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We strongly advise those customers applying for a Scottish Welfare Fund grant to use the online application form linked below, rather than making a telephone application.

Completing the form online will mean that we can process your application faster.

If you are making an online application for assistance to help pay for essential food and heating costs, please ensure you highlight this by telling us you want to make an application for an emergency on the application form.

Please select ‘emergency’ from the list of reasons on the form, followed by the type of emergency that best describes your circumstances.

Processing of applications

The target is to process Crisis Grant applications within two working days and Community Care Grants within 15 working days; however we will aim to process these more quickly where possible.

Given the current pressure on the service, we ask that you do not phone the Scottish Welfare Fund telephone number for an update on your application unless the above timescales have passed.

Purpose of the Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) is a national scheme run by local authorities, based on guidance from Scottish Government: Scottish Welfare Fund.

The objectives of the scheme are to:

  • provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency, when there is an immediate threat to health or safety
  • enable independent living or continued independent living, preventing the need for institutional care

There are two types of SWF grants.

Crisis grant

A Crisis Grant aims to help people who are on benefits or have a low income, who are in crisis because of a disaster or an emergency

A disaster is something like a fire or a flood. An emergency might be the need to travel to visit a sick child or when money has been stolen.

Community care grant

A Community Care Grant aims to help people on a low income or on benefits who may have to go into care, unless they get some support to stay at home, or if they are leaving any form of care and need help to set up their own home, for example, they may be leaving hospital, prison or a residential care home

A Community Care Grant can also help families facing exceptional pressures with one-off items like a cooker or a washing machine.

The SWF is a discretionary, budget-limited scheme that prioritises applications according to need. It provides grants that do not have to be repaid. It does not provide loans. These grants may be in the form of goods being ordered and delivered to you, a voucher for fuel or a cash award in certain circumstances.

Who can apply

You must be over 16, on a low income or in receipt of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

How to apply

You must apply to the council where you live or intend to live.

Applications for both Crisis and Community Care Grants should be made online at the Scottish Welfare Fund and can be submitted at any time.

Scottish Welfare Fund: Apply for a Crisis or Community Care Grant

If you are unable to make an online application please contact the Scottish Welfare Fund team by telephoning 01563 554400.

Please note our opening hours are:

  • Monday to Thursday 9am to 4.30pm
  • Friday 9am to 3.30pm

A different member of the team will make a decision from the person who takes the application; therefore it will not be possible to give an instant answer when an application is made.

As the funds are budget-limited, there will be claims that are not paid because they do not meet the priority set for that period.

The Scottish Welfare Fund team will check personal circumstances using information we already have where possible. In certain circumstances further information or proof may be required from the customer. A member of the team will telephone the contact number provided on the application if further information is required. 

How often you can apply

There is a limit of three awards in a rolling 12 month period for Crisis Grants unless you have exceptional circumstances. There is no restriction on how many times someone can apply for Community Care Grant.


Where a cash award is granted, payments will be made using PayPoint, which has many outlets within the East Ayrshire area.

You will be sent a code by text message and you should take this to your nearest or most convenient PayPoint outlet. You will need to provide proof of your identity and will be given cash for the code.

Where a text message cannot be sent, arrangements will be made to provide a voucher to you which can be used with PayPoint.

Where an award has been made that includes white goods or furniture, for example, a fridge or a bed, these items will be ordered and delivered to you.  Where appropriate these will also be fitted. You will be advised of when the goods will be delivered so that arrangements can be made to receive them.

We will not give you money to buy white goods or furniture yourself and we will not refund the cost of goods if you have bought them before your grant is decided.


For applications that have been refused, you have the right to ask for a review. The review process is split into two stages. 

First tier review

If you would like to request a First Tier Review, you must do this within four weeks (20 working days) of the date of your original decision letter.

Your request should be in writing, be signed by you and should give:

  • the date and reference number from your letter
  • the reasons why you do not think the right decision was made on the application. For example, this might be because you:
    • do not agree that you are not eligible for the Scottish Welfare Fund
    • do not agree that you do not qualify for a grant
    • do not agree with the priority level given to your circumstances, or refused items
    • do not agree with the award, or award amount, that has been made
    • do not think we took all the relevant information in to account
    • think that there has been an error or failure in the decision making process
    • did not give us information when you filled in your application, but think it might make a difference to our decision - please phone us to find out more if you are not sure
    • have changes to your circumstances since the application which might make a difference to our decision

If someone is making a review request for you, you must sign the letter giving your agreement for the review to proceed.

Arrangements will be made for your case to be reviewed by a panel of managers within the Revenues and Benefits section who were not involved in the original decision.

The outcome of your review will be communicated in writing or by telephone.

Crisis Grant First Tier Reviews will be dealt with within two working days.

Community Care Grant First Tier Reviews will be dealt with within 15 working days.

If you are still not happy once you have received your decision on your First Tier Review, you can request a Second Tier Review.

Second tier review

If you are unhappy with the our decision, you have the right to ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review. The SPSO are not part of the Council.

You should ask the SPSO for an independent review within one month of receiving your decision. In some circumstances you may be able to ask for a review after this. The SPSO can give further advice.

You can ask the SPSO for an independent review over the phone or in writing. If you prefer, they will send you a form in the post, or you can print it off their website or fill it in online.

You can reach the SPSO by:

The SPSO can give you information in other languages or formats, such as large print, SMS, audio or Braille.

Contact Information


Scottish Welfare Fund
John Dickie Street
East Ayrshire
Telephone: 01563 554400