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Law guide

Community care grants

Contents

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.

Who is eligible?

You can apply for a Community Care Grant if you are either:

  • Already getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit, or payment on account for 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 a local council or voluntary organisation
  • 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 attend a relative's funeral
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 60
  • Over £1,000 where you and/or your partner are aged over 60
How it's paid

The grant is usually paid into your bank, building society, Post Office® or National Savings account that accepts Direct Payment.

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 local authority or housing association homes
  • Medical, surgical, optical, aural or dental items or services
  • Debts to government departments, including tax arrears
  • Investments
  • Council Tax
  • 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 if for caring for a prisoner or young offender on release on temporary licence)
You usually can't get a Community Care Grant if you have already asked for the same items or services in the last 26 weeks.

How to apply

  • Get an application form from your local office or download from www.direct.gov.uk
  • Contact your local Jobcentre Plus or social security office and ask them to send you an application form
  • Or you can download the claim form from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website. The form comes with notes to help you fill it in and explains where to send it
You need to contact your local Jobcentre Plus to find out where to send your form.

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.

How to appeal

If you're unhappy with a Community Care Grant decision or award, you must write to your local Jobcentre Plus or social security office within 28 days of the decision asking them to reconsider.

If you're still unhappy with the outcome, you can ask for a further review by a Social Fund Inspector. The review process is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 12 days.

You can download the leaflet and claim form, 'How to ask for an independent review' from the Independent Review Service website.

Government reform

The Government is currently reviewing the Community Care Grant scheme with a view to replacing it by 2013.