Social Fund (Crisis Loans)
Crisis Loan – who can apply
You can apply for a Crisis Loan if you:
1. are aged 16 or over
2. don't have enough money to meet your (or your family's) immediate short term needs in an emergency or as the result of a disaster
3. think there will be serious damage or risk to your (or your family's) health or safety without the loan
A Crisis Loan can help cover the following short term needs:
a) meeting daily living expenses
b) rent in advance
c) board/lodging charges
d) residential charges for a hostel
e) pre-paid meter fuel debt
f) travel expenses if you are stranded away from home
A Crisis Loan can also help if either of the following applies:
i. you have suffered a disaster like a fire or flood that has caused a lot of damage and you need help to meet other expenses like replacing household items and clothing
ii. you have been awarded a Community Care Grant and you're moving out of institutional or residential accommodation and don't have enough money to pay advance rent to a non-local authority landlord
How much do you get?
There is no set amount for a Crisis Loan. The amount you may be able to borrow will depend on:
a) your individual circumstances
b) any savings you have
c) whether or not you have any outstanding loans from the Social Fund
How Crisis Loans are paid
All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account. This is the safest, most convenient and efficient method of payment.
How do you repay it?
If you qualify for a Crisis Loan you'll need to agree how you are going to pay it back.
An adviser at the Jobcentre Plus office will talk to you and agree a repayment plan with you that you can afford. If you're on benefit, the loan is normally repaid out of your normal benefit payments.
You don't have to pay interest on a Crisis Loan, which means you only repay the amount you borrowed.
Effect on other benefits
A Crisis Loan does not count as income and will not affect other benefits you are getting.
How to apply
To apply for a Crisis Loan, call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 032 7952.
If you can't speak or hear clearly, call the textphone on 0800 032 7958.
Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 6.00 pm (lines are less busy before 9.00 am)
Jobcentre Plus will then send you an application form to complete and send back to them.
All other Crisis Loan applications should be made in writing using one of the Crisis Loan application forms available from the website above. Each application form comes with notes to help you fill it in. The form will also tell you where to send it when it is completed.
If you want to apply for a Crisis Loan for items and services in the event of a disaster you can download form SF300. This application form (SF300) can also be used if you are applying for a Community Care Grant.
If you want to apply for a Crisis Loan to cover day to day living expenses you can download the form (SF401).
If you want to apply for a Crisis Loan to cover rent in advance you can download the form (SF401R).
How to appeal
If you're unhappy with a Crisis Loan decision you have the right to ask for a review. To do this you must write to Jobcentre Plus within 28 days of the decision. You will need to:
• explain why you think the decision was wrong
• ask for it to be reviewed
If you're still unhappy with the outcome, you can ask for a further review by a Social Fund Inspector. The review process is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 12 days.
You can download the leaflet and claim form, 'How to ask for an independent review' from the Independent Review Service website.