Council buildings are closed to the public. Read the latest information about coronavirus and its impact on services.

Coronavirus – are you entitled to benefits?

The Government has released information about coronavirus and claiming benefits. If you think you might be entitled to universal credit, apply as soon as possible.

Discretionary crisis support scheme

We understand that there will be times when a household with a low income, that can’t access credit, face sudden unexpected costs.

The Hackney discretionary crisis support scheme may be able to help with some of the urgent financial needs not covered by regular social security benefits or tax credit payments.

This help takes the form of one-off payments for emergencies or items that are difficult to budget for, such as:

  • purchasing essential items when setting up a new home (after leaving care, hospital, prison or as part of a resettlement programme)
  • replacing clothing and footwear lost in a disaster
  • rent in advance if not met by the discretionary hardship fund or available through a budgeting loan/budgeting advance from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • providing daily living expenses for families where their money has been lost or stolen
  • providing daily living expenses for households where the usual source of income has been interrupted temporarily
  • reconnection of fuel supply to families in crisis: payment will only be made direct to the utility company to re-establish supply
  • emergency travel expenses

Awards will only be made in exceptional circumstances, for example where there is a danger to the health and well being of the applicant, and where the applicant has no other means of dealing with the crisis.

When assessing that risk we will look at the circumstances behind the application, the household income and savings, and other specialist care and/or support that may be available.

Funding for the scheme is fixed and cannot be exceeded. Once all the money available has been spent no application can be accepted regardless of the merits involved. Households in the greatest need will be prioritised for awards.

If you have claimed a DWP benefit and are waiting for a payment, you should not apply for Hackney discretionary crisis support. You should first go to your local Job Centre Plus and ask to apply for a short term benefit advance.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to everyone, apart from:

  • people under 16
  • people who are subject to immigration control, including asylum seekers, people who have been refused leave to remain and those with no recourse to public funds
  • people who have their daily living needs provided for them, i.e. a person in hospital or a care home, a prisoner, a member of a religious order, a person in relevant education, unless they are about to leave and return to the local community
  • applications from full time students/student households will only be accepted in emergency cases and/or because of a disaster

How to apply

If you need advice and guidance on how to apply to the Hackney discretionary crisis support scheme please call our customer service line on 0208 356 3000 and ask to apply for discretionary crisis support. Our customer service team will help you through the process and are able to take your details over the phone.

Alternatively you can visit us in person at Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, Hackney, E8 1DY. However, due to coronavirus  we recommend you make a phone application where possible.

Page updated on: 20 March 2019