Welfare Reform - Local Welfare Provision
At the end of March 2013, Crisis Grants and Community Support Grants are being abolished as part of the government's Welfare Reform. Birmingham City Council will introduce a new 'local welfare provision' scheme from April 2013.
The new scheme will provide vulnerable people with financial assistance in the form of crisis payments and community support grants for essential household items.
There will be two elements as follows:
Crisis Grants are designed to meet expenses that cannot be met from another source, that have arisen as a consequence of a disaster and must be the only way of preventing or mitigating serious risk to health or safety to the applicant or a member of their immediate family. Payments would routinely be made to cover the following risks:
- no access to essential needs (food and heating)
- children being taken into care
- breakdown of the family unit
- imminent deterioration in health
Community Support Grant
Community Support Grants (CSG) are intended to help vulnerable people live as independent a life as possible in the community. CSGs can be considered where the applicant lives in Birmingham, receives benefits and is moving into independent living.
CSGs are also available to people if they are leaving accommodation in which they received significant and substantial care and supervision. Such customers must also be expected to receive a "passported" benefit (as above) when they leave the accommodation.
Further more information, read our page on local welfare provision.
Welfare Reform - Checklist
You can use the checklist below to prepare for some of the Welfare Reform changes.
- Check whether I have to pay because I am under-occupying my property by using the online tool
- Check whether I will be affected by the Benefit Cap
- Set up a Basic Bank Account in preparation for Universal Credit
- Download or use an online budget planner to help me budget
- Set up Direct Debit to pay my rent now or in the future
Further advice and guidance
If you are a Birmingham City Council tenant, you can get advice on how you are affected by contacting the Rent Service on 0121 675 2006. They can discuss the options available to you, or refer you to a free independent debt advice service.
If you are not a Birmingham City Council tenant, you should contact your landlord directly.
If you're worried that the benefit changes will reduce the money you have coming in, it's a good idea to start thinking ahead. Use the links below to help you plan and get further online advice.
Loan Sharks - Find out how to get help if you have been affected by illegal money lenders (also known as loan sharks).
Benefit Calculator - Get an estimate of what benefits you could get (including Housing Benefit).
Make a Housing Benefit claim online - If you are having problems paying your rent or Council Tax, then you might be able to get help towards paying these bills.
Report a change in circumstances to Benefits - If your circumstances have changed report this online to Benefit Services.
The Money Advice Service - Carry out a free online money health check or use some of the other helpful online tools, such as the money stretcher calculator.
Citizens Advice Bureau - Get free online advice on your rights including benefits, housing, employment, debt and legal matters.
Birmingham City Council Debt Advice Service - The Debt Advice Team takes a realistic and practical approach to helping people who are experiencing severe debt problems.
Department of Work and Pensions - Get information on benefits, pensions and jobs.
Citysave Credit Union - This is a community based financial organisation. It offers accounts such as savings, bill payment and budgeting and loans.