Welfare in the borough of Sefton is provided from the Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme, or ELAS. This council run programme was created to help families on a low income make it through a crisis. It can also assist people local to Sefton that are on an Income Support Benefit.
The scheme can help with household living expenses as well as basic needs. There is assistance for people under a financial hardship or that are recovering from a disaster, such as a fire. Anyone applying to ELAS does need to be on a low income though. Or the family could be living in poverty.
Vouchers from Assistance Scheme
This is what the council will provide for basic needs. There are different forms of support that can be provided. In most cases, the family will be given the goods directly from the council or a partner charity in Sefton. Examples of what the voucher can pay for, which needs top be picked up at a One-Stop Shops before 2pm, is as below. Note it takes up to 5 working days to approve the family for aid.
-Food banks in the borough will accept the voucher and provide a parcel of free, emergency groceries to the family.
-Household essentials can also be obtained using a voucher. There may be appliances for the home, bedding, and like goods.
-Lone parents that are on benefits or a low income can also get essential goods or baby nappies for their children as well.
-The Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme can also provide local travel vouchers.
-Clothing is offered using the redeemable voucher as well.
Not only may an appliance be given, but the council will also provide a warranty for up to 6 months. This will mean the family on a low income will not need to repair the unit if it breaks. This too can save the household money.
These vouchers that are part of welfare only provide items, such as free food, that may last a few days. Many families need longer term support. The council will recommend the resident contact the Department of Works & Pensions to either apply for a Budgeting loan or an advance of their benefits, and the helpline to be reached at 0345/0845 6088545.
Financial help from ELAS
This is when the grant based aid starts to help for paying for some living expenses. Cash will not be given to the family, but instead the Sefton will provide either a pre-paid card or offer help in some other way. The good news to this welfare scheme is a decision on whether to offer help can be made by the next working day.
Electricity and heating bills can be paid using ELAS. When someone is behind and approved for a grant, the meter card will be topped off. The person needs to drop in at the Sefton One-Stop Shop in order to get help for their energy bills. Since a decision can be made within 24 hours, it will offer emergency assistance to people that are out of heat as well.
Referrals are also given as well. The Sefton council has information on charities and programmes such as shelter that are local to the borough. Since the amount of welfare assistance is limited, many people will also be linked to those other local organisations.
Applications can be done at the Sefton Council office. Or if someone needs questions answered, or more information on the welfare scheme, people can call 0151 934 3377.