Emergency Assistance

The Cheshire East Emergency Assistance scheme is a safety net for people in crisis. This is a non-cash scheme, but we can help in other ways.

The type of help you might get includes rent deposits (not letting fees or rent in advance), essential furniture and some white goods (recycled where possible), and emergency food.

Local council schemes have replaced Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) social fund crisis loans and community care grants.

When Emergency Assistance can help

Emergency Assistance can help in two types of situations – emergencies, and where people need urgent help to get or keep a home.

Support in emergencies

We might be able to help if you need essential items or food after a disaster or in an emergency.

Urgent help to get or keep a home

We might be able to give support if you need help to get or keep a home and any of the following apply:

  • you are returning to the community after leaving accommodation where you received care or supervision (for example, a care home, hostel or prison)
  • you need to stay in the community so you don’t become homeless
  • your family is at risk of being split up and our support would help keep you together
  • you and your family are under exceptional pressure and our support would ease that pressure

You can apply for Emergency Assistance if all the following apply:

  • you live in Cheshire East or are moving here because you have a connection to the area
  • we consider you are vulnerable (we look at each claim individually to make decisions about vulnerability) 
  • you get state benefits,
    or you are eligible for benefits under the Persons from Abroad rules,
    or you are on a low wage and have exceptional circumstances
  • you can’t get the help you need from friends or relatives

We will expect you to work with us to find ways to resolve the problems that have caused the need for Emergency Assistance help. We will agree in advance what we expect you to do, and we will check that you do what is agreed.

How to apply for Emergency Assistance

To apply for Emergency Assistance, fill in our Emergency Assistance claim form. You will need your National Insurance number and proof of identity.

You can apply over the phone if you can’t apply online. Call 0300 123 5013 and choose ‘emergency assistance’. We are open 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. 

Supporting evidence

The form tells you what evidence and information we will need from you. You can upload documents as you go through the form. 

You can also upload documents to our website separately after submitting the form – don’t delay sending the form because you don’t have evidence ready.  Use the further details box in the form to tell us when you will be providing the documents.

To see what types of document we accept as evidence and to upload documents, see supporting evidence.

If you can’t upload your documents, you can take them to your local library or to one of our customer service centres. You can post them to Benefits Section, Cheshire East Council, PO Box 622, Crewe, CW1 9JH.

If someone is helping you with your claim

If someone is helping with your claim and you want us to share information with them, you need to let us know you are happy for us to do so. See authority to discuss.

Where people are unable to manage their own financial affairs, an appointee can handle their benefits claims for them.

What happens after you apply

After you apply, we will look at your circumstances. We need to be able to contact you, so it is important you give us your phone number. If you don’t give us your number, it is unlikely your claim will be successful.

We will then phone you to tell you our decision. Where the situation is an emergency (for example you need a food parcel or emergency travel), we will get back to you within 1 working day. For other situations, we will get back to you within 10 working days. If we decide to give you Emergency Assistance, we will explain what we will do and what we expect you to do.

If you have a dependent child in your household, we will share your details with our children’s services team to see what help they can give you.

It is possible that we will not be able to help you if the money in our Emergency Assistance budget has all been spent.

There is a process you can follow if you disagree with our decision.

You (and your partner, if you have one) can normally get Emergency Assistance support for a maximum of 1 emergency and 1 urgent housing situation in any 12 month period.

In exceptional circumstances, you might be able to get more than 1 of each type of Emergency Assistance.  You should apply if you need to, and we will look at your case to see if we can help.

For details of organisations who can give you advice about benefits including appeals and revisions, see Live Well money matters.