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Discretionary Support Fund in Northern Ireland

Short-term financial help is available in Northern Ireland from the Finance Support Service as a:

  • Discretionary Support self-isolation grant
  • Universal Credit Contingency Fund short-term living expenses grant
  • Discretionary Support
  • Short-term benefit advance
  • Social Fund budgeting loan 
  • Social Fund Sure Start Maternity grant

Discretionary Support during Coronavirus

During Covid19 a non-repayable tax-free Discretionary Support Self Isolation Grant may be available to help with short term living expenses if you are on a low income and are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of being told to self-isolate.

You can claim if you, or any member of your immediate family, is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is advised to self-isolate. You can also claim if you are a full-time student suffering financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19.

The support will help to cover expenses (for example a short term supply of groceries) from the day you apply to the day before you next receive income (for example a benefit payment) or longer if your decision maker agrees.

The amount will depend on the number of people in your household as well as the period of financial need and other individual circumstances.

You must have an extreme, exceptional or crisis situation which places you or your immediate family’s health, safety or wellbeing at significant risk and your annual income, including the income of your partner, must not be above the national living wage for your age.

You can apply for more than one Discretionary Support Self Isolation grant if you continue to experience financial difficulties as a result of self-isolation.

Apply to the Finance Support Service.

Further areas of support from the Finance Support Service

The NIdirect website provides further details of the Universal Credit Contingency Fund short-term living expenses grant, Short-term benefit advance, Social Fund budgeting loan, Social Fund Sure Start Maternity grant and other areas of Discretionary Support.

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