New financial support available

Responsibility for crisis loans and community care grants have shifted to the Scottish Government.

Crisis loans for living expenses and community care grants, which were previously administered by the Department of Work and Pensions, have been replaced by the Scottish Welfare Fund, delivered by the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is a new service provided by councils who will oversee applications for the grants which are designed for people who need urgent financial support.

Commenting, Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Corporate Services Christine Gore said: “The two grants under the new Scottish Welfare Fund arrangements are there for people who are experiencing difficulties that they need urgent assistance with.

“Our staff are ready to help people who need it and take people through the application process and I encourage people to contact us as soon as possible if support is required so that we can provide the best solutions.”

Neither the crisis loans or community care grants need to be paid back to the council, and both are aimed at providing for one-off needs rather than ongoing expenses.

Aberdeenshire residents can call the benefits helpline on 0845 6080149 or download an application form online from the council’s website at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/benefits.

Forms are also available from any of the five benefit offices: Banff, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Inverurie and Stonehaven where staff can also provide support to people if they require.

Applicants must be aged 16 or over and will either be entitled to, or in receipt of: Income Support, Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Savings Pension Credit or Guaranteed Pension Credit.

Applicants to the Scottish Welfare Fund will be required to complete a detailed claim form and provide evidence to support their identity and address.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is limited to the amount of money that is available to Aberdeenshire Council from the Scottish Government, therefore payments may be restricted.

More information on the Scottish Welfare Fund is available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People/welfarereform/socialfund