You are now leaving the Turn2us site. Turn2us is not responsible for content on third party sites.

About charitable funds and grants - Benefits and charitable grants

In this section, you can learn more about how charitable funds work and the support, including grants, that they give to people in financial need.

Benefits and charitable grants

What is the difference between a 'benefit' and a 'grant'?


Benefits (and Tax Credits) are payments made by the Government to people in certain circumstances, for instance if they are:

  • On a low income

  • Are expecting or bringing up a child

  • Are pregnant

  • Have an illness, disability or injury

  • Are caring for someone

  • Are an older person

  • Have been bereaved.

You can be entitled to particular benefits, if you meet the qualifying rules.

See Your Situation for details of what is available to people in different circumstances.


Grants are sums of money that charitable funds give for specific purposes to people in need who qualify for their help. They are given as a gift or award, so they don’t need to be paid back.

You do not have an entitlement to a grant, even if you meet the qualifying rules of the charitable fund. They are given at the discretion of each charitable fund.

See About charitable funds for more information about grants

Please note: The Government and other funding bodies also often give grants to people or organisations to pay for particular projects or services.

Do I have to be getting benefits to qualify for a grant?

You don't have to be getting benefits to qualify for a grant.

Most charities would not give a grant where statutory help was available in the form of benefits or for items that there is a legal requirement on statutory services, such as your local council, to fund.

Many charities will ask you about any benefits you are receiving as part of the application process and may ask you to check what you might be eligible for if you aren't already claiming any. You can do this using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator

For example, the Elizabeth Finn Fund online application form asks about benefits on the first page of its individual's application form. (See Screengrab below.)

Screengrab of the Elizabeth Finn Fund application form first page

If you use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check your benefits and you are asked by a charitable fund for the calculation reference, you will find this on the results page above the benefits entitlement estimate (see Screengrab below).

Screengrab of Turn2us Benefits Calculation results page

Will my benefits be affected if I get a grant from a charity?

Regular payments

If charitable payments are made or due to be made regularly then the payments are disregarded as income and do not reduce your benefits.

Goods (payments in kind)

If you get goods instead (payments in kind), then this is ignored as income unless you are getting Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and are involved in a trade dispute.

Irregular charitable or voluntary payments

Irregular charitable payments count as capital rather than income.  However, if you are involved in a trade dispute, they can count as income for Income Support (IS) or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (iJSA).

If an irregular payment is provided to a beneficiary and the payment takes your capital above the higher capital limit of £16,000, you will lose your entitlement to means-tested benefits, with the exception of Guarantee Pension Credit (GPC) which has no higher capital limit. If you are receiving GPC, no capital limit would apply to Housing Benefit also.

Whether it is counted as income for tax credits depends on whether the charitable income is taxable. You should inform HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) who would be able to confirm.

You should get advice from a benefits expert on this subject.  You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local expert.

Anything wrong with this page?

Tell us the problem

Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter what you were doing
Please enter what you'd like to report
Please enter the security code shown

Thank you

If you would like to tell us more please visit our contact page


Check benefit entitlement

Find out what means-tested benefits you might be entitled to, including tax credits.

Use the Benefits Calculator

Grant Search

Search our database of grant-giving organisations

Search for grants