Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Government set up the Scottish Welfare Fund in April 2013.1 It is a national scheme and each of the 32 Scottish local authorities administers and delivers the grants in its own area. There are no localised variations (as there are in England).

To find out which Scottish local authority to apply to, use our postcode finder or local authority finder or follow the links on the Scottish Government's local authority finder.

Scottish Welfare Fund permanent scheme

The Scottish Government introduced a permanent scheme from April 2016 under the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act 2015. This places a duty on local authorities to provide grants for day-to-day living expenses and household items (for example cookers and beds) to those in crisis or need. The two types of grant are:

  • crisis grants to assist people in an emergency or after a disaster
  • community care grants to help you in any of the following ways:
    • to live independently
    • to avoid needing to move into institutional care
    • to set up a home if you have been homeless
    • if you or your family are facing exceptional pressure
    • to care for a prisoner or young offender on temporary release

From April 2017, you may be able to get a community care grant for help with housing costs if you are aged 18-21, living in a Universal Credit full service area, and have been affected by the rules about housing costs with Universal Credit. The Guidance says that grants can be made on this basis where you or your family are facing exceptional pressure.

This is not a complete list. For further details see our Scottish Welfare Fund factsheet.

Challenging refusals

You can challenge a decision to refuse your application (or to give you less than you asked for) by asking the local authority to review it. This is called a first-tier review. If you are unhappy with the outcome, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review. The SPSO can change the local authority's decision. For more information about independent reviews, see the SPSO website.

If you are unhappy about the way in which your application or the local authority's review was done, you can instead complain to the SPSO.

More information

  • 1. when DWP community care grants and crisis loans were abolished