Important Notice - May 2022
We are currently experiencing very high demand for our services and there may be a delay in responding to your application.
Please note, we aim to respond to applications within three working days for applications for financial assistance and five working days for applications for assistance with white goods and furniture.
Applications can be submitted during the week between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
This scheme cannot provide any replacement white goods or furniture.
All awards are discretionary, and all applications will be subject to financial assessment and qualifying criteria.
- About the fund
- What help is available
- Who can get help
- Who cannot get help
- Applying at a Citizens Advice Office
- Where can I find out more?
- How to apply
- Making a complaint
About the fund
The Surrey Crisis Fund is a discretionary fund run by Surrey County Council. It has been running since 1 April 2013, and was formerly known as the Local Assistance Scheme. It provides financial help to Surrey residents who have nowhere else to turn in an emergency or following a disaster. It also can provide assistance to set up a home in the community where no other funds or resources are available.
What help is available?
The fund can provide support for immediate needs after a disaster or in an emergency, where no other options are available. We may be able to assist with:
- food and toiletries
- essential white goods and furniture; please note we do not provide replacement items
- certain utilities
- emergency travel costs (hospital appointments, job interviews, etc)
Other support may be available and this will be considered when you apply.
Repeat applications will be considered but the fund aims to support people for one occasion and signpost to long-term help to prevent ongoing need.
If you are experiencing difficulties with debt, we are unfortunately not able to help directly but there is advice and support available at the Breathing Space debt support page.
We do not help with the following:
- Replacement white goods
- Replacement furniture
- School uniforms
- Boiler replacements or repairs
- Removal and storage costs
- Television or satellite cost or repair
- TV license
- Housing costs; arrears or rent, or repairs
- Costs normally met by state support or benefits including Universal Credit
- Installation of a telephone or telephone line
- Costs associated with care provision
- Non-essential white goods and domestic appliances
- Utility, tax or insurance bills
Who can get help from the Surrey Crisis Fund?
To be eligible for the fund you must be:
- at least 16 years old
- able to prove that you are a Surrey resident or prove that you intend to live in Surrey within the next 28 days
- on a means-tested benefit or unable to access sufficient funds
You must also need:
- emergency funds to meet the basic needs of yourself or your dependents and/or:
- support to set up a home in the community
Support to set up a home in the community may be available where:
- you are moving into a partially furnished or unfurnished property and
- do not have basic essential household items/white goods and
- do not have the means to provide these items for yourself.
There may be other exceptional circumstances which can be considered when you apply.
Applications for white goods/household items will be considered no more than one week prior to the tenancy start date.
If you are in need of emergency funds because you are waiting for your next benefit payment, before you apply to the Surrey Crisis Fund you must first ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at a Jobcentre Plus office if you qualify for a Budgeting Loan, or if you are on Universal Credit, a Budgeting Advance.
If you are applying for Universal Credit for the first time and you are in need of assistance you must apply for a Universal Credit Advance; you will need to discuss this with your Jobcentre Plus advisor and you may be asked for evidence of this discussion.
Who cannot get help from the fund?
If your benefit payments have been sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) then you will not qualify for assistance. In this instance you must contact Jobcentre Plus to apply for a Hardship Payment, your eligibility for this will be assessed by the DWP. If you do not agree with your sanction you should appeal this decision to the DWP.
Applying through Citizens Advice
Currently, due to the ongoing pandemic, most Citizens Advice offices are closed for face-to-face drop in access, but clients can still access support from Citizens Advice by email and phone and some Citizens Advice offices may be able to offer limited face to face appointments. You can find your local office's contact details on the Citizen Advice Bureau website, if you require help with making an application.
If you are unable to get help with your application from Citizens Advice, please email us.
If you cannot send an email, please contact the Surrey Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008, and they will take your details and pass them to us. Calls to 03 numbers from any network will cost no more than those to 01 and 02 numbers and count as part of any call package. The cost of calls per minute depends on the network. Please check with your provider. BT customers may be able to call 03 numbers for free.
Where can I find out more?
Please read the Surrey Crisis Fund policy. If you have a general enquiry about the scheme, please send an us an email and someone from the team will be in touch within two working days.
How do I apply?
If you are applying for financial assistance, we will aim to contact you within three working days; if you are applying for assistance with furniture and/or white goods, we will aim to contact you within five working days. We will call between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
APPLICATIONS ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED
If you have a disability that prevents you from using our online form, please call the Surrey Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008.
You will be called from 0331 143 5555; please save this number in your phone as Surrey Crisis Fund to avoid our calls being ignored. If we cannot speak to you after three attempts, your claim will be rejected and you will need to reapply if still in emergency need.
You cannot call us, but can email us at email@example.com if you would like a call at a specific time; we cannot guarantee that we will call you 'on the dot' but will do our best to call around that time.
Please note: Never use the copy/paste function to enter information in the form. If you do this, the system may not recognise that you have completed that field and may not allow you to continue. If you have done this you will need to remove the information from the form and re-enter it before continuing.
Once you have submitted your online application, you (or your representative) must be available by telephone between the hours of 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. This will enable us to complete your application and make a decision on any help we can provide. If you have no access to a working telephone, please visit your local Citizen's Advice Office for assistance.
This is an emergency service, therefore if you are not available for us to speak to within two working days, your application will be cancelled and you will need to make a new application.
If you are applying on behalf of someone else: Please ensure you understand what we can help with and that you have permission from that person to apply to the Surrey Crisis Fund. Please ensure all information entered is accurate and up to date, as any errors may result in a delay to the application. Please also ensure that the person is aware that an application has been made and is expecting our call to complete the application.
Please Note: The Surrey Crisis fund officers are here to try to help you. They will treat you fairly and with respect. In return, we expect you to treat our team members politely and respectfully. Verbal abuse of any kind will not be tolerated. If any verbal abuse is directed towards our team members, the call may be terminated and you will not get any assistance. Such behaviour may also result in a permanent ban from the fund.
What if I am not happy with the outcome?
If you are not happy with the outcome of your application you can ask for the application to be reviewed. In such cases an independent person from within the team will undertake the review. The review will take place immediately where possible and the same working day when it is not.
If you are not happy with the way your application was handled, you should follow the council's complaints procedure. If you are not happy with the outcome of this, then you can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.