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When it comes to paying for the bigger things in life, it can sometimes be difficult to ensure that you have the capital to hand. However, the government has traditionally supplied financial support to certain people up and down the country who need it the most. Up until recently, this support was granted to people in the form of the Social Fund, which was initially set up to help people receive money towards certain crises or even everyday expenses that they couldn’t budget for. While the Social Fund helpline has since been streamlined into other services, you can still call relevant staff for assistance on 0843 816 6316.
The Social Fund was dissolved into local welfare schemes and the format of crisis and budgeting loans were fully streamlined due to a 2012 act of parliament brought in by the previous government – meaning that financial assistance from a fund may now only be paid out if you qualify under certain benefits or through particular circumstances. The streamlining of the fund arose as part of the governmental review of the UK welfare system. While changes have been made, you can still call the equivalent Social Fund support services to find out more on any funds or financial assistance you may be entitled to should you require it.
We have compiled a useful table of contacts for you below so that you can easily find your way through various financial bodies and teams at the Department of Work and Pensions. This means that you no longer have to worry about waiting on the line or having to navigate a variety of telephone maps to be able to get to where you want to be!
Why might I need to contact Social Fund support?
If you are seeking additional financial assistance and are receiving benefits from the UK government, you may well benefit from payments made via the budgeting loan system that is currently in place. There is a certain criteria for these loans which are judged on a case-by-case basis, and are expected to be paid back within two years of receipt. Budgeting loans can cover for the following specific areas and reasons:
- Advance rent
- New job costs
- Funeral costs
- Maternity costs
- Home relocation fees
- Clothes and footwear costs
- Household security upgrades
- Household improvements
- Household maintenance
- Household items and white goods
- Hire purchase loan repayments
- Loan repayments for any of the above
Before you call to enquire via the Social Fund contact number and apply for a budgeting loan, however, it may be beneficial for you to know a little more about the eligibility criteria – and what will be expected of you if you are to receive a grant from the government. You must fit one of the following criteria to be able to qualify:
- Be receiving pension credit for six months
- Be receiving income-related ESA for six months
- Be receiving jobseeker’s allowance (income-based) for six months
- Be receiving income support for six months
You must also make sure that you do not owe more than £1500 in debt towards current budgeting loans to qualify, and if you are involved in any current industrial action, such as striking, you will not qualify. If, however, you receive Universal Credit, you will need to apply for a budgeting advance instead. This can be undertaken at your local Job Centre.
How do I apply for financial support?
You can do so either via GOV.UK’s online form, available here, or you can even print out a physical form to fill out and send via post. It must be advised, however, that you may experience a longer delay in a decision to be made on your loan if you apply via post. You can always call the Social Fund helpline on 0843 816 6316 at your convenience should you prefer to receive verbal assistance on your loan application.
When will I be expected to pay back my loan?
You will be expected to pay your loan back to the DWP within two years of receiving it. Deductions will generally be made via your weekly or fortnightly benefits, meaning that they are scheduled regularly and without you having to locate other funds to make payments.
What if I stop receiving benefits – how will I pay back my loan?
Should this situation occur, the DWP will arrange with you for regular payments to be made to pay back your loan amount.
What if my application for a loan gets refused? Can I appeal against it?
You are always free to appeal against a loan decision, however, you cannot do so via the Social Fund support services. GOV.UK advises that approaching independent review is the best port of call, and there is more information available on this process here.
How much will a budgeting loan provide me?
This all depends on your circumstances, which will be evaluated at the point of your application. The minimum you can receive if successful is £100. However, as a single person, you could receive a maximum of £348, while couples can claim up to £464, and even up to £812 if either of you are in receipt of child benefits. Please also note that other factors, such as your judged ability to repay the loan, will also be taken into account. You must also declare any savings you have in place, and any loans that you may be in receipt of.
Are there any other ways to receive emergency financial assistance?
This will depend upon where you live, and what is available in your local area. Local welfare assistance schemes are now responsible for offering much of the support that the Social Fund once catered to, and you can find your local scheme for help via this website. If you need any help regarding government-related financial assistance, however, you should always call the Social Fund telephone number at the first opportunity.
Other ways to contact Social Fund assistanceIf you’d like to know more about the work that the DWP do, or if you’d like to get in touch with a member of the team via social media, the best port of call is their Twitter account – follow and tweet them here for more information.
The DWP has released a PDF to download which includes a list of all applicable department addresses.
View The Official GOV Site www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions
Department for Work and Pensions
Warbreck House, Warbreck Hill Rd