Crisis Grant/Loan funds, which are by every way the responsibility wholly of local and national authorities, who should not divert that responsibility onwards, to such as local charities, when it is they that have been mandated to provide financial assistance to those in crisis by Law no less!!! A service they have been charged with provision!!!!

They are the ones charged with provision of a service in this instance a financial service, when someone needs money due to a crisis situation!

That in my book ( and should be in theirs ) make them accountable, for providing monetary assistance, to those who ask for it and not be referred to Foodbanks, in the first instance, if money is needed for day to day basic needs that includes money for Food!!

It is a disgrace and no doubt unlawful for any Local authority Crisis service, to make such referrals early on without first making every effort in providing that person asking financial assistance!!

Foodbanks are a secondary resort that falls outwith the provision of Crisis service Loans/Grant and Community Service grants too!!

And so it should be, the church is being used as it seems to me, to be tied into provision for something they are not under any legal obligation to provide – they do so out of charitable generosity, which is more than I can say for the Scottish Crisis/Loan Grant services whether it be in the Scottish Borders Region or elsewhere!!!

Crisis Loans/Grants are a the sole responsibility of those mandated to provide them nothing more, nothing less!! And provide them without prejudice they should be!!

Yours Sincerely
Michael T Arnot
Scottish Borders Region