Crisis Loans

If you need financial help with an emergency or disaster you may be able to get a Crisis Loan. You will have to pay a Crisis Loan back, but you will not have to pay interest. Find out more, including how to apply.

Please note Crisis Loans 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 Crisis Loan if you:

  • are aged 16 or over
  • you don't have enough money to meet your (or your family's) immediate short term needs in an emergency or as the result of a disaster
  • think there will be serious damage or risk to your (or your family's) health or safety without the loan

A Crisis Loan can help cover the following short term needs:

  • meeting daily living expenses
  • rent in advance
  • board/lodging charges
  • residential charges for a hostel
  • pre-paid meter fuel debt
  • travel expenses if you are stranded away from home
  • household items

A Crisis Loan can also help if either of the following applies:

  • you have suffered a disaster like a fire or flood that has caused a lot of damage and you need help to meet other expenses like replacing household items and clothing
  • you’ve been awarded a Community Care Grant because you're moving out of institutional or residential accommodation and don't have enough money to pay advance rent to a private landlord
  • Community Care grants  

How much do you get?

There is no set amount for a Crisis Loan. The amount you may be able to borrow will depend on:

  • your individual circumstances
  • any savings you have
  • whether you have any unpaid loans from the Social Fund

How Crisis Loans are paid

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

How do you repay it?

If you qualify for a Crisis Loan you'll need to agree how you are going to pay it back.

An adviser at your Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office will talk to you and agree a repayment plan with you that you can afford. If you're on benefit, the loan is normally repaid out of your normal benefit payments.

You don't have to pay interest on a Crisis Loan, which means you only repay the amount you borrowed.

Effect on other benefits

A Crisis Loan does not count as income and will not affect other benefits you are getting.

How to apply

There are three ways to apply for a Crisis Loan:

1. To apply for a Crisis Loan contact your local Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office

2. Use the Crisis Loans Claim Line

You can also use the Crisis Loan Claim Line. A Social Fund officer will process your claim over the telephone however please note that if your application is about living expenses other than alignment to benefit or wages.

For example you have lost your money, and it is your third such application within a 12 month period, you may be required to go to a face to face interview at your local Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office in order to have your application taken.

3. Download a Crisis Loan form to print off and complete

You can make a claim by either completing a form online and printing it out or you can download your form and fill it in by hand. Your completed form should then either be:

  • posted to your local Social Security / Jobs & Benefits office
  • handed into your local Social Security / Jobs & Benefits office

Crisis Loan form

Important: The date the claim form is received in a Department for Communities office is the date we can consider payment from - not the date you downloaded the claim form. If your need is very urgent you should contact your local office or use the claim line instead.

How to request a review

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

If 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 in the case of items, and no longer than 24 hours in the case of living expenses

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