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Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF)

What is the Scottish Welfare Fund?

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a safety net for vulnerable people on low incomes through the provision of Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants.  The Scottish Welfare Fund is a national scheme, underpinned by law and delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by all local councils.  The Scottish Welfare Fund replaced elements of the Social Fund abolished by the Department for Work and Pensions in 2013.

Since the scheme began in April 2013 through to March 2016, nearly 204,000 households in Scotland have received at least one award from the Scottish Welfare Fund, with total expenditure over the three years of around £97.9 million.  Around 54% of households in receipt of funds were single person households with no children.  Around one third were households containing children.

Community Care Grants made under the scheme aim to help vulnerable people set up home, or continue to live independently within their community, specifically:

  • helping families under exceptional pressure

  • helping people following a period of care or homelessness

  • helping people continue to live independently where there’s a risk of care or homelessness

  • helping people meet additional costs associated with looking after someone on temporary release from prison or a young offenders’ institution

Crisis Grants made under the scheme aim to help people facing a disaster or emergency.

  • A disaster might mean a fire or a flood

  • An emergency, for example, running out of food, might be caused by a sudden loss of income

Between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2016, around 127,000 Community Care Grants were awarded. The awards were typically for floor coverings, white goods and furnishings.  During the same time period, around  287,000 Crisis Grants were awarded. Most Crisis Grant expenditure was on food, essential heating costs and other living expenses.

You may be eligible to receive a grant if you are aged 16 or over and on a low income.  To apply for help from the Scottish Welfare Fund you must contact your local council

If you have any queries on the content of these pages, please contact the Future Welfare Powers mailbox.

If your query is in respect of any aspect of your Scottish Welfare Fund application, you must contact your local council.