information is intended to be a brief general guide only. It should help you
understand about community care grants, but should not be treated as a full
statement of law.
Key features of the scheme
are included, but not the full text of the law or the Secretary of State's
directions or guidance.
All applications have
precise legal tests applied to them. You can find the Secretary of State's
directions and guidance in the Social Fund Guide which you can access via the
community care grants?
care grants are discretionary payments. They are aimed at people with
particular problems like poor health or family difficulties. They can be paid
to help with specific individual needs, like household items and certain travel
costs. They do not have to be paid back. Back to
How do I apply?
Complete form SF300 available from Jobcentre Plus
offices or you can download a Community Care Grant form from the
Department of Work and
Pensions website. You should send the completed form to your
local Jobcentre Plus office.
When you fill in the form,
it is important to include as much detail as possible about your particular
difficulties and how being able to meet the expenses or buy the item would help
cope with them.
Your Jobcentre Plus office will tell you their
decision in writing. If you are unhappy with this decision you can ask a
Reviewing Officer in Jobcentre Plus to look at it again. If, following the
Reviewing Officer's decision you are still unhappy, you can apply for an
Am I eligible for a community care grant?
When you make your application,
you must be receiving either Income Support, income based Jobseeker's
Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit.
If you get interim payments of these benefits, you will also be eligible.
There are special rules for people leaving places like prisons,
hospitals and care homes and who need help to return to the community. They can
apply in the 6 weeks before they are due to leave, provided they would probably
get Income Support, income based Job Seeker's Allowance, income-related
Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit when they do leave.
For example, you may have been in a hospital for a number of years
due to mental illness. Your doctor now thinks you are ready to live
independently in the community; you have a tenancy to move into but need help
to furnish it. You would be likely to receive Income Support or income-related
Employment and Support Allowance when you leave hospital, as you have not
worked for a long time. You could make an application for a community care
grant in the 6 weeks before you were due to leave the hospital, so your new
home could be made ready for when you leave. Back to top
Do the things I
need qualify for a community care grant?
If you or someone in your family needs care in the community, you
might be able to get help to pay for things that will help in the following
If someone is leaving institutional or residential
accommodation where they received care.
The key test is whether the
person needs to pay for something to help them establish in the community after
being in care.
For example, you may have had a stay in a care
home, hospital or prison. To help you get established back into the community,
you might need to pay for moving expenses, connection charges, household
equipment or clothing. A community care grant might be payable to help with
these costs. See the above example.
If someone is already
living in the community, but has difficulty managing.
The key test
is that a grant would help improve the person's ability to live in the
community to the extent that it would lessen the risk of them entering care.
For example, you may have health problems that mean
you have difficulty coping with things like domestic chores or looking after
yourself. A grant might be awarded to help with the cost of things that would
help you cope with your problems, such as household equipment, furniture or
removal costs if you need to move to a more suitable home.
Or, you may be
able to get a grant for something that would help you look after someone else
who has difficulty looking after themselves.
If someone is part of a
family coping with exceptional pressures.
The key test is that help with the expenses would help both the
applicant and another family member cope with very difficult situations.
For example, you and your family might be under exceptional
pressures because of circumstances such as illness, disability, a disaster or
poor living conditions. It might be a single, major pressure or the cumulative
effect of a number of problems. The overall effect on the family rather than
the type of problem is most important. You may be able to get a grant to pay to
for an item or service that would ease the exceptional pressures, whatever they
If someone is setting up home as part of a
resettlement programme after being without a settled way of life.
The key tests are that setting up
home is part of a planned resettlement programme and that the applicant has
been without a settled way of life. The programme should help the person to
establish a settled way of life in other ways as well as setting up a home.
These might be things like dealing with substance abuse, improving literacy,
learning a skill, careers guidance or learning to run a home successfully.
