Money Wellness
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Government cost-of-living help in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and you’re struggling with the rising cost of living, you may be able to get government help. 

Wales: discretionary assistance fund

People living in Wales may be able to get help from the discretionary assistance fund. This fund offers two types of grant:  

1. Emergency assistance payment  

The emergency assistance payment is a grant for essentials such as food, energy, clothing or vital travel if you: 

  • are in extreme financial hardship; or 
  • have lost your job; or 
  • have applied for benefits and are waiting for your first payment 

To qualify, you must: 

  • live in Wales 
  • be over 16 
  • have no savings  
  • have considered all forms of responsible lending e.g. credit unions  

2. Individual assistance payment 

The individual assistance payment is a grant to help you or a person you care for live independently. You can use it to pay for:  

  • white goods e.g. fridge, washing machine, cooker  
  • furniture e.g. bed, sofa, chairs 

To qualify, you must: 

  • live in Wales 
  • be over 16 
  • have no savings  
  • have considered all forms of responsible lending e.g. credit unions
  • be getting a qualifying benefit 

You must also fall into one of the following groups: 

  • You are leaving a care home, hospital, prison or foster care after at least three months to live independently 
  • You want to stay living in the community rather than going into hospital or a care home 
  • You have been living an unsettled way of life and are now setting up your own home 
  • You need to move quickly due to domestic violence
  • You are giving a home to a prisoner or young offender released on temporary licence 

You can apply for these payments on the Welsh government’s website. 

Scottish welfare fund

If you live in Scotland may be able to get help from the Scottish welfare fund. There are a number of grants available. The two main ones are: 

1. Crisis grant 

You can get this to cover the cost of emergencies such as: 

  • Needing help to get food or cover heating costs 
  • A flood or fire at your home 
  • Losing money
  • You need to escape domestic violence 

To qualify, you must: 

  • be over 16 
  • live in Scotland 
  • be on a low income (but not necessarily on benefits) 

 2. Community care grant 

You can get this to help you or a person you care for to start to live, or carry on living, a settled life in the community. For example, if: 

  • you’re leaving care or prison 
  • you’ve been homeless
  • you need help staying out of care
  • you’re escaping domestic abuse
  • a child’s health is at risk
  • you’re caring for someone who’s been released from prison or a young offender’s institution 

To qualify, you must: 

  • be over 16 
  • live in Scotland 
  • be on a low income (but not necessarily on benefits) 

You need to apply for these grants through your local council. 

Northern Ireland: Finance Support Service

If you live in Northern Ireland, you may be able to get help from the Finance Support Service. They support people who need money to help with short-term financial problems. 

Two of the grants available are: 

1. Discretionary support 

This provides money for short-term living costs or household items such as: 

  • food
  • basic household items e.g. cooker
  • travel expenses
  • rent 

To qualify, you must: 

  • be in crisis
  • live in Northern Ireland (and the crisis must have happened in Northern Ireland)
  • be over 18 (or 16 if you don’t have parental support)
  • have an annual household income of no more than £22,230 

 2. Universal credit contingency fund short-term living expenses grant 

This can be used to help with the cost of living while you wait for your first full universal credit payment. 

It can be used to cover things like: 

  • food 
  • toiletries 
  • topping up your energy meter
  • cleaning materials 

To qualify, you must: 

  • be in crisis 
  • live in Northern Ireland (and the crisis must have happened in Northern Ireland) 
  • be over 18 (or 16 if you don’t have parental support)
  • not have has a grant for living expenses in the past 12 months
  • have an annual household income of no more than £22,230 

You can apply for these grants on the Northern Ireland government’s website. 

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