Welfare Assistance and Benefits

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Date of Request:    24 February 2015  

Date of Disclosure: 17 March 2015

Please find Devon County Council’s response to the questions below;

I am seeking information about the local welfare assistance provision scheme(s) that the council has available for local people to apply to when they are struggling financially and in hardship.

Could you send me details of:

1) The local council welfare assistance provision scheme(s) that people can apply to when they are in hardship. Could you include details of:

– Eligibility criteria

– The information people must provide when applying for assistance

– The methods by which awards are made from the schemes (ie whether people receive cash, or if they are provided directly with pre-paid cards, or the white goods and furniture they require, etc).

– If there are limits to the number of times that people can apply to the scheme(s)

– If people must be formally referred to apply to local welfare provision (for example, by GPs, Jobcentre plus, the probation service, etc)

– The three most common reasons that people apply for local welfare assistance (for example, a lack of furniture because people were recently homeless, a need for food support following job loss, emergency support for vulnerable adults, etc)

– Whether or not everyone who meets eligibility criteria gets assistance. If not, how does the providing authority prioritise applicants?

– Links to information on how people can apply

2) Details of all cash grant and/or cash loan and emergency cash provision schemes if such separate schemes still exist. Please include:

– the name of the scheme(s)

– eligibility details

– the information people must provide when applying

– details of limits to grant or loan amounts

– whether or not there is a limit to the number of times people can apply

– the range of cash grants or loan amounts awarded

– Whether everyone who meets eligibility criteria gets assistance. If not, how does the providing authority prioritise applicants?

– Links to information on how people can apply

3) Details about how often the schemes and their criteria are reviewed

4) Could you also let me know whether people whose benefits have been stopped or sanctioned through jobcentre processes are eligible for help from the council’s local welfare provision schemes, or if they are excluded.

5) I am also seeking comment on the recent government consultation on how local welfare provision should be funded in 2015 to 2016. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/local-welfare-provision-in-2015-to-2016

Could you let me know whether changes to central funding provision as a result of that consultation are likely to change the ways in which local welfare welfare provision will be provided in your area? Is the amount of funding available to local welfare provision likely to be compromised?

6) Are there any awards, grants or provision that are specific to people living in certain areas or wards?

7) Does the council/providing councils have any plans to scale back local welfare provision?

Please note that Devon County Council is not a housing authority, nor are we responsible for issuing or administering welfare grants. As such we do not hold the information requested.  I understand that such matters are the responsibility of each of the District and Unitary Councils in Devon.  I therefore suggest that you contact each of these organisations directly to obtain the information requested.

In the interest of providing you advice and assistance, please find details for each of the district councils in Devon on our website at;

http://www.devon.gov.uk/district_councils.htm

Details for the unitary councils of Plymouth City and Torbay Borough Council are available below;

http://www.devon.gov.uk/unitary_councils.htm