If you are finding it difficult to budget for emergency or one-off expenses because you are a student or on a low income, you may be entitled to help from the Government.
CLIC Sargent Grants
A CLIC Sargent Standard Grant is a one-off grant that is offered to young people aged 16 to 24 who have been diagnosed with cancer. It is available as soon as you come into contact with us and can help you meet the sudden extra costs that a cancer diagnosis can bring. The grant is available at any time within the first 12 months of diagnosis, and can be used to cover food, travel or other day to day costs. Find out more on our Financial support page or apply now using the Grant application form.
The Social Fund
The Social Fund offers one-off payments and loans to help ease exceptional financial pressures on families receiving a qualifying benefit, such as Income Support (IS) or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. The Social Fund is made of the following benefits:
- Budgeting Loans/Advances - see below for more information
- Cold Weather Payments
- Funeral Payments
- Sure Start Maternity Grants
- Winter Fuel Payment (made to households with someone over the Pension Credit age).
Following the introduction of Universal Credit in 2013, the Social Fund has been partly abolished and replaced with locally-based support, otherwise known as:
- Local Welfare Provision (England)
- Scottish Welfare Fund (Scotland)
- Discretionary Assistance Fund (Wales)
Social fund grants are available in Northern Ireland until it is introduced in May 2017 under the Welfare Reform Act 2015.
Budgeting Loans are interest-free, which means that you only pay back what you borrow. It is to help pay for essential items, including rent, furniture, clothes or hire purchase debts.
You can apply for a Budgeting Loan if you have been receiving one of the following benefits for at least 26 weeks:
- Income Support
- Income-related ESA
- Income-based JSA
Budgeting Advances will replace Budgeting Loans for people who are eligible for Universal Credit. You will need to have been receiving an income-related benefit for at least six months to qualify for an advance.
One of the main differences between the Budgeting Advance and Budgeting Loan is that you will be expected to pay back your loan over a shorter amount of time.
This means that you will need to pay back the money over 12 months rather than the current guidelines of 104 weeks. However, this will be extended to 18 months in exceptional circumstances.
You will be unable to receive a Budgeting Advance if you have an earlier Budgeting Loan or advance that has not been fully repaid.
Short-term Advances will replace Interim Payments and Crisis Loan payments. The benefit will provide an advance of your future benefit payment, which will be taken out of any following payments you receive. This will help you cope in the weeks before you receive regular payments.
This benefit, which is run by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), will be available to people who can prove they are in financial need and already receiving income-related benefits, including Universal Credit. How much you receive will depend on your circumstances.
Disabled Facilities Grant
If you need to make changes to your home, for example widening doors, installing ramps or improving accessibility, you may be able to get a grant from your local council to help with the costs.
Young people under the age of 18 who have cancer can get a grant without their parents' income being taken into account.
Find out more
Get in touch with your local authority to find out how you can apply. You can find your local council by visiting www.gov.uk.
To find out more about changes to the Social Fund and whether you might qualify, contact JobCentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.
Visit www.gov.uk to get contact details of your local countil, which can give you more information about Disabled Facilities Grants.
Updated August 2016, next review due 2017.