Updated 4 March 2013
Social Fund reform
Changes contained in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 mean that certain elements of the discretionary Social Fund scheme will be abolished in April 2013. New locally based provision will be delivered by local authorities in England and devolved to the Governments of Scotland and Wales. This page provides information and updates on the Social Fund reforms:
Please note that from 24 June 2013 this internet page and the email inbox listed below will no longer be available
This page was developed specifically for the Social Fund Reform to support and provide our partners and stakeholders with information and a means of raising issues on the run-up and implementation of the Social Fund Reform. As this has now gone live – from 1 April 2013 – the Department for Work and Pensions will close this page and the e-mail inbox from 24 June 2013 as we move into ‘business as usual’.
We would like to encourage our external partners to continue working with us via our local Partnership Managers or local single points of contact and continue to develop the working relationships within your local areas. You can link into the Partnership Managers portal by following the link below:
Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans
Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans for general living expenses (including rent in advance) were abolished from 1 April 2013. New local provision will be administered by local authorities in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.
Crisis Loan Alignment Payments
From 1 April 2013 Crisis Loan alignment payments and other Crisis Loans paid due to issues with benefit have been replaced by a new national scheme of Short Term Benefit Advances. This is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Budgeting Loans will continue to be available for claimants in receipt of legacy benefits until Universal Credit is fully rolled out. As people migrate across to Universal Credit they will have access to a new system of Budgeting Advances that will replace Budgeting Loans for Universal Credit recipients.
Social Fund reform, part of the wider welfare reforms, are also part of the Government’s plans for localism. The Welfare Reform Act included powers to end the discretionary elements of the Social Fund
- Welfare Reform Act 2012 and supporting products (Parliament website)
Social Fund Guides
These guides contain the Secretary of State's directions and guidance. They are used by Jobcentre Plus Decision Makers and Independent Social Fund Inspectors
Social Fund Annual Reports
The Secretary of State produces an annual report on the Social Fund.
- 2011-2012 Social Fund Annual Report (332KB)
- 2010-2011 Social Fund Annual Report (1.74MB)
- 2009-2010 Social Fund Annual Report (148KB)
- 2008-2009 Social Fund Annual Report (361KB)
- 2007-2008 Social Fund Annual Report (239KB)
- 2006-2007 Social Fund Annual Report (625KB)
The Scottish Government has introduced the Scottish Welfare Fund. The fund will be held nationally with overarching guidance on criteria but administered by local authorities with a degree local discretion. It will provide Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants.
UK Ministers have agreed with the Scottish Government that the amendment required to devolve competence to administer this scheme is acceptable in policy terms via a s30 order. The Order is subject to clearance by both the UK and Scottish Parliaments.
The Welsh Government has set up a national scheme called the Discretionary Assistance Fund. The scheme is being administered, under contract to the Welsh Government, by Northgate Public Services working in partnership with The Family Fund and Wrexham County Borough Council. It will provide Emergency Assistance Payments and Individual Assistance Payments.
Information on their scheme including who can apply and how to apply can be found here:
Discretionary Social Fund: 2013/14 Budget Allocations
On 26 March 2013 the Government announced the 2013 – 2014 Discretionary Social Fund Budget Allocations.
As Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans were abolished from 1 April 2013, the discretionary Social Fund Budget consists entirely of a national loans budget for the provision of Budgeting Loans. In 2013/14 this will amount to £460.7 million.
The national loans budget is funded exclusively by recoveries from existing loan debt and will continue to provide a national Budgeting Loan scheme until full roll out of Universal Credit to help those still receiving Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Pension Credit.
The Department for Work and Pensions has provided details of the funds to be transferred to upper tier local authorities in England and to the Scottish and Welsh Governments.
The Department will write to them again in Autumn 2013 to inform them of their programme funding for 2014-15.
A copy of the Settlement Letter that went out in August and in December 2012, a table of the budgets allocated and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document can be found below. The date for the transfer of funding will be confirmed as soon as possible.
- Settlement letter (August) (66KB)
- Settlement letter (December) – English Local Authorities (23KB)
- Settlement letter (December) – Devolved Local Authorities (23KB)
- Settlement funding allocation figures (108KB)
- Settlement funding FAQs (updated December 2012) (29KB)
Budgeting and Short Term Benefit Advances
To further support local authorities we have developed an information sheet on Budgeting and Short Term Advances.
If you have any questions about local assistance or suggestions on how we could improve the information on this page please contact us at:
Please note this e-mail inbox will close on 24 June 2013.