Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme

What is the Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme?

The South Worcestershire Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme  provides assistance in the form of goods or vouchers to help individuals or families facing exceptionally difficult circumstances or an emergency.

The scheme will be used to complement other services across South Worcestershire and will not cover needs more appropriately addressed by other funds or benefits – such as Discretionary Housing Payments.

Eligibility criteria will be used to ensure the funds are targeted at the most vulnerable residents with the greatest needs.

All requests will be considered on an individual basis with due account given to the vulnerability and personal circumstances of each applicant.

  • Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme  Policy and Procedure - revised document to follow
  • Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme Support Agency Quick Reference - sheet
  • Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme Step by Step – booklet

What type of support is available?  

Type of Support

Who and What

  Applications                  

Crisis Living Support

This is to meet an unplanned need of a vulnerable person or family in crisis that cannot be met elsewhere, when the health of a member of the household will deteriorate as a result.

It provides emergency food, gas and electricity, baby consumables in the form of vouchers and referrals for white goods.

Goods available per household are:

  • one cooker
  • one fridge (or fridge freezer for families)
  • one washing machine

Cookers,fridges, fridge freezers and washing machines are new.

No choice can be given on the size, type or style of white goods.

A maximum of two applications per 12 month rolling period can be made for each household for food, gas, electricity and nappies and baby milk.

Each voucher awarded counts as one application:

  • Food Voucher is one application

  • Gas Voucher is one application

  • Electric Voucher is one application

  • Nappies & Baby Milk Voucher is one application.

  • Any combination of two vouchers count as two separate applications which will be the maximum claim for the year.

Emergency Food Vouchers will only be provided where needs cannot be met by a local Foodbank.

One application every three years for cooker, fridge (or fridge freezer for families) or washing machine. Any combination of these counts as one application.

Applications from members of the same household will be treated as repeat application.

Settlement Support

 

This is to meet the planned need of a vulnerable person coming out of unsettled or supported accommodation or to prevent them entering an institutional setting.

Goods available per household are: one cooker, one fridge (or fridge freezer for families) and one washing machine.

Cookers, fridges and washing machines are new.

No choice can be given on the size, type or style of goods.

One application every three years for cooker, fridge (or fridge freezer for families) and washing machine. Any combination of these counts as one application.  

Applications from members of the same household will be treated as repeat application.

Key Information about the scheme for prospective applicants

  • You must live in either Worcester City, Malvern Hills or Wychavon district 
  • If you move from a district covered by the scheme to an area out of South Worcestershire you will not be eligible to claim and will need to claim in the area you move to.    
  • You do not have a statutory right to an award, therefore your application may not be successful
  • You must be claiming a means tested benefit and have an up to date award letter 
  • Applications must be for a crisis situation or resettlement  
  • You cannot make an application yourself
  • If you think you are eligible to apply, first contact a support agency or organisation to act on your behalf
  • Applications must be made in normal working hours 9.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday
  • There is no out of hours service
  • No cash payments will be issued; awards will be in the form of goods and vouchers.
  • If you are not in on the day you have arranged for white goods to be delivered you will not be given another delivery date, you will lose the goods and it will still count as one of your applications.
  • If you are not in or you do not have gas or electric on your meter when the contractor comes to fit your cooker you will not be given another day for it to be fitted and you will have to arrange and pay for it yourself

Who do I contact about the scheme?

You cannot apply directly – a supporting agency or organisation must apply on your behalf. This could be a support worker, care worker, health professional such as a mental health worker or health visitor, children's centre, local charity, housing or homelessness support service.

  • Your supporting agency or organisation will complete a quick reference sheet with you
  • Your support agency will call the Worcestershire Hub 01905 722233 option 8 to make the application
  • You must be  with your support agency or organisation whilst your application is  processed as you may have to answer further questions
  • If your support agency or organisations are unable to answer questions on your behalf you risk your application being declined.

This does not include customer contact centres at the Hive or the offices of Malvern Hills District Council and Wychavon District Council.

What happens if my application is declined?  

You can request a second opinion. The request must be made in writing within seven days of the original decision and reasons for a review of the decision must be given, please contact housing@worcester.gov.uk or if urgent call 01905 722589.

A second opinion will be considered by a separate council officer who was not involved in the original decision and the agency will be notified of their decision.

The outcome of the second opinion is final and there is not right to request a review or further appeal.

What if I need furniture?

As of the 1st September 2015 furniture will no longer be available via the Discretionary

Furniture is available via a range of organisations e.g. Armchair, Roundabout and Second Chance Furnishing.

This will be accessed using their own referral processes and not via the DWAS application process.

Please see their website and contact them direct for further information.

What if I don't have a supporting agency or organisation?

If you are ineligible for assistance from the discretionary welfare assistance scheme other organisations my be able to help you, please see the table below for information: 

Who

Organisation

For individuals or families needing re-housing

Your local district/city council

For women or men and families fleeing abuse

For people seeking assistance for food, clothing, furniture but don't qualify under the scheme or are seeking financial assistance advice

You could try your local freecycle or find free impartial online money and benefit advice:

For people who have not had their benefit claim processed /their claim is pending/for people who have been in receipt of income -related benefit for 26 weeks or more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may be eligible for a Short Term Advance or Budget Advance call 0845 6088665 - this is the Benefit Centre, they will be able to take the STBA application over the telephone.

Short Term Advance .When someone makes, or is about to make, a new claim to benefit, they can sometimes encounter a period of financial need before receiving their first payment of benefit. Short-term Advances of benefit will help claimants through that period by providing an advance of their future benefit award, which will then be recovered from subsequent payments of benefit. Short-term Advances will also be available to claimants who have experienced a significant change of circumstances.

Budgeting Loans from the Social Fund are available to income-related benefit claimants who have been in receipt of such benefit for 26 weeks or more. They are intended to help claimants defray intermittent expenses such as needing to buy essential items such as furniture or household equipment, or expenses related to, for example, maternity or starting work.

Information sheet on short-term advances and budgeting advances

For people who need help with their utility bills such as gas,electricity and water

Trust Funds may be able to offer support and advice, grants to clear domestic energy debts, clear other debts or purchase essential household items:

 

For anyone looking for help to quickly find the information they need to claim benefits, access help and support or look for a job or training opportunities. Other services include sections on banking, insurance and how to manage debt.

My Advice Gateway is a free resource which has been built to help you find the information you need quickly and effectively. Links will take you to authoritative advice or the precise application form you need.

There is so much information available on the internet that it can often be a tedious and time consuming activity to search through the mass of advice that is available in order to find the information you need.