Until April 2013 a UK-wide scheme called the social fund was available to help people on benefits with emergency needs. Since April 2013 this has been replaced by local welfare funds. The only national scheme is for budgeting loans (see below).
In Wales a national scheme has been established by the Welsh Assembly. More information is available on the Discretionary Assistance Fund for Wales website.
The social fund consisted of a number of elements:
Budgeting Loans are available for individuals who need to spread the cost of one-off expensive items such as furniture/household equipment, clothing/footwear, home removal costs and maintenance/improvements. Budgeting Loans must be repaid - they are not an entitlement. You should seek advice if you are considering using these loan schemes.
More information is available from the government’s budgeting loans guide .