Crisis grants

Crisis grants are a means tested grant available through the Scottish Welfare Fund to help meet the short term financial needs of people who are facing a disaster or emergency. They are administered by local authorities.

Although housing costs are excluded advisers may find this section of help where a client requires short terms funds, for example clients facing destitution or those fleeing domestic violence where there they have no access to money.

This content applies to Scotland


Crisis Grants aim to help people facing a disaster or emergency. [1]

  • A disaster might mean a fire or a flood

  • An emergency, for example, running out of food due to a sudden loss of income


Crisis grants may be available to anyone aged 16 or over and on a low income. [2] An applicant does not have to be in receipt of benefits to apply. [3]

A crisis grant cannot normally be paid: [4]

  • Where the applicant has applied for the same items or services in the last 28 days

  • More than three times in any 12 month period.

Excluded expenses

Some expenses are excluded from being paid for via crisis grants, including: [5]

  • school uniform and meals,

  • medical costs,

  • housing costs,

  • debts

  • expenses that could be covered by a maternity grant or funeral payment.

Applications and decisions

Applications must be made directly to the local authority. See the Scottish government pages Scottish welfare fund – apply for details of how to apply in each local authority area.

Decisions about crisis grants should be made no later than the end of the next working day after the local authority has got all the information it needs to make a decision. [6]

The local authority should advise of its decision as quickly as possible and may phone, text or email to do this. This should be followed up by a decision in writing.

Applicants have 20 days to request a review if they are unhappy with the decision. [7]

Last updated: 6 February 2018


  • [1]

    s.2(1) Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act 2015

  • [2]

    reg.4 and 5 Welfare Funds (Scotland) Regulations 2016 SSI 2016/107

  • [3]

    s.8.23 Scottish Welfare Fund Statutory Guidance – February 2018

  • [4]

    reg.8 and 9 Welfare Funds (Scotland) Regulations 2016 SSI 2016/107

  • [5]

    Annex A. Scottish Welfare Fund Statutory Guidance – February 2018

  • [6]

    s.4(3) Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act 2015

  • [7]

    s.14 Welfare Funds (Scotland) Regulations 2016 SSI 2016/107