Community care grants
Community care grants are given to people on pension credit, income support, jobseeker's allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance who need financial help to let them live independently. You don't repay community care grants.
Who can apply?
You can only apply for a community care grant if you are claiming income support, income based jobseeker's allowance, income related Employment and Support Allowance or pension credit. If your partner is claiming income support or jobseeker's allowance, but you are not, only your partner can claim. Your grant will be reduced if you have more than £500 in savings. If one of you is over 60 you can have up to £1,000 in savings before your grant is reduced.
Your chances of getting a community care grant depend on your personal circumstances.
It can be difficult to get one but it is worth applying. You might get a community care grant if:
- you are leaving residential care or an institution (for example, a children's home),
- you need help to stay in your home (for example, you need adaptations to make your home suitable for your needs),
- you haven't had a stable home for a long time and you are getting help from a resettlement team,
- your family is under extreme pressure (for example because of a long-term illness, separation or divorce),
- you are looking after a disabled person,
- you are looking after a prisoner or young offender on home leave,
- you are looking after someone with serious health problems.
What can grants be used for?
You can apply for a community care grants to cover costs such as:
- furniture and bedding,
- household equipment,
- connection charges for utilities such as gas and electricity,
- clothing and footwear,
- removal expenses,
- certain essential travel expenses (for example, to go to a funeral, visit someone who is ill, or visit your children if they are living with your ex).
Community care grants can't be used to pay for rent in advance. If you get a community care grant you can make a separate application for a loan to cover your rent in advance.
How can I get a community care grant?
Community care grants are given by the Social Fund. You can ask for any amount more than £30. If you only need money for travel expenses, you can ask for less than £30.
You can make an application at your local Social Security or Jobs & Benefit Office. Application forms are also available online at the Social Security Agency website.
What are my chances of getting a grant?
There is a limited amount of money available, so it isn't easy to get a community care grant. Get advice if you need a community care grant. An adviser can:
- help you convince the Social Security Agency that you should be a priority,
- explain the application forms,
- help you work out how much you should ask for,
- help you to appeal if the Social Security Agency says it can't help you.
What if my application is turned down?
If you are not happy with any decision made on your application and want to ask for a review, get advice immediately. It is often difficult to get decisions about the Social Fund changed, but an adviser could help you increase your chances of getting a grant.
If you want the Social Security Agency to review the decision you must:
- apply in writing,
- apply within 28 days of the date the decision was given,
- explain why you think the decision was unfair.
What happens if the Social Security Agency doesn't change the decision
If the Social Security Agency doesn't change the decision, you can ask the Social Fund Inspector to look at your application for a community care grant. The Social Fund Inspector is independent and can change the Social Security Agency's decision if it was wrong. Find out more about contacting the Social Fund Inspector.