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Scottish Welfare Fund - overview

This advice applies to Scotland

Coronavirus – if you need emergency help

If you need emergency help to pay for essentials like food, gas or electricity because of coronavirus, you can apply for a crisis grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Your local council will decide if you can get a grant. It's worth applying even if you're not sure you qualify. All councils in Scotland are getting more money so they can pay out more grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you've already had three crisis grants in the past year, you might still be able to get another one. The Scottish government has said that councils should allow this because of coronavirus.

What is the Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund supports people in crisis and people who need help to live independently in the community. It pays out two types of grant:

  • crisis grants
  • community care grants.

The grants are available to people who don't have any other way of paying for what they need. If you get a grant, you don't need to pay it back.

If you're on a low income, you might be able to get benefits to help with your living costs, rent or other housing costs. Read more about help for people on a low income.

What are crisis grants

You might be able to get a crisis grant if:

  • you have an immediate financial need as a result of an emergency or a disaster, and
  • the grant will help you avoid serious damage or risk to the health and safety of you or your family.

For example, if you've spent your money on visiting a sick child in hospital and you have no money to buy food until your next benefit payment, you might be able to get a crisis grant.

Read more about how to get a crisis grant.

What are community care grants

You might be able to get a community care grant if you need financial help to live independently in the community or to ease exceptional pressures on you or your family.

For example, you might need household goods to help you to set up home after being homeless or in prison. Or a family might need help to set up home after the breakdown of an abusive relationship.

Read more about how to get a community care grant.

Discrimination and the Scottish Welfare Fund

It's against the law for you to be treated unfairly because of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or childbirth, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation when you're trying to access the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Most local councils also have policies which say they won't discriminate against you because of other things, for example if you have caring responsibilities. If you feel you were discriminated against when you applied to the Scottish Welfare Fund, you can complain about this using the local council's complaints procedure.

Read more about discrimination.

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