Select Committee on Social Security Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Welfare Rights Unit, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (SF 16)

  The Welfare Rights Unit of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council have made the following observations with regards to the Social Fund.

  1.  Claimants are not given forms in the first instance by local offices on the basis that it is considered that they don't fulfil the criteria.

  2.  Grants and loans are now claimed on separate forms. This means that many claimants may only apply for a loan without then being considered for a grant even though they fit the directions.

  3.  Severely disabled claimants are refused grants on the basis that they are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. The Social Fund Officer often considers this to be adequate alternative resources to cover the expense of the item/s applied for. This means that the most severely disabled of claimants are not likely to be considered for grants.

  4.  There appears to be more refusals of grants over recent months where the applicant has a very strong case for being awarded a grant, e.g. A severely disabled lone parent applied for a bed for her disabled young child who was also incontinent. This was turned down.

  5.  Offices where review interviews are held are often inaccessible because they cover such a wide area, e.g. a 20 miles round trip is common in this area.

  I hope this is useful and I attach comments from a local housing support organisation for the homeless young people.

A. Hunt

Welfare Rights Officer

January 2001


Letter sent to Audrey Hunt, Welfare Rights Unit, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council from Dewis Limited


  Over the past few months as an organisation, we have noticed that claims submitted to the Social Fund have not been awarded.

  Dewis only works with young people who are homeless, threatened with homelessness, leaving care or custody.

  The supported accommodation we manage is allocated on the basis that the young person needs support to manage and maintain a tenancy. The young person must agree to take the support before the tenancy is offered and they each have individually prepared support plans which are regularly reviewed.

  When the young person is assessed as being ready to manage general needs accommodation, then we work with them to access this. All accommodation provided by Dewis is fully furnished and any move on accommodation is usually unfurnished. In the case of it being unfurnished, then a grant from the Social Fund would be applied for.

  I am enclosing copies of the supporting evidence Dewis provides, the letter received stating why the Community Care Grant had not been awarded and the letter requesting a review of the decision.[28]

  Following the review, a grant was awarded but the timescale involved meant that the four week Housing Benefit on two properties had expired.

  I hope this makes sense to you, if you need me to clarify any point then please contact me.

Sue Prosser

3 January 2001

  P.S. Why do the Social Fund insist that all reviews take place in Morriston? It is difficult for young people to get to this office.

28   Not submitted. Back

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