Finance Support Items and/or Living Expenses application form

Closes 31 Dec 2022

Opened 27 Apr 2020


Finance Support

Claim Form (DS1a) – Claim for Items and/or Living Expenses from Discretionary Support, Universal Credit Contingency Fund, COVID-19 scheme or Short Term Benefit Advance

About Discretionary Support payments

Discretionary Support payments are a means of financial support to help in a crisis situation. Support may be in the form of an interest free loan or non-repayable grant.

Please note this form is for people living in Northern Ireland only

You will need:

•your National Insurance number

•details of money you receive


Who can apply for a Discretionary Support payment?

You may be eligible for a Discretionary Support payment if:

•you are facing an extreme, exceptional or crisis situation which presents a significant risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of you and/or your immediate family; and

•you and if applicable, your family, can demonstrate that you are resident in and ordinarily live in Northern Ireland; and

•you are 18 years old at the date of the claim except in the case of a young person who is without parental support, in which case minimum age is 16 years old; and

•your need for a Discretionary Support payment has arisen in Northern Ireland and is to be used within Northern Ireland; and

•your income or in the case of a couple, the joint income less any allowable disregards, does not exceed the annual national minimum wage (currently set at £20,404.08 per year); and

•your need cannot be met from another source

A Discretionary Support payment may not be awarded if you are:

•a prisoner or person who is lawfully detained or on temporary release; or

•a resident in a residential care home, a nursing home or a hospital in-patient unless you are going to be discharged within the next 2 weeks; or

•a member of a religious order who is fully maintained by that order; or

•anyone who has their passport stamped ‘No recourse to public funds’; or

•a person who is (or would be treated as being) in full time third level education  (except in the event of a disaster)*; or

•subject to a trade dispute (except in the event of a disaster)*; or

•subject to a sanction applied by the Department (except in the event of a disaster)*

* COVID-19 is classified as a disaster for the purposes of claims to Finance Support from people in these groups.

How we make the decision

We will look at all the information on your claim before deciding if we can make a payment.

The information you provide to us will help us decide:

•if you are eligible for a Discretionary Support payment

We will check some of the information you provide to us, for example, the benefits you are on.

Subject to eligibility criteria being satisfied Discretionary Support can make up to three loan awards, one grant award for items and one grant award for living expenses in any 12 month period, there are exceptions to this rule in the event of a disaster.

How DfC collects and uses information

The information the Department for Communities (DfC) collects from and about you depends mainly on the reason for your business with us.

We will use information about you for all of the Department’s purposes, which include:

•The payment of social security benefits, grants, loans and pensions;

•Child Maintenance;

•Employment and Training;

•Investigation of offences relating to social security;

•Social Security Research and Statistics.

DfC uses information to deal with enquiries and complaints, to provide DfC services, to protect public funds, and to conduct research and produce statistics to monitor and improve our services.

We will obtain information about you as the law allows from other organisations to check the information you give to us, protect public funds, and to improve our services.

DfC also shares information with other organisations as the law allows, for example to protect against crime, and with HM Revenue and Customs.

DfC uses external suppliers to help deliver some services. We also use technology to make decisions and improve our services. We will only ask you for information about your health when this is needed for a benefit or service you are using. We will keep your information secure, and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t.

Please look at the DfC Privacy Notice on to find out more about:

•your information rights;

•how to request a copy of your information;

•DfC’s data controller details and other data protection information;

•how long DfC will keep your data for; and

•more detail about how DfC uses personal information.

Any information that we ask you for is necessary to enable DfC to carry out its official duties. The legal basis for the request is GDPR Article 6(1)(e) and Article 9(2)(b) for special category information.

These notes give general guidance only and should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.

Finance Support - Discretionary Support Items and/or Living Expenses Application


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