The Discretionary Assistance Fund
The Discretionary Assistance Fund offers payments or in-kind support to people in Wales needing urgent help.
The fund is designed to support those who cannot access any other help and is a fund of last resort. Two types of grants are available:
1. Emergency Assistance Payment
As the name suggests, this is a payment that you may need after an emergency. It is a grant to help with essential costs after an emergency, or if you have experienced a disaster such as a flood or fire in your home, or extreme financial hardship for reasons including delays in benefit payments. The payment will help you cover the cost of food, gas and electricity, clothing and emergency travel. It is not designed to cover ongoing financial shortfalls.
Anyone over the age of 16 can be considered for a grant if they need help to meet expenses due to an emergency or disaster. You do not need to receive any benefits to qualify. You can usually only have three grants in a rolling 12 month period and cannot receive a payment if you have been awarded one in the last 28 days. All awards are discretionary and depend on your current circumstances and needs.
The Discretionary Assistance Fund is able to offer support again this winter for off-grid fuel costs: Emergency winter fuel support for off grid fuel costs
Emergency Assistance Payment and coronavirus
For people who have been affected by coronavirus the normal restrictions and greater flexibility has been introduced to 31 March 2023.
The 28 day restriction has been lifted and 5 grants are allowed in a 12 month period if the emergency is caused by coronavirus.
Help may be awarded if coronavirus has caused:
- lost income with help needed for the interim period whilst making a new benefit claim or changes to an existing claim
- a drop in income and you are unable to get benefits like Universal Credit. For example the coronavirus may have meant you or your partner has lost their job and lost all their income
- extra essential living expenses due to having to spend more on gas, electric and food as a result of self-isolating and impact of children being home.
Removal of the £20 Universal Credit uplift
If you are in financial hardship due to losing £20 per week from your UC and as a result are in emergency financial need, you can apply for help. Please state whether the emergency need has been impacted by the removal of the UC uplift. As with applications due to coronavirus, if the crisis is due to the removal of the UC uplift a maximum of 5 emergency assistance payments can be made until March 2023.
The Welsh Government have confirmed that people who have fled from the war in Ukraine will be able to apply for an Emergency Assistance Payment.
To apply you will need to provide a copy of your passport. You will also need to meet the usual conditions of being in extreme financial hardship and in need of immediate financial support due to a crisis situation. The standard limits of up to 3 awards during a 12 month period will apply.
How to apply for Emergency Assistance Payment
Alternatively you can ring between 9.30am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday on 0800 8595924 (free from a landline) or 033 0101 5000 (local rate).
If you are awarded a payment, Pay Point will text you the details needed to access the payment at a shop or post office with a PayPoint logo. You can find your local PayPoint store store on their website.
2. Individual Assistance Payment
Important: you can only be awarded an Individual Assistance Payment if your application is supported by an approved partner organisation.
Some Swansea Council departments including the Tenancy Support Unit, housing associations, many advice organisations and charities will be approved partners and may be able to assist you if you need this grant due to your circumstances.
The Individual Assistance Payment does not give a cash grant. Instead you will be supplied directly with what you are assessed as needing. This could include white goods (eg washing machine, fridge, cooker) or household furniture.
To be eligible you have to meet all three sets of conditions:
- Meet all the following:
- be resident in Wales
- be 16 or over
- have no other access to savings or funding
- not be resident in a care home (unless being discharged in 6 weeks)
- not be currently in prison (unless being discharged in 6 weeks)
- not be a member of a fully maintained religious order.
- Get one of the following qualifying benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Meet one of the following:
- you are leaving a care home or institution to live independently in the community after a minimum of 3 months in care (for example in hospital, a care home, prison, foster care)
- you want to stay living in the community rather than having to go into an institution
- you are setting up home after an unsettled way of life
- you are facing an exceptional and urgent pressure for example a relationship breakdown or domestic violence
- you are going to care for a prisoner or young offender released on a temporary license.
How to apply for Individual Assistance Payment
The person from the approved partner organisation can either help you claim online, download and fill in a claim form or phone the Discretionary Assistance Fund on your behalf.