Community Care Grants

If you need financial help to live independently in the community or to ease exceptional pressure on you and your family you may be able to get a Community Care Grant. You don't have to pay it back.

Please note Community Care Grants currently available through the Social Fund will end on 31 October 2016.  New types of support will be available from this time.

Who is eligible?

You can apply for a Community Care grant if you are:

  • already getting Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, State Pension Credit, or payment on account of one of these benefits
  • likely to start getting one of these benefits within the next six weeks because you're moving out of care

and any one of the following applies:

  • you're moving out of residential or institutional care to live independently
  • you're moving to a new home which will be more suitable for you following an unsettled period in your life and are being resettled by an organisation like the Simon Community, Women's Aid, Salvation Army, Extern or Edward Street Hostel
  • you need help to stay in your home and not go into residential care or hospital
  • you need help because you or your family face exceptional pressure, such as family breakdown or because one of you has a long-term illness
  • you look after someone who is ill, or disabled, or has been released from custody on temporary licence
  • you need help with expenses such as visiting someone who is ill, or to go to a relative's funeral

Find out more about the qualifying benefits for Community Care Grants.

How much do you get?

The amount you might get depends on your circumstances.

Effect of savings on awards

The amount of Community Care grant you may get is reduced if you have savings of:

  • over £500 where you and your partner are aged under 63
  • over £1,000 where you and your partner are aged 63 or over

How Community Care Grants are paid

The grant is paid into a bank, building society or other account provider's account.

Effect on other benefits

A Community Care grant doesn't count as income and won't affect other benefits you may be getting.

What it can't be awarded for

You won't get a Community Care grant for:

  • any need which occurs outside the United Kingdom
  • educational or training expenses
  • a distinctive school uniform, sports clothes or equipment
  • travelling expenses to and from school
  • school meals
  • expenses in connection with court or legal proceedings
  • removal charges, expenses or storage charges, where the local authority can help with these
  • domestic help or respite care
  • repairs to NIHE or registered Housing Association property
  • medical, surgical, optical, aural or dental items or services
  • debts to government departments, including tax arrears
  • investments
  • most other housing costs
  • fuel costs, except in certain circumstances
  • expenses of less than £30, except for travelling or daily living expenses
  • work-related expenses
  • cost of buying, renting or installing telephones and call charges
  • daily living expenses such as food and groceries (except in certain circumstances including caring for a prisoner or young offender on release on temporary licence)

You can't usually get a Community Care Grant if you have already asked for the same items or services in the last 28 days.

How to apply

Download a Community Care Grant form

You make a claim by printing out a claim form and filling it in. When you have filled in the form you can either:

  • post it to the office whose details are shown on the form, or
  • hand it in at your nearest Social Security/Jobs & Benefits office

When considering a grant application, the Department for Communities uses the date they received your application form, not the date you downloaded the form.

Ask for a form

You can get Community Care Grant forms from the Department for Communities. Contact one of their offices.

When to apply

You should usually apply straight away. If you're still in residential or institutional care, you can apply up to six weeks before you are due to leave.

What to do if you are unhappy with the decision

If you're unhappy with a Community Care grant decision or award you have the right to ask for a review. You must write to Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office within 28 days explaining why you think the decision was wrong and ask for it to be reviewed.

If after that review you're still unhappy with the outcome, you can ask for a further review by a Social Fund Inspector. The Inspectors are independent from the Department for Communities. The review process is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 12 working days.

You can download the leaflet and claim form, 'How to ask for an independent review' from the Office of the Social Fund Commissioner website.

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