The Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF)
The Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) is a discretionary scheme
which aims to help people who are experiencing a crisis or
who need support to live independently in the community.
The fund is administered by local authorities and was set
up in response to changes to the Department for Work and Pensions
(DWP) Social Fund. This means that some of the responsibilities
that used to fall with the DWP are now the responsibility
of local authorities in Scotland. As the SWF provides grants
to people in need it does not have to be paid back.
There is national guidance set up for the whole of Scotland,
but there are some differences in the way the fund operates
locally. For example some local authorities may offer a grant
for a specific item, whereas other may offer assistance in
kind (such as vouchers for food or a store card with money
placed on it).
What does the fund provide?
The Scottish Welfare Fund is made up of two separate
grants – a crisis grant and community care grant.
A community care grant aims to help with the costs that are
involved to remain as independent as possible at home and
prevent the need to for institutional care.
A crisis grant is intended to act as a safety net in a disaster
or emergency, when there is an immediate threat to health
How does the local authority decide who gets help?
If you are on a low income and have no other way to pay for
what you need, you may be eligible for help through the fund.
The main points that the local authority decision makers will
consider are the same for both grants. The four stage process
is as follows:
1. Eligibility for the grant - This involves a number of
checks including your identity, how much savings you have
and whether you have applied to the fund before.
2. Qualifying conditions - They will look at whether your
personal circumstances coordinate with the qualifying conditions
for the grant.
3. Priority - Your application will be given high, medium
or low priority. This will depend on the nature of the problem
that you have and the severity of need.
4. Budget - Depending on the demand for the fund, the decision
maker has to decide whether the budget can be used for high,
medium or low priority applications.
There are specific rules put in place for the types of items
that the fund can help with. For example it cannot be used
to pay off debts.
How do you apply?
A standard application form is used across Scotland; however
each local authority has their own way of administrating this.
This could be face to face, over the phone, on-line or by
downloading and posting a form. To find out how you can apply
to your particular local authority, see the Scottish Government
guidance on this.
If you need help to fill out the form and make a claim you
can ask an independent advice service, such as your local
Citizens Advice Bureau. You could also ask someone else to
apply on your behalf if they have your permission to do so.
Call Silver Line Scotland (0800 4 70 80 90) for advice concerning
your individual situation. Our advice team can discuss with
you possible ways to maximise your income by carrying out
a benefits check and can look into different options for you.
They can also advise about the Scottish Welfare Fund in depth
and can give you information about how to contact your specific
When we talk about improving energy efficiency we mean taking
steps to use less energy while still meeting our needs. There
are steps that we can all take to reduce the amount of energy
we use. By only using what we need‚ we can save money
Reducing your energy use results in smaller bills‚ leaving
you with a greater proportion of your income to spend elsewhere.
Think about how much you spend on energy at the moment. Do
you have to go without other comforts to make your finances
The money you can save by taking common energy efficiency
measures is considerable. Here are some examples:
• Installing cavity wall insulation can save you up
to £320 per year.
• Increasing loft insulation to 250mm can save up to
£120 per year.
• An ‘A’ rated fridge/freezer can cost up
to £37 less per year to run than a less efficient model.
• Draught proofing can save up to £20 per year
insulating your hot-water tank can save up to £20 per
• A single low-energy light bulb can cost up to £4.50
less a year to use than a traditional bulb.
Together‚ these savings are the equivalent of an extra
£10 in your pocket every week.
The savings listed above are based on information issued by
the Home Energy Scotland. The amount you save may vary depending
upon the size and age of your home and how you use energy.
Download Age Scotland's guide to energy efficiency programmes
Energy costs have risen sharply in recent years but you may
be able to save some money by changing your energy supplier.
You still use the same gas pipes and electric cables. The
change will be which company sells you fuel and sends you
Prices are not the only reason to switch. Check which energy
suppliers offer special discounts‚ such as dual-fuel
discounts‚ or other services‚ such as cheaper
You can compare fuel tariffs over the phone or by using online
price comparison websites. Your current energy supplier should
be able to provide you with an annual summary of your fuel
use, making it easy to compare tariffs and get the best deal.
Home Energy Scotland
Alongside looking at ways of maximising your income, increasing
the energy efficiency of your home is an important means of
reducing fuel bills and the threat of falling in to fuel poverty.
Home Energy Scotland can provide information on:
• Free, impartial advice about the best energy-saving
options for your home.
• Details of installers in your area.
• Grants or discounts to help with the cost.
Home Energy Scotland also manages the Energy Assistance Package
on behalf of the Scottish Government. This provides a range
of measures to support those likely to have difficulty paying
their fuel bills or keeping their home sufficiently warm.
Almost everyone can get some form of help, so to find out
what the package can offer you, telephone Home Energy Scotland
on 0800 512 012 or visit www.energyassistancepackage.com.
The package has four stages:
1. Free expert energy advice to anyone who contacts the Energy
Savings Scotland advice centre network on 0800 512 012.
2. Provides benefits and tax credit checks and information
on low cost energy tariffs to those at risk of fuel poverty.
3. Provides a package of standard insulation measures (cavity
wall and loft insulation) to older households and those on
one of a range of benefits.
4. Offers a package of enhanced energy efficiency measures
to those who are most vulnerable to fuel poverty.
AGE SCOTLAND/AGE UK:
Can I take this opportunity to remind members that there
could be some differences between information given by AGE
UK, and Age Scotland, as legislation could be different? However,
AGE Scotland is a group member of AGE UK, and information
will, in the main overlap.
First instance for us; I would suggest that first point of
contact would be Age Scotland at;
Silver Line Scotland 0800 4 70 80 90
For information, advice and friendship, all day, every day.
Call 0845 833 0200 if you want to get involved with our work.
I am sure that they will be able to help with any enquiries
you may have, or point you in the right direction.
For those Silver surfers out there you’ll find both