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Applying for a crisis grant

You can apply for a crisis grant if you're on a low income, and cannot afford essentials in an emergency.

Check if you can get a grant

You’re eligible if you’re 16 or over, and on a low income.

You do not have to be getting any benefits to receive a grant.

If you’ve received a crisis grant before

Unless your circumstances have changed, you usually cannot get:

  • more than 1 grant within 28 days

  • more than 3 crisis grants within 12 months

What you can use the grant for

The crisis grant can cover costs in an emergency, including:

  • food, clothing or heating costs

  • if there’s a fire or flood in your home

  • getting your gas or electricity reconnected

  • living expenses while you wait for a first benefit payment

  • travel expenses

You cannot use the grant for rent or a deposit.

How to apply for a grant

Apply for the grant through your local council.

Check where to apply on

Most councils will tell you their decision within 2 days. If it’ll take longer, the council should tell you when you apply.

If your application is refused

You can ask the council to review their decision. You should:

  • write to the council within 20 days of the decision

  • explain why you think their decision was wrong

  • send the letter to the address on your decision letter

The council should let you know the outcome of the review within 15 days.

If you need help getting a review, contact a benefits adviser at Citizens Advice.

Other help that is available

To pay for household items, clothing and moving costs, apply for a community care grant.

If you’re getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and need help with rent or a deposit, apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

There may be other charitable grants available. Use Turn2Us to search for grants in your area.

If you get certain benefits and need help with unexpected costs, you can apply for a budgeting loan or budgeting advance. Because these are loans, you'll need to pay the money back.

If you're struggling in an emergency, help is available. Check Citizens Advice’s emergency help on a low income.

You can search for a foodbank in your area on the Trussell Trust website. Ask the foodbank to tell you which local organisations can give you a referral voucher.

You can also search for an independent food bank on the Independent Food Aid Network website.

Last updated: 4 October 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England