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Grants, loans, savings & welfare assistance schemes

5 mins read

This advice applies across the UK.

Information about charity grants you might be able to apply for, local welfare schemes and budgeting loans/advances.

In this article


Contact does not give grants or financial help.

Many charities will give grants to families in order to help with things like specialist equipment, therapies, essential items, and holidays. This can range from small local charities to large national organisations such as The Family Fund.

Before looking into grants or funding, you might be better taking our Turn2Us benefits check to make sure you’re claiming what you’re entitled to.

Our grants search tool

Find out about grants and financial help by using our Turn 2Us grants search tool, below.

Online grants search

Find out about grants and financial help by using our Turn 2Us grants search tool, below.

Online grants search

Our grants list

We have a summary list of charities that offer grants and funding for certain occupations, disabilities or geographical areas. Many charities do not accept applications directly from individual families and you may need a professional such as a GP, teacher or social worker to make the initial application.

Please check eligibility criteria before applying for any financial help.

Local welfare assistance schemes

If you are on a low income and you’re struggling financially, your local authority might offer grants, loans or assistance in kind.

In England, the type of help available and who qualifies varies from council to council. Ask your local Citizens Advice whether there is a welfare assistance scheme in your area and how you apply.

In Scotland, there is a nationwide system of grants under the Scottish Welfare Fund, including crisis grants to help in an emergency. In Wales, there are emergency assistance payments towards essential costs via the Discretionary Assistance Fund. In Northern Ireland, discretionary grants towards short term living costs can be made by the Finance Support Service.

Some energy suppliers also provide grants to customers with fuel debts.

Budgeting loans

If you have been in receipt of certain means tested benefits for at least six months, you can apply for an interest-free budgeting loan from JobCentre Plus to meet the costs of certain essential items. Budgeting loans have been replaced by budgeting advances for those on Universal Credit.

Any help that you get from a budgeting loan or a budgeting advance needs to be repaid from your ongoing benefit payments. This will be done gradually over time.

Help with savings: Help to Save

Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit claimants can open a government Help to Save savings account.

Under this scheme, savers can pay in up to £50 each month and receive 50p for every £1 they save over four years. Bear in mind that any savings you have can affect other benefits you’re entitled to.

The scheme is also open to people claiming Child Tax Credit but eligible for Working Tax Credit.

Which Child Tax Credit claimants are eligible for Working Tax Credit?

As a Child Tax Credit claimant, you will be treated as “eligible” for Working Tax Credit if:

  • You are working 16 hours a week or more.

And you either:

  • Are a lone parent.
  • Have a partner who is eligible for Carer’s Allowance.

Otherwise, couples must normally be working at least 24 hours a week between them (with one partner working at least 16 hours).

How does it work?

You can save between £1 and £50 each calendar month. You do not have to pay money in every month.

You’ll get a 50% bonus on your highest savings amount at the end of two years. Two years later, you’ll receive another 50% bonus. This will be on the difference between the highest savings amount in years 3-4 and the highest savings amount in years 1-2.

You can make withdrawals at any time. You’ll still get the bonus on the highest amount reached in the account, rather than the amount remaining at the end of the two years.

Here’s an example:

After two years, you’ve saved £720 by paying in £30 each month. You’ll receive a bonus of £360, which is 50% of £720.

In the next two years, you bring your savings up to £1,200, then withdraw £200. At the end of year 4, there is £1,000 in your account. You’ll still get a 50% bonus on the difference between £1,200 and £720, which is £480. Your second bonus will be worth £240.

After four years, your account will close.

Find out more about Help to Save.

Help with Council Tax

You might be eligible for the Council Tax Disability Reduction Scheme or a Council Tax discount.

See more information about help with Council Tax.

Funeral and maternity grants

People on certain benefits may be eligible for a grant if they are responsible for the costs of a funeral or have recently given birth or adopted a child.

Find out more about Funeral Expenses Payment

Find out more about Sure Start Maternity Grant (not in Scotland)

Find out more about Pregnancy and Baby Grant (Scotland only)