Surrey Crisis Fund

COVID -19 and how it may affect your benefits

If you require any information regarding COVID-19 and how it may affect claiming or receiving your benefits, please see: Benefits during COVID-19

Please note, this scheme cannot assist with replacement household items; if you require assistance with such, please visit your local Citizen's Advice office where they may be able to refer you to a local charity.

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.

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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
  • certain utilities
  • emergency travel costs

Other support may be available and this will be considered when you apply. Depending on your circumstance we may award one or both of the following:

  • a one-off payment to cover immediate emergency needs
  • in very limited circumstances we may be able to assist with a cooker, a fridge, and beds for children; we do not provide washing machines or any other furniture

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.

We do not help with the following:

  • School uniforms
  • Replacement white goods and furniture
  • Flooring/carpeting
  • Removal and storage costs
  • Television or satellite cost or repair
  • Housing costs, arrears or rent
  • Costs normally met by state support or benefits including Universal Credit
  • Debts
  • TV license
  • Installation of a telephone or telephone line
  • Costs associated with care provision
  • Non-essential white goods and domestic appliances
  • Utility, tax or insurance bills

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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.

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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.

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Applying through Citizens Advice

Currently, due to the ongoing pandemic, most Citizens Advice offices are closed, and only operating a telephone service. You can find your local office's contact details at 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; we will then be in touch within 24 hours.

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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 24 hours.


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How do I apply?

You can apply to the Surrey Crisis Fund online or, if you have no access to the internet, you may get help to access the internet at your local library or by visiting your local Citizens Advice office who can help you to apply online.

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. Once your application has been received, you will normally be contacted by telephone within 24 hours. If you have no access to a working telephone, please visit your local CAB for assistance.

This is an emergency service, therefore if you are not available for us to speak to within one working day, 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.

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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.