Residents of the Swindon Borough that are on a low income or benefits may receive Emergency Assistance from the local welfare scheme. The amount of central government funding available in the area has been greatly reduced, but families may still be able to receive payment cards for their bills and other form of support.
The Fund is aimed at basic living expenses, such as food, household goods, or energy bills. Those bills are mostly covered by pre-paid grant cards. But there is a separate scheme, the Homeless Prevention Fund Loan, which can help tenants pay their rent if they are facing eviction. With the approval of the authorities, other housing costs may be covered too. While this too is part of the local welfare, the application process for a loan is slightly different.
Any support from the Swindon programmes is only for people that are local to the borough. They also need to have no other resources available and be facing a crisis that may impact their safety. Other criteria are as below.
The application process will also involve an assessment of the household’s income. When considering the benefits and wages of all members of the home, the total income needs to be less than £15,000 per annum. There is also a need for the resident to be on a means-tested-benefit, or be in the process of apply for them. Also, the Swindon resident can’t have any savings available to them and need to have proof of this.
Types of bills paid by the Emergency Assistance Fund
The Swindon Borough will only allow certain living expenses to be paid. Or in some cases they will provide the family with the goods they need in lieu of direct financial assistance. Any expenses to be paid are at the discretion of the council.
-Energy bills can be paid using a grant from welfare. The authorities will make a payment (within 24 hours) to the utility company for heating, gas, or electricity costs.
-Swindon families facing hunger can get free food. Or in some cases the council will issue a voucher for a local charity food bank.
-Household items can be supplied. This can include white goods, furniture, bedding, and other second-hand goods.
-Rent arrears can be paid from the Homeless Prevention loan scheme.
-Other emergency bills can be paid using a grant. The council will decide this at their discretion, and anything covered (such as travel or clothing) will be covered by a payment card.
The local authorities will try to provide assistance as quickly as possible. Once the resident has been approved for welfare, the bills or goods may be provided in as little as 2 days, but it can sometimes take as long as 10 days. It depends on the requests as well as council resources.
Any expense to be paid will need to be authorised by the government. They will load a payment card for a certain amount, and that money is aimed at the emergency bills that were approved for payment. Any fraud in the welfare scheme will be addressed by the authorities.
If Emergency Assistance Fund is out of money, or someone is not eligible, then the authorities will still provide referrals. There may be other local organisations that can provide help in place of the council. Examples may be the Trussell Trust food banks, local charities or Citizens Advice.
The applications can be done by dropping in at the Swindon Borough Council offices, which have a post of Wat Tyler House (East), Beckhampton Street, SN1 2JH. Or residents can ring 01793 465252 for more information on the Emergency Assistance Fund.