Discretionary crisis support scheme

We understand there are times when residents suffer sudden financial shocks, face unexpected costs and require emergency help.

To meet this need, we’ve set up the Hackney Discretionary Crisis Support Scheme (HDCSS) which provides one off payments for emergencies or items that are difficult to budget for, and are not covered by normal social security benefits.

Currently due to the coronavirus pandemic more residents have had their income affected, are facing financial hardship, and need support to meet their immediate needs.

In response the Council have increased the HDCSS budget by an additional £500,000 to help those residents impacted by coronavirus, and recognise that due to the unprecedented impact of coronavirus residents might need support with a wider range of costs and items than usual

The main types of help the scheme covers are listed on this page. However we recognise individual support needs vary, and the list is not meant to be exclusive. Just because an item is not listed below does not mean the request will be refused if the item is reasonably required to meet imminent need.

We consider all requests made on an individual basis. So if you require help with something not listed below, please still get in touch. We may be able to help you, or direct you to other sources of assistance to meet your need.

The HDCSS scheme broadly offers support for the following:

Help with basic living needs

this would include small one off awards to cover items necessary for day to day living such as:

  • food and essential household items, including items for personal care and hygiene
  • utilities including gas, and electricity reconnection
  • help with essential clothing and footwear

Help with digital access and support

This would cover items that help people keep contact with essential services and support networks, given that public offices are closed, and public computer access is restricted. We can therefore help with essential costs items like:

  • mobile phone top ups including data costs
  • maintaining phone, broadband and internet access
  • replacing essential computer equipment where absolutely necessary

Help with emergency travel

This would include travel costs for a close family funeral, or help with transport to access essential services.

Help with community assistance

We can help with items to help you remain in your home or move into a new home such as:

  • essential appliances and white goods such as a Cooker, fridge, freezer or washing machine.
  • bedding, mattresses and furniture,
  • in some cases floor coverings like lino and carpets
  • rent in advance and deposits for new tenancies where this is not met by discretionary hardship payments

During the coronavirus outbreak other items will be considered on the basis of need as required where they are deemed essential.

Awards are normally only made in exceptional circumstances, for example where there is a danger to the health and or well being of the applicant, and the applicant has few resources to deal with the crisis.

All requests for help will be considered based on 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.

Page updated on: 20 May 2020