Scottish Welfare Fund: statutory guidance – March 2021

An update to the Scottish Welfare Fund statutory guidance, previously published in May 2019, to correct any inaccuracies or anachronisms which have occurred since the previous publication. This guidance was updated in April 2024 to remove two sections ‘Family Reunion Crisis Grant’ and ‘Covid-19 Self-Isolation Support Grants’.

Annex A - Exclusions From Crisis And Community Care Grants[60]

A person should not be awarded a Crisis Grant or Community Care Grant for a range of excluded needs:

Excluded Item Alternative Source(s) of Assistance
1) A need which occurs outside the United Kingdom.
2) An educational or training need including: clothing and tools, distinctive school uniform or sports clothes for use at school, equipment to be used at school, travelling expenses to or from school, school meals taken during school holidays by children who are entitled to free school meals. School meals and clothing grants – contact your council regarding criteria and eligibility.
3) Expenses in connection with court (legal proceedings) such as legal fees, court fees, fines, costs, application costs for bankruptcy/sequestration, damages, subsistence or travelling expenses.
4) Removal or storage charges if the person is being re-housed following a compulsory purchase order, a redevelopment or closing order or a compulsory exchange of tenancies. Budgeting Loans can help with removal costs

Local charitable organisations.
5) A television or a radio (except where the applicant has a particular need for one, for example, because of limited mobility or isolation) or a licence, aerial or rental costs, costs of purchasing, renting or installing a telephone (unless this is for the purpose of a personal alarm), mobile phones and any call charges. n/a
6) Repair to local authority property or the property of social landlords who maintain property on behalf of the tenant. Approach your landlord/council regarding any repairs required.
7) Rent in advance, including rent deposits, which can be provided by a Budgeting Loan or discretionary housing payments. Budgeting Loan (, or contact your council for a discretionary housing payment.
8) Debts (excluding pre-paid fuel meters where we would pay emergency amount and sufficient to get them to end of crisis i.e. next payment day), debt interest, application costs for bankruptcy/sequestration debts to government departments or local authority tax, Scottish Water and waste charges, arrears of local authority tax, community water charges or mortgage and rent arrears. Contact your council, national organisations such as debt advice, or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
9) Any expense which the local authority or other organisation has a statutory duty to meet, for example regular costs for care or housing. Contact your council, or if claiming Universal Credit, contact DWP.
10) A medical, surgical, optical, aural or dental item or service (note that needs under all of these headings can be provided free of charge by the National Health Service, if you are getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), or Pension Credit). Medical expenses, treatments, items and medications. The cost of repairs to any item obtained from the NHS is also excluded. Any item which fulfils a medical function or helps a customer with on-going treatment such as a hospital bed, for a person being cared for in their own home, would be considered to be a medical item.

Typical household items are not generally classed as medical items

Where it is unclear whether an item is considered a medical item clarification should be sought via Occupational Health, doctor, nurse or similar bodies.
Contact NHS Scotland.
11) Domestic assistance and respite care. Contact your council or Care Information Scotland.
12) Work related expenses. Contact your employer.
13) Investments. n/a
14) Holidays. n/a
15) On-going expenses which are, or are likely to become, a feature of expenditure e.g. normal replacement of clothing or storage costs with no prospect of the need to store items reaching an end are excluded as they are not essential one-off needs. Decision makers should consider the individual circumstances of the case when determining whether a need is on-going. This may include reviewing previous requests to see whether a pattern is emerging. Sanctions and benefits issues relate to income rather than expenditure and do not fall within this exclusion.
16) Travelling expenses(for example those listed at 2, 12, 18), with the exception of one-off expenses relating directly to the qualifying criteria, for example travelling expenses to help someone move to a new home where that move is essential to their re-integration in the community, or if a journey is essential in connection with a crisis, exceptional pressure or in support of independent living- see paragraph 6.5. If travelling for medical reasons, assistance can be awarded through the NHS.
17) Help with expenses in pregnancy or of having a new child. Best Start Foods and Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment are available through Social Security Scotland - For further information on the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 or visit
18) Any costs related to a person's funeral. Social Security Scotland have launched Funeral Support Payment. This replaces the DWP Funeral Expenses Payment benefit for applicants in Scotland. Further information on how to access this support for funeral costs is available here:

DWP will continue to deliver the Bereavement Support Payment to applicants living Scotland. Information on how to access this support can be found on the website:

Under an agreement between the Scottish Government and COSLA, local authorities have removed charges for the burial or cremation of children aged 17 and under. Contact your council for further information.
19) Expenses to meet the needs of people who have no recourse to public funds. Contact the Home Office for further information.
20) Costs associated with repatriation of a person from Scotland to their home country. Contact the Consulate or Embassy for the relevant country.

Contact the British Consulate in the relevant country for advice.

People who are in the UK unlawfully or their leave has expired should contact the central voluntary departures team to find out what help they can get.

Tel: 0300 004 0202

Assisted voluntary return

Home Office – Central Voluntary Departures Team
21) Substantial Improvements to private property, for example, external or internal building work, structural work, major roof repairs, central heating installations or replacements, double glazed windows, complete rewiring, external work to link a house up to gas or electricity networks, replacement plumbing, replacement bathrooms, kitchens and any extensive work of a cosmetic nature. This list is not to be considered exhaustive. Substantial repairs fall out-with the scope of the SWF.

Check whether there are other grants or sources of help available via the local authority such as:

Local Authority Scheme of Assistance.

Social Work Services.

Occupational Health.

Other sources of help available:

Care and Repair.

Energy grants and ways to improve energy efficiency.

Shelter Scotland

Insurance provider

Mortgage lender
22) Gardening tools. Budgeting Loans may be able to help with the cost of gardening tools if required to maintain home.



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