There are a number of Discretionary Support Grants and Loans available to people living in Northern Ireland who find themselves under exceptional pressure to provide for their family or a crisis that puts their families’ health, safety or wellbeing at significant risk.
If your application is successful you could be offered a grant or a loan.
More information on the types of support available can be found here: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/finance-support
Universal Credit Contingency Fund
The Universal Credit Contingency Fund is a non-repayable grant to cover living expenses if you find yourself in financial difficulty at any stage between applying for Universal Credit and receiving full payment of your first award – subject to meeting eligibility criteria.
Discretionary Support Grant – Items for new home
One Discretionary Support grant to provide assistance to a person or their immediate family to allow them to remain or begin living independently in the community may be awarded to a person in any rolling 12-month period.
In addition, one Discretionary Support grant for living expenses may be awarded to a person in any rolling 12-month period if they do not have the ability to repay a loan or if their current government debt is above £1,500.
A Discretionary Support award will depend on each person’s individual circumstances and, if appropriate, their household. The type of award a person receives for example, a Discretionary Support Loan or a Discretionary Support Grant will be determined by the Discretionary Support decision maker after they have taken full account of the person’s individual circumstances. It is not possible for the person making the application to determine this in advance.
To be eligible for Discretionary Support:
- you must have an extreme, exceptional or crisis situation which places you or your immediate family’s health, safety or wellbeing at significant risk;
- you must live in Northern Ireland;
- help cannot be provided if your crisis occurs outside Northern Ireland;
- you must be either: over 18 years old – at least 16 years old (if you do not have any parental support);
- your annual income, including the income of your partner, must not be more than £24,382 per year (some types of income are not taken into account when assessing this figure and reductions can be made for expenses such as housing costs);
- any money including savings you or your partner have may be taken into account when making an award;
- you cannot be awarded more than three Discretionary Support loans, one grant for living expenses and one grant for household items in a 12-month period, except in the case of a disaster;
- if you receive Discretionary Support for an item such as a washing machine or mattress, you cannot receive another award for the same item in the same 24-month period, except in the case of a disaster;
- if you and your partner (if you have one) have total government debt of £1,500 or more, you will not be able to get a Discretionary Support loan.
How to apply for Discretionary Support
You can apply for a Discretionary Support grant or loan or a Short Term Benefit Advance online at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/claim-discretionary-support
Or by telephoning:
Freephone 0800 587 2750
Textphone 0800 587 2751
- Personal details: eg national insurance number, bank account details
- about the items you wish to claim for, eg a bed, bed linen, a cooker
- about your income, eg benefits, wages; expenditure, eg electricity, phone; and current debt.
NB: PLEASE NOTE APPLICATIONS TAKE APPROXIMATELY 60-90 MINS