Emergency support scheme

Alert!

Our One Stop Shops are currently closed in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. If you have evidence to provide after submitting your application please do this via our online portal.

The council has a very limited fund to provide help to Knowsley residents with food and/or fuel in an emergency that:

  • Is unforeseen,
  • Could not have been avoided, or
  • Poses a potential risk to the health and safety of you or your family.

Our scheme may provide some support for essential items of furniture and/or white goods in very specific circumstances where the resident has suffered a major upheaval.

Please be aware that we do not provide cash under any circumstances.

Before you apply for emergency support

You should:

1)          Check whether you are entitled to help from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

If you are claiming a qualifying benefit from the DWP (listed below) you must check what support you could receive from them before applying to the Council’s Emergency Support Scheme. We cannot duplicate support available elsewhere.

  • Income support
  • Jobseeker’s allowance – income-based
  • Employment and support allowance – income-related
  • Pension credit
  • Universal credit
  • Housing benefit and/or council tax reduction

Support available from DWP includes:

  • Short Term Benefit Advances

For new benefit applicants or existing claims where there is a significant change of circumstance. If you have recently applied for benefit you can apply for a Short-Term Benefit Advance. Visit GOV.UK for more information.

  • Budgeting Loans

To help pay for essential items. You can find out more online or pick up an application form from your local Jobcentre Plus.

  • Hardship Payments for those who have received a benefit sanction. 

To claim Hardship Payments, you will need to complete form JSA ESA10JP at your local Jobcentre Plus office or call 0800 169 0310.

2)          Contact your energy supplier.   

Contact them to discuss options to clear any outstanding debts, reduce any debt repayments or to request an emergency credit. The contact details for your supplier and the support available should be shown on your latest bill. 

If you do not have a bill, visit their website. The main suppliers who offer pre-payment meters are listed below:

Find out more about the other financial advice and support available to you.

Help with Food

Help with food in an emergency

Our scheme can provide you with a voucher for Knowsley Food Support.  If you have a support worker or you are receiving support from a local advice agency, please speak to them in the first instance.  If you do not have a support worker or the local advice agency can’t help you, please ring Knowsley Food Support direct on 0151 538 8243. Their phone line is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm.

Help with Fuel

Help with fuel in an emergency

To be considered for support under our scheme, you must:-

  • Be responsible for paying the electric and/or gas bill at the property and have a pre-payment meter; and,
  • Have exhausted all other possible sources of support.

You will not be eligible for emergency support if you do not have a pre-payment meter.  If you have a credit meter you should contact your energy provider to check what help they can offer you.

If your application is successful you will receive a fuel voucher for a set amount which you can take to your nearest Paypoint or PayZone venue (note this scheme provides Fuel Bank Foundation and Paypoint vouchers – see the ‘How will I receive my voucher' section below for details of how to redeem the type of voucher you receive).

You will need to provide proof of your identity and address, along with your electric/gas key or card to redeem your voucher. You can print the voucher or present it on your mobile phone.

Find your nearest Paypoint venue
Find your nearest Payzone venue

Please note if your pre-payment meter does not have a key/card you will need to contact your supplier when you receive the voucher.

Further support

Whether we can help you or not, we will signpost you to other support that may be available to help you put plans in place to overcome the emergency, or to try to stop it happening again.

We can consider a maximum of two awards in a 12-month period. Each award is expected to last a minimum of three days.

If you still need help after three days you must re-apply. We can consider up to a maximum of nine days support per award. Each award is based on your circumstances and is not guaranteed. Once you have reached your maximum award you will no longer be eligible for support under the scheme.

Help with furniture / white goods

If you are experiencing an upheaval

The scheme may support you if you need furniture / white goods to help you settle back into the community under specific circumstances, or to avoid you having to enter institutional care.

For example:

  • If you are leaving care, leaving prison, fleeing domestic violence, homeless and leaving Local Authority temporary accommodation, e.g. a hostel, homeless accommodation, or a hotel
  • If you are at risk of going into institutional care, where the essential item/s would prevent you going into care

Please note:

  • If you have received one of the DWP benefits listed above for six months or more, to be eligible for our scheme you must have previously applied for, and been refused, support from the DWP through Budgeting Loans/Budgeting Advance.  Otherwise, we will not be able to consider an application for support with furniture / white goods (visit www.gov.uk/budgeting-loans/).
  • You will be asked for the original copy of the budgeting loan/advance refusal letter before proceeding with your Emergency Support Scheme application.
  • This scheme does not provide aids or adaptations or other items which would normally be provided from other sources of funding/support.
  • Our scheme does not provide replacement items for broken or damaged furniture or white goods.
  • Applications will be accepted via a support worker, such as a social worker or probation officer. If you do not have a support worker, we may consider a direct application from you.

Before you start your application please ensure the following documents are ready to upload when you submit the application. Please note this must be a .jpg, .jpeg or .png file type. Alternatively, you can upload documents at your local One Stop Shop self-serve scanning station once you have submitted your application.

