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Emergency Information - Local Welfare Assistance

You might find yourself caught short of money and need help with essentials like food or paying your bills. Please look at the range of support options we discuss in this guide.

Local Welfare Assistance

Local Welfare Assistance schemes help people on low incomes or receiving certain benefits in an emergency.

What help may I get?

You could get vouchers or a pre-paid card to pay for food, fuel or clothing. You could get basic living items, such as beds, cookers or fridges.

What benefits do I have to be claiming to apply?

This will depend on where you live. Most councils allow you to apply if you are claiming one of these benefits:

•    Universal Credit
•    Pension Credit
•    Income Support
•    Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
•    Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

How do I apply?


In England, it is up to your local council whether it provides a Local Welfare Assistance scheme or not. There is no legal duty to do so.

Where there is a scheme, the amount of money available may be small. The council may only give help when there is no other way of meeting your needs.

The benefits team at your local council should be able to tell you if there is a scheme in your area.

Northern Ireland

You can apply directly for a Discretionary Support loan or grant through the Finance Support Service.


You can apply through your local council for a Community Care Grant or a Crisis Grant funded by the Scottish Welfare Fund.


You can apply directly for an Individual Assistance Payment or an Emergency Assistance Payment through the Discretionary Assistance Fund

Last updated: November 2018

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