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Our Customer Service opening hours are 8.45am - 4.45pm, Monday to Friday. The Payment Centre hours are 9am - 4.15pm, with only credit/debit card payments (not cash) between 1pm and 2pm. 

Live chat: If you cannot find what you're looking for, or need help completing an online form, our Customer Service Officers are available on live chat between 8.45am- 4.45pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). Live chat 

Benefits

Social fund benefits

More information on the range of Social Fund benefits for people on a low income.

Please see our benefits advice pages for advice, guidance and assistance with the full range of welfare benefits.

You can also use the confidential online DWP recommended benefits calculators to find out if you are entitled to any benefits.

Budgeting loan

If you're on a low income and need help with certain important costs, you may be able to get an interest-free Budgeting Loan from the Social Fund that you pay back. Further information on the Social Fund run by central government:

Cold weather payments

During a very cold winter, the costs of heating can quickly add up. If you're receiving certain benefits, you may be able to get a Cold Weather Payment for each period of very cold weather in your area. Contact DWP for more information:

Winter fuel payment

If you have reached the qualifying age you may get a Winter Fuel Payment to help pay for keeping warm in winter. This can be between £125 and £400 depending on your situation. Find out if you are eligible for this payment and how to apply to the DWP:


Scottish Welfare Fund

Crisis Grant

A crisis grant is a one off award and is intended to provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency or when there is an immediate threat to health or safety.  There is a limit of grants awards to three in any rolling twelve month period.

Who can apply?

Applicants should be aged 16 or over, resident in East Renfrewshire and normally entitled to one of the following benefits listed below, or payment on account of one of these benefits in order to be eligible for a Scottish Welfare Fund payment, but it is not essential. The key test of eligibility for a Crisis Grant is the severity of the applicant's situation and the likely impact on them and their family.

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Savings Pension Credit
  • Guaranteed Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

Items considered for qualification are:

  • Immediate short term living expenses needed until your next income is due because of an emergency.
  • Travelling expenses in connection with a crisis or emergency.
  • Living expenses or items where the need for them has arisen because of a disaster.

The DWP used to administer this grant. However from 2 April 2013, applications are now made to the Council by phoning 0141 577 3475. Staff will discuss your application by phone only.  If you get help, it may be paid in different ways. You may get a voucher, a fuel card, or furniture if we think that's the best way to help you.

Community Care Grant

A Community Care grant is a one off non repayable award. Grants are intended to help vulnerable people to lead as independent a life as possible.

Who can apply?

Applicants should be aged 16 or over, resident in East Renfrewshire and normally entitled to one of the following benefits listed below, or payment on account of one of these benefits in order to be eligible for a Scottish Welfare Fund payment, but it is not essential. The key test of eligibility for a Community Care Grant is retaining or establishing a settled way of life in the community.'

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Savings Pension Credit
  • Guaranteed Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

Items considered for qualification are:

  • Household furniture or equipment
  • Clothing
  • Travel costs

To qualify for a grant you are likely to be in one of the following groups:

  • Establishing in the community after being in care
  • At risk of going into care
  • Part of a family under exceptional pressure
  • Setting up a home as part of a planned programme or resettlement
  • Helping to care for a prisoner or young offender on release
  • Needing travel expenses in certain situations

The DWP used to administer this grant. However from 2 April 2013, applications are now made to the Council by phoning 0141 577 3475. Staff will discuss your application by phone only.  If you get help, it may be paid in different ways. You may get a voucher, a fuel card, or furniture if we think that's the best way to help you.


Death and bereavement grants

If you're on a low income and need help to pay for a funeral you're arranging, you may be able to get a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund. You might have to repay some or all of it from the estate of the person who died. 

After you're widowed you may be able to claim Bereavement Allowance, the taxable weekly benefit paid to you for up to 52 weeks from the date of death of your husband, wife or civil partner.

If your husband, wife or civil partner has died you may be able to get Bereavement Payment, a one-off, lump-sum payment of £2,000 that's tax-free.

If you're a parent whose husband, wife or civil partner has died and you have at least one child who you receive Child Benefit for, you may be able to get Widowed Parent's Allowance. Contact the DWP for more details.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

If you're on a low income, the Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment to help towards costs of a new baby. The grant comes from the Social Fund and you don't have to repay it. Contact the DWP for more details.

Budgeting advances whilst waiting for benefit

The Department for Work and Pensions will continue to offer support to people waiting for their first payment of benefit and who, in the absence of any other financial support, need an advance of that benefit to tide them over until the benefit is in payment. DWP will also continue to provide Budgeting Loans for those on income related benefits and Budgeting Advances for those on Universal Credit. Please be aware that there are entitlement conditions and criteria for these funds.


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