March 27, 2023

Social fund loans

Social fund loans can help cover expenses not covered by your benefits. They’re not in-kind benefits or allowances per se, but must be repaid on a regular basis.

Social fund loans come in three varieties: Budgeting Loans, Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants. Each has its own rules but can provide assistance with certain expenses.

Budgeting Loans

Budgeting loans offer interest-free financing to cover costs such as furniture, essential household equipment, clothing or footwear. They may also be used for travel expenses, debt settlement or hire purchase purchases.

Apply for a Budgeting Loan online or by phone. With online application, you will get your decision faster than waiting on hold for someone to call back.

Your loan amount depends on a few factors, including whether or not both of you have savings exceeding PS1,000 (PS2,000 if age 63 or over). Furthermore, if you already have other budgeting loans or crisis loans that must be paid back to the Social Fund, applying for another one would not be possible.

Repayment of the loan should be completed within 104 weeks and funds should be deposited into your bank, credit union or building society account.

Crisis Loans

If you find yourself facing unexpected expenses, social fund loans may be the perfect solution. These interest-free and repayable loans are designed to assist with covering intermittent expenditures which would otherwise be difficult to budget for.

Crisis loans can be applied for in writing or over the phone, but you must agree how you will repay them before receiving them. Payment may be made in cash, check, or postal order.

Finance Assistance programs were available to those eligible for benefits such as Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance. Also referred to as social fund loans or regularization funds, these funds could cover specific life events like maternity, funerals and winter fuel needs.

Community Care Grants

Grant applications can be motivated by a variety of personal circumstances. Examples include families in urgent need of extra support or people forced to relocate due to domestic upheaval.

Community Care Grants can be a lifesaver, alleviating extreme strain in someone’s life and enabling them to establish home or remain independent within their community, avoiding institutional care. They may even assist those recently released from prison or young offenders’ institutions on temporary release.

Community Care Grants are generally paid into an account provided by a bank, building society or other account provider and will not affect other benefits you receive. However, there are certain expenses which cannot be covered by a Community Care Grant; details of these can be found in Direction 23 and Direction 29.

One-off Payments

A one-off loan from the Social Fund can be a huge help when managing money, especially if you’re on a tight budget. While it may not provide all of your needs, it will still be an important milestone in order to stay debt free. Amounts range from PS20 up to PS250 depending on individual circumstances and financial health; making this option especially valuable for low income families with children who struggle to make ends meet with current benefit levels or those newly made redundant waiting for job security to arrive.