Did you know the Government offers interest-free Crisis Loans to help you meet essential costs after an emergency or disaster? Here's more on what they cover, who's eligible and how you can apply for one.
What can you claim a Crisis Loan for?
Crisis Loans can be claimed for the following:
- Daily living expenses
- Rent in advance for new accomodation
- Board and lodging accommodation charges, including for hostels
- Pre-paid meter fuel debt
- Travel expenses, should you be stranded away from home.
Can I get a Crisis Loan?
You need to be 16 or over to apply for a Crisis Loan, and not have enough money to meet your or your family's needs due to the emergency. You can also apply if you believe there will be serious damage or a risk to the health and safety of you or your family without the loan.
However, some people are excluded from Crisis Loans. These include:
- People in care homes or hospital, unless they are set to be discharged within the next two weeks
- People being held in prison or on home leave
- Members of religious orders who cover all accommodation and living costs
- People under 19 and in full-time education.
You also cannot apply for a Crisis Loan if you already applied for the one to cover the same costs within the last 12 months, unless circumstances have changed.
How do I get a Crisis Loan?
In England, Wales and Scotland one of the following three forms will need to be filled out:
- SF300 for loans to cover items and services in the event of a disaster
- SF401 for day-to-day living expenses
- SF401R for rent in advance, board and lodging in advance and hostel charges.
In Northern Ireland you can download the form you need from the NIDirect website.
The benefit office will decide whether you should get a Crisis Loan, and how much you'll be given.
There's no set amount that you'll be given. The size of your loan will depend on your personal circumstances, what savings you have, and whether you already owe money to the Social Fund, which is the Government pot of money that issues Crisis Loans and other financial assistance.
If you are unhappy with the decision on your application, you can ask for a review. If you are still unhappy, you could also contact the Independent Review Service for the Social Fund.
Paying back the Crisis Loan
A Crisis Loan is interest free, so you will only have to pay back what you borrow and not a penny more.