Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme

The South Worcestershire Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme provides assistance in the form of goods or vouchers, to help individuals or families facing exceptionally difficult circumstances or an emergency.

You may be able to get help if you live in the Malvern Hills district, Wychavon district or Worcester City and meet certain eligibility criteria.

The scheme will be used to compliment other services across South Worcestershire and will not cover needs more appropriately addressed by other funds or benefits – such as Discretionary Housing Payments or the remaining elements of the Social Fund.

Eligibility criteria will be used to ensure the funds are targeted at the most vulnerable residents with the greatest needs. All requests will be considered on an individual basis with due account given to the vulnerability and personal circumstances of each applicant.

Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme Support Agency Quick Reference - Information sheet

Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme Step by Step Information booklet
Crisis Living Support - this is to meet an unplanned need of a vulnerable person or family in crisis that cannot be met elsewhere, when the health of a member of the household will deteriorate as a result. It provides emergency food, gas and electricity, baby consumables, furniture and white goods.

Settlement Support - This is to meet the planned need of a vulnerable person coming out of unsettled or supported accommodation or to prevent them entering an institutional setting. It provides furniture and white goods.
You must live in the Malvern Hills district, Wychavon district or Worcester city.

If you move from a district covered by the scheme to an area out of South Worcestershire you will not be eligible to claim and will need to claim in the area you move to.

You do not have a statutory right to an award, therefore your application may not be successful.

You must be claiming a means tested benefit and have an up to date award letter .

Applications must be for a crisis situation or resettlement .

You cannot make an application yourself.

If you think you are eligible to apply, first contact a support agency or organisation to act on your behalf.

Applications must be made in normal working hours 9.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

There is no out of hours service.

No cash payments will be issued; awards will be in the form of goods and vouchers.

Unsuccessful applications still count as one of your applications.

If you are not in on the day you have arranged for furniture or white goods to be delivered you will not be given another delivery date, you will lose the goods and it will still count as one of your applications.

If you are not in or you do not have gas or electric on your meter when the contractor comes to fit your cooker you will not be given another day for it to be fitted and you will have to arrange and pay for it yourself.

You cannot apply directly – a supporting agency or organisation must apply on your behalf, this could be a support worker, careworker, health professional such as a mental health worker or health visitor, children's centre, local charity, housing or homelessness support service.

Your supporting agency or organisation will complete a quick reference sheet with you.

Your support agency will call the Worcestershire Hub 01905 722233 to make the application.

You must be with your support agency or organisation whilst your application is processed as you may have to answer further questions.

If your support agency or organisation is unable to answer questions on your behalf you risk your application being declined.

This does not include customer contact centres at the Hive, or the offices of Malvern Hills District Council and Wychavon District Council.
You can request a second opinion; the request must be made in writing within seven days of the original decision and reasons for a review of the decision must be given.

A second opinion will be considered by a separate council officer who was not involved in the original decision, and the agency will be notified of their decision. The outcome of the second opinion is final and there is not right to request a review or further appeal.
For people or families needing re-housing please contact your local district/city council.

For women, men or families fleeing abuse: West Mercia Women's Aid -0800 980 3331, Mankind - 01823 334244.

For people seeking assistance for food, clothing, furniture but don't qualify under the scheme or are seeking financial assistance advice: Malvern Hills freecycle.org, TenburyWellsfreecycle.org, Moneyadvice service, Turn2us .

If you have not had your benefit claim processed or your claim is pending, you may be eligible for a short term advance or budget advance - call 0845 6088665 - this is the Benefit Centre, they will be able to take the STBA application over the telephone.
Worcester City Council is seeking to improve the Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme. If you are an agency who already support residents to apply, would like to support residents to apply, or wish to comment on the scheme please complete and return the following form: Supporting Agency/Organisation registration and comment form.