  • A letter from your support worker, or someone who is helping you which confirms your circumstances and supports your application.
  • If you have been claiming DWP benefits for more than six months - proof your budgeting loan has been refused, or if you have an existing loan, proof of the balance and the date payments will end.
  • Proof you have been offered, or accepted the tenancy, e.g. a letter from the landlord, or a signed tenancy agreement.
  • Any other information which supports your application.

If your application is complete, our target is to deal with it within 14 days. If you cannot provide the information/evidence at the time of your application you must provide it as soon as possible. This can be done via the self-serve scanning station at your local One Stop Shop, or by email to emergencysupport@knowsley.gov.uk. If it is not received within one calendar month your application may be treated as withdrawn or refused.

If you are eligible for support with essential items please be aware these could be reconditioned or second hand.

There is a limit to the value of support that you can receive in a three year period.  Once you have reached this limit you will no longer be able to apply.
 
If we cannot help you, we will do our best to signpost you to somewhere we think can help. Alternatively, use this link to find out more about the other financial advice and support available to you.

How to apply for emergency support

If you think you may be eligible for emergency support for:  

Food

If you have a support worker or you are receiving support from a local agency, please speak to them in the first instance.  If you do not have a support worker or the local agency can’t help you, please ring Knowsley Food Support direct on 0151 538 8243. Their phone line is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm.

 

Fuel -

You need to apply online:-

  • Through our customer portal - register for online services or log into your account here. You must have a council tax account number, or a housing benefit/council tax reduction claim reference number to register your application via our customer portal. It is unlikely you will be able to use this to apply for essential items of furniture / white goods.
  • Via our website – go to Online Services and ‘Apply for it’ or click here.
  • If you do not have access to your own computer you can:-

- Ask family, friends or neighbours to help you make an online claim; or
- Ask your support worker, or any other agency you are working with, to
  help you make an online claim and/or help you to improve your IT skills.

  • If you cannot apply online, you can ring our contact centre on 0151 443 3200 and one of our advisors will take your application over the phone. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm.  

You will be informed of our decision by email or text message as soon as possible.
If you do not have your own email address you can ask us to email the decision to somebody else who may be helping you, but you need to agree this with them. In exceptional circumstances we can send it to you by first class post. You can tell us this when you complete your application.

If we cannot help you, we will do our best to signpost you to somewhere we think can help. Alternatively, use this link to find out more about the other financial advice and support available to you.

How will I receive my voucher?

Please be aware it can take up to 24 hours to receive your voucher.  Our scheme issues vouchers through the Fuel bank Foundation and Paypoint.  Which voucher you receive will depend on your circumstances.
Your decision notice will tell you who to contact if you do not receive the voucher.

For awards through the Fuel Bank Foundation:

  • It can take up to 24 hours for you to receive your voucher after it has been requested by us
  • This leaflet explains how to redeem your voucher
  • This leaflet gives advice on managing your fuel costs
  • Fuel Bank vouchers can be redeemed at Paypoint or Payzone venues.  A link to these venues can be found above under ‘Help with Fuel’.

If you have been awarded a voucher but not received it you should contact the Fuel Bank directly on 0300 1237 597 or email fuelpayments@aurigaservices.co.uk
They are available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm excluding Bank Holidays. 

For awards through Paypoint:

  • Paypoint vouchers ca be redeemed at Paypoint venues only.  A link to Paypoint venues can be found above under ‘Help with Fuel’.

If you have not received your voucher within 24 hours please email emergencysupport@knowsley.gov.uk, or ring our contact centre on 0151 443 3200. 

Help with essential items of furniture / white goods –

You need to apply online:-

  • Through our customer portal - register for online services or log into your account here. You must have a council tax account number, or a housing benefit/council tax reduction claim reference number to register your application via our customer portal. It is unlikely you will be able to use this to apply for essential items of furniture / white goods.
  • Via our website – go to Online Services and ‘Apply for it’ or click here.
  • If you do not have access to your own computer you can:-

- Ask family, friends or neighbours to help you make an online claim; or
- Ask your support worker, or any other agency you are working with, to
  help you make an online claim and/or help you to improve your IT skills.

 

  • If you cannot apply online, you can ring our contact centre on 0151 443 3200 and one of our advisors will take your application over the phone. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm.  

You will be informed of our decision by email or text message as soon as possible. Please be aware it can take up to 24 hours to receive your voucher.

If you do not have your own email address you can ask us to email the decision to somebody else who may be helping you, but you need to agree this with them. In exceptional circumstances we can send it to you by first class post. You can tell us this when you complete your application.

If we cannot help you, we will do our best to signpost you to somewhere we think can help. Alternatively, use this link to find out more about the other financial advice and support available to you.

Request a review if you are refused

If you think our decision to refuse emergency support is wrong you can ask for a review. 

We cannot review your claim if you do not meet our scheme criteria. 

You can ask for a review for fuel, or essential items of furniture / white goods via our customer portal (you must register first or log in), our website, or by telephone - 0151 443 3200.

You will need your application number and the date you applied and tell us why you think our decision is wrong.  We will inform you of our decision in the same way as the original decision. For fuel this will be within one working day, for essential items of furniture / white goods this will be 14 days.

If you do not agree with the decision to refuse food, please call Knowsley Food Support direct on 0151 538 8243