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The Social Fund is a Government scheme to help people with expenses that are difficult to meet on a low income.

There are several different types of Social Fund benefits. These include:


For some, you can claim it as long as you meet the criteria, for others, payment is not guaranteed even if you are eligible to make a claim. With most, you have to be receiving certain other benefits to qualify.

Local welfare provision

Until April 2013, the Social Fund was also responsible for Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants which helped people in an emergency.

These have been replaced by:

  • England: Local Welfare Provision provided by the local council
  • Scotland: The Scottish Welfare Fund
  • Wales: The Discretionary Assistance Fund.

Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants are still available in Northern Ireland but will be replaced by the Discretionary Support Scheme once the Welfare Reform Bill (Northern Ireland) becomes law.