Setting up home may involve finding somewhere to live and making the property
For example, you may have been living at temporary
addresses, in hostels or sleeping rough. You may be moving into your own
accommodation as part of a programme to help you adopt and maintain a settled
lifestyle. The person planning the programme could be, for example, your
probation officer, social worker, key worker at a hostel or yourself. The plan
sets you a series of goals to achieve as part of the programme. A grant may be
paid to help you set up your home.
For more information please
see the Commissioner's Advice to Inspectors on Direction
Someone needs to travel within the
Travel costs may be met if
they qualify under any of the above conditions. In addition to these a grant
may be awarded for travelling expenses, within the United Kingdom, to:
information about the meanings of the Directions relating to qualification for
a community care grant can be found in the
Advice. The Commissioner's Advice is aimed primarily at social fund
practitioners who already have a knowledge of the Social Fund. Back to
- Visit someone who is
- Attend a relative's
- Ease a domestic
- Visit a child who is
with the other parent pending a court decision; or
- Move to suitable
I 've heard that priority makes a difference.
What does this mean?
fund is a budget limited scheme. Each Social Fund District has a fixed annual
budget for its geographical area. The budget is unlikely to be enough to pay
all the eligible applicants for everything they need. Giving each item of
expense a "priority" is the way of sorting out which should be paid. Expenses
that have the most priority are more likely to be paid. Some of the less
important expenses may have to be refused.
Priority depends on how
urgently the person needs the help and what part it will play in promoting
community care in one of the ways described earlier. Decision Makers have to
use their discretion to decide whether something is high, medium or even low
priority. Each case must be considered in its particular circumstances. Some of
the expenses a person needs to meet might be high priority, but others may not.
Or, an item that is high priority in one person's circumstances may be a medium
or low priority in another person's case.
For example, you might
be struggling to cope in your own home and need more and more help from your
family. You have been offered a bungalow near to where your daughter lives.
Living here would be a great help because it's all on one level and your
daughter could visit you everyday. However, it's smaller than your present
Meeting your removal expenses so you can move to the new address
would be higher priority than the cost of buying a smaller sideboard or new
curtains because the ones you have are too long.
The aim is to
pay for expenses of the same level of priority through the financial year. The
Area Decision Maker has to give guidance about the level of priority that can
be met from the budget. Decision Makers have a duty to take this guidance into
account when they decide whether to make a payment.
19 and Journal 8 give more information about the way Social Fund
Inspectors consider priority. Back
What else might affect what I can get?
There are some expenses
that cannot be met by community care grants.
You cannot get
a community care grant, for example,
The full list of
excluded expenses is in Direction 23 and Direction 29. These can be found in
Fund Guide on the DWP website.
- for housing costs
like rent, mortgage payments or repairs and improvements to your home (unless
they are minor);
- for medical items,
spectacles or dental treatment;
- to pay for domestic
assistance or respite care;
- to buy or install a
telephone, or pay call charges; or
- for expenses the
local authority has a statutory duty to meet.
Amount of awards
The minimum that can be awarded
as a community care grant is £30, unless the award is for travelling or
daily living expenses.
Provided it is a reasonable estimate of the cost of
the item or service, you will normally receive the amount you have asked for.
However, if the budget is under pressure, a lower amount may be awarded. The
lower amount should still be enough to allow you to buy a suitable item or
adequate service. The Commissioners Advice on amounts to award gives some
more information about this.
If you and your partner are both
aged under 60 savings of more than £500 will affect how much you can get.
If you or your partner are aged over 60, your savings can be up to £1,000
before they affect how much you can get.
However, you may still be
able to get a community care grant if you have savings over these limits. It
depends how much the Decision Maker would otherwise award and how much your
For example, if you are over 60 and have savings of
£1,450, the Decision Maker would take £450 off the money he would
Say he had decided that you qualify for several high
priority items valued together at £850 and that his district budget can
pay for high priority needs. He would take the £450 off the £850
and award you a grant of £400.Back to