Exceptional Needs Grants
Exceptional Needs Grants are lump sum payments that are paid, in certain circumstances, to help meet expenses that are not covered by your Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.
You don't have to repay an Exceptional Needs Grant.
How do I qualify for an Exceptional Needs Grant?
To qualify for an Exceptional Needs Grant (simply referred to as a 'grant' below) for an item there must be a reasonable need for the item and neither you nor any other member of your family must have the same item or a suitable alternative or have unreasonably got rid of or failed to take proper care of the item.
What can I get an Exceptional Needs Grant for?
Furniture and household equipment, deposits for rent and gas and electricity supply and initial supply of heating oil at a new home.
For some items, only certain categories of people can qualify for a grant as follows:
You can get a grant:
- to buy certain items of furniture or household equipment specified in the Regulations
- to pay a returnable deposit or any similar payment in the form of advance rent that you are required to pay when taking up the tenancy of a home
- to pay a deposit for the connection or reconnection to the supply of gas or electricity when taking up the tenancy of a home
- to pay an advance payment towards board and lodging charges
- for the initial supply of domestic heating oil on taking up the tenancy of a home
But you must have moved into your new home within the previous 4 weeks, or you intend to do so in the next 4 weeks, after recently:
- leaving prison, having served a term of at least 3 months
- leaving hospital, having been an in-patient for at least 3 months
- leaving certain accommodation provided by the Department of Health and Social Care or by a voluntary organisation where you were receiving special care or attention because of a disability or addiction, or because you have left prison as part of a planned programme of resettlement or rehabilitation
- leaving your former home because of a fear of domestic violence or because your child or children were in physical or moral danger or there was a serious risk to your child’s physical or mental health, or
- leaving your former home because you’re estranged from your parents, you’re in physical or moral danger or there is a serious risk to your physical or mental health and you’re aged between 16 and 20
You may also be able to get a grant:
- to pay for the initial supply of domestic heating oil to a public sector house following a change of fuel type arranged by the Department of Infrastructure or a Local Authority
- if you need to buy certain items in order to leave benefit and take up, or continue in, work
- if you are in receipt of Employed Person's Allowance, to pay for your expenses on starting or resuming work and you are waiting for your first payment of earnings following a period of maternity or adoption leave
- for living expenses whilst you are waiting for your first payment of Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance after claiming benefit or
- if you are in employment, in receipt of Employed Person's Allowance, and your pay period is extended (e.g. from weekly to monthly)
Amount of an Exceptional Needs Grant
The amount of a grant payable for a particular item is generally the reasonable cost of the item, subject to a maximum amount. Grants for items of furniture and household equipment take into account any grant paid for the same type of item in the previous 12 months.
Effect of savings on an Exceptional Needs Grant
If you or your partner have savings of up to £1,000, these are ignored when we decide whether you qualify for a grant. If your savings are more than £1,000 then the maximum grant we can pay you is reduced by the amount of your savings over £1,000.
So, for example, if you would otherwise be entitled to a grant of £600, but you and your partner have savings of £1,300, we can only pay you a grant of up to £300 (£600 – (£1,300 - £1,000)).
Payment of an Exceptional Needs Grant
Exceptional Needs Grant payments can be collected at a Post Office or paid into your bank or building society account. Payment may also be made to a third party that is selling an item or providing a service to you.
How to claim an Exceptional Needs Grant
To claim an Exceptional Needs Grant please complete the claim form BLG1 – Budgeting Loans and Exceptional Needs Grants and take or send it to a Social Security office, and mark it for the attention of the team that pays your benefit (Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employed Person’s Allowance).
Please make your claim as soon as possible. If you delay making your claim you could lose money as there are time limits for claiming certain items.
If you have any questions please contact the team that pays your benefit/allowance:
Income Support (under pension age)
Income Support (over pension age)
Telephone: +44 1624 687020
Telephone: +44 1624 685126
Employed Person's Allowance
Telephone: +44 1624 685092