Fairer Scotland

Scottish Welfare Fund: Case studies

August 27, 2015 by No Comments | Category Welfare and Social Security

Today as part of our themed week on social security we focus on the Scottish Welfare Fund. The Scottish Welfare Fund which has been formalised by the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act 2015, was the first substantive welfare reform act to be passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Welfare Fund has been in operation since 2013. Replacing the Department for Work and Pension’s Discretionary Social Fund it is designed to help people on low income in crisis to stay in their own homes.

Today we hear from some of those who have used the fund.

Crisis Grant – Glasgow

John (aged 27) who suffers from depression and also has a back complaint applies for a Crisis Grant payment as his Employment Support Allowance has stopped. John requested a Crisis Grant to purchase food as he has now been without income for over two weeks.

The Department for Works and Pensions issued a letter requesting John attend a medical to his previous address, he never received the letter, missed the appointment and his ESA was stopped.

Decision Maker confirms the John has submitted an appeal against the decision to stop his ESA, to ensure the quickest possible end to the crisis situation, and awards a payment of £86.88 to assist with living expenses for the next fortnight.

John went to his local Pay Point, used the code on the text message he was sent and received his cash payment.

Crisis Grant – Glasgow

Christina (aged 32) is a single parent with two children, aged 13 and 7 months, she applied for a Crisis Grant payment as her benefit payment had been delayed. Her weekly income was Income Support, Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit.

The application was made with assistance from a Social Worker who supports the family. Christina had recently reported a change of address to Her Majesties Revenue and Customs, which resulted in a delay in her next payment of Child Tax Credit.

Christina requested assistance with food and utilities until her Child Tax Credit payment became available in seven days.

Decision Maker confirmed customers Child Tax Credit payment would be available in seven days and awarded £100 for food, electricity and gas.

Christina attended her local Council Office, with proof of her identity and received her cash award the same day she applied.

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Community Care Grant – Glasgow

Edward (aged 69), currently in receipt of Pension Credit. Customer requests assistance via a Community Care Grant for a fridge freezer. Customer has heart problems and prostate cancer and is currently waiting to go in to hospital.

Edward’s fridge freezer was no longer working and could not be fixed. Edward advised he had been managing without a fridge freezer up until now as he has been well enough to shop daily however as his health was getting worse he was no longer able to make it out to the shops every day and needed to be able to store food properly to allow him to do his shopping once a week when his daughter took him out at the weekend. Edward feared without assistance he would be unable to continue living independently.

Decision Maker assessed the customer’s situation and made an award for a fridge freezer to help Edward remain in the community, as the circumstances indicated the customer may not be able to continue to live independently without assistance.

Fridge Freezer was subsequently delivered, installed and the customer’s old fridge freezer removed by the Councils furniture provider the following week.

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Crisis Grant and Community Care Grant – Perth and Kinross

Mrs Brown contacted the Scottish Welfare Fund to make an application for a Crisis Grant as her household income had reduced significantly as a result of her husband being absent from work due to illness. The family requested assistance with food and fuel for four days.

The couple have two children aged 8 and 12 and also have their adult son still living with them. Mrs Brown cares for her youngest child, who has autism. The family live in a private sector tenancy and they had a small amount of rent arrears, despite the fact they are in receipt of a small amount of Housing Benefit

Whilst carrying out the assessment for a Crisis Grant the local authority also provided a comprehensive welfare benefit check was undertaken to establish whether the correct amount of benefits/entitlements were in place. A DHP application was taken to assist with the payment of the rent shortfall and consideration for the small amount of rent arrears owed. A Community Care Grant application was also taken for a washing machine as the family’s machine had broken beyond repair and Mrs Brown mentioned she was considering getting a new one via Bright House. A referral was made to the Welfare Rights Team regarding Tax Credit overpayment.

A Crisis Grant was awarded to tide the family over for four days of £120. A DHP was awarded and backdated for ten weeks to cover small amount of rent arrears. DHP was also awarded for the shortfall in rent of £44.55 per week due to the non-dependant deduction being applied as the customer adult son still resides with the family. A Community Care Grant was awarded in respect of a washing machine for the family. The Welfare Rights Team continued to assist Mrs Brown with an ongoing dispute with HMRC over a Tax Credit overpayment.

Community Care Grant – Aberdeenshire

Jennifer (36) is a single parent with four children. She is a currently in receipt of Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit and is awaiting the outcome of her claim for Income Support. Jennifer applied for a Community Care Grant for a cooker and bunk beds.

Jennifer recently separated from a violent partner who broke many of the items in the home including the cooker and she cannot replace them due to her limited income. Jennifer was receiving support from Cyrenians, Police Scotland and her Health Visitor.

Decision Maker assessed Jennifer’s situation a made an award via a Community Care Grant as the family were under exceptional pressure. An award of a cooker and bunk beds was made and subsequently supplied, delivered and installed via the Councils furniture contract.

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Crisis Grant – Aberdeenshire

Rachel (24) is single parent, living with her 19 month old daughter, applied for a Crisis Grant for food, nappies, electricity and gas costs. Rachel is currently in receipt of Income Support, Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit.

Rachel applied for a Crisis Grant due to unexpected rises in her heating/electricity costs as her daughter had been unwell with sickness and diarrhoea, this meant her washing machine has been on a lot more and heating had been on a lot more to dry clothes and to ensure the house was warm. Rachel had prepaid meters and at the time of the application only had a few nappies left.

Decision maker assessed Rachel situation and decided a Crisis Grant could be awarded as expenses had arisen as a result of an emergency due to Rachel’s daughter being unwell and living costs being higher as a result. A Crisis Grant was awarded for £50 to cover the cost of food, nappies, gas and electricity for four days until Rachel’s next payment was due.

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