Examples of situations where support grants may be considered are:
- expenses that will enable you, a member of your family or someone you are going to care for, get established in the community following a stay in institutional or residential care or to stay in the community rather than go into care
- to help you or your partner care for a prisoner or young offender who is on home leave
- to support you in setting up home as part of a planned resettlement programme if you have been homeless or in prison.
A support grant does not have to be repaid but, due to the limited funds available to us, it can only be awarded to provide assistance in the most serious situations where no other source of funding is available.
Who can apply for support grants?
You can apply for a support grant if you:
- are aged 16 or over
- are in receipt or about to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit, such as income-based jobseeker's allowance or employment support allowance, income support or pension credit
- have been resident in the borough for at least six weeks before making your application or are about to be placed into accommodation within the borough as part of a planned programme of resettlement (this also includes those people who are placed into accommodation within another local authority by Lewisham’s Housing Options Team as a discharge of housing duty).
The maximum amount that you could be awarded is £1,000, but the value of any grant may be reduced if you or your partner has capital, such as savings, of more than £500 (or £1,000 if one of you is of pension age).
You will not be able to apply for another support grant if you have already received one in the last twelve months. If you are applying for a grant to meet the need for a service that is already provided by us, then you will be expected to apply directly to the relevant department.
What is not included in the scheme?
Certain groups of people are excluded from the support grant scheme and cannot make an application. These include:
- people in hospital or care homes, unless they are due to be discharged in the next two weeks
- prisoners who are either being held in prison or are on home leave
- members of religious orders that have all their accommodation and living costs met
- students in full-time education (unless they are receiving qualifying benefits)
- most people who are subject to immigration control.
Some expenses are always excluded from the support grant scheme. These include:
- any expenses outside the UK
- the costs of a school uniform, travelling expenses to and from school or school meals
- medical costs or expenses that could be covered by a maternity payment
- housing and fuel costs
- other travel expenses
- funeral payments.
Receiving your decision
The timescales for making decisions is nine working days.
How will my grant be paid?
If your application is successful, then you could receive your grant in two different ways:
- a locally-sourced, replacement item, such as a fridge or wardrobe (all second-hand items will have been safety checked and guaranteed for a minimum of sixty days where necessary)
- a voucher or pre-paid card equal to the value of the award, which can be used at specific high-street stores to purchase the items you need (you will be provided with full instructions about how to use your card).
The decision about how your grant is awarded will be made by us on an individual basis, depending on your circumstances.