When a resident of Worcester City, Wychavon, or Malvern Hills is facing an emergency, then the Emergency Welfare Assistance Scheme in South Worcestershire may be able to help. This is a programme that will provide help in the form of vouchers or grants for basic needs that will address a health or safety issue.
The assistance is only for low income families with no access to other resources or savings, and the applicant needs to be under exceptional pressure. The two main components of welfare include crisis support, which can provide food, grants for fuel or heating costs, baby formula, and like items. The other option, settlement support, is for people in the area to help them main Independence, or resettle, and this may be furniture or white goods. However all assistance is at the discretion of the South Worcestershire Council, and they can provide those items or other types of help.
Before applying for the welfare scheme, the applicant needs to be on a low income and out of options. They need to have tried to get financial help for their bills from friends or family first, and even contacted charities in Worcester or other cities. The person also needs to have applied for other more appropriate benefits as well, as the the Discretionary Housing Payments for rent arrears.
So in effect the aid financial from the council is a last resort and residents are not entitled to receiving any support. A grant is provided solely at the discretion of the council, and they will prioritize those with the greatest need as determined by an assessment of the applicant.
Welfare is also a referral only programme. Anyone on a low income that wants to apply needs to be referred from a supporting agency or not-for-profit organisation. Examples of who the council partners with includes health professional, caseworkers, charities that are local to South Worcestershire or support workers. While most of the aid is for people on other government benefits, the council can make exceptions on a one off basis.
Crisis or Emergency Support
This is aimed at addressing a health or safety need. So if the family is going hungry or without food, or maybe an elderly person will freeze without heat. Those are just two examples of when the South Worcestershire Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme may help.
The council may provide eligible applicants with baby food or give a household a pre-paid card for gas or electricity bills. Or there can be emergency food parcels passed out, or even furniture (such as a bed or washing machine) for people impacted by a disaster.
Residents can only apply for the crisis support at most twice every 12 months, and the council is under no obligation to provide welfare benefits to anyone. If the person is given an award, if will be a voucher for use at a fuel supplier or food bank. Money will not be given out from the welfare scheme in Worcestershire.
Housing and settlement support from South Worcestershire welfare
The council will use welfare funds to help the vulnerable either settle in the area, or prevent them from moving to an institutional setting. Most of the support provided will be for furniture or clothing. There may be help for acquiring beds, washing machines, cookers, and other appliances.
The council can also refer the low income tenant or homeless person to other housing programmes. One of the main ones is the discretionary housing payment, which can help with rent arrears, and another are the various council schemes for deposits. So while welfare is restricted in what it can help with, there are other schemes that are available.
To apply, as noted above referrals are needed and the council will not take applications from residents. So people should contact a support worker or professional, and then that person can ring the council at 1905 722233 and request the Discretionary Welfare Scheme. Customer service from the council can also answer questions and provide information.