Apply for Crisis Assistance for food and fuel

Crisis payments are awarded to cover short-term needs which prevent serious risk to the health and safety of a person or their family. The payments are intended to meet one-off needs rather than on-going expenses.

Crisis Assistance

Crisis Assistance provides support by way of supermarket vouchers that can be used for groceries and fuel vouchers which can be used for prepaid meters.

To be eligible for Crisis Assistance you must:

  • Be aged 16 or over
  • Be in receipt of an out of work or disability benefit or be out of work and awaiting an initial decision on entitlement to a qualifying out of work or disability benefit (If claiming or in receipt of Universal Credit this must be due to being out of work)
  • Consideration can be given to low income working households in receipt of either Tax Credits or Universal Credit – the household’s earned income must be below the London Living Wage11.95 per hour)
  • Not have access to any funds that can be relied on to meet the need you are applying for, and where you would be left with insufficient resources which would cause serious risk to your own, or your family’s, health or safety
  • Not have had your benefit entitlement suspended or sanctioned by the DWP, unless exceptional circumstances apply
  • Be ordinarily resident in the Borough of Wandsworth and have lived in the Borough for six weeks prior to applying and are expected to be resident in the Borough after receipt of the award. Except where you have moved into the borough due to an emergency such as fleeing domestic violence, prison discharge or leaving care.
  • If resident in Temporary Accommodation provided by Wandsworth Council in or out of the borough. If placed in temporary accommodation within Wandsworth by another council, then requests for Crisis Assistance should be made to the placing authority.

People with no recourse to public funds

The WDSF (Wandsworth Discretionary Social Fund) is part funded through government grants that are not considered ‘public funds’ therefore it is available to households who have no recourse to public funds. In such cases the household will need to demonstrate the ‘crisis’ which has meant they need one off support from the scheme.

Number of awards

Households will be eligible to apply for one award in the three month period between April 2022 and June 2022. In addition, households can apply for a further two awards in the nine month period between July 2022 and March 2023. Any awards made will be at least six weeks apart and subject to a maximum of three awards in the 12 month period from April 2022 to March 2023.

Awards will be calculated using the following table:

Level of awards

Household type


Single person


Lone parent




Dependant child


Up to a maximum award of £230.

Fuel allowance

An additional allowance is payable where an applicant has a prepaid meter or is the named bill payer:

  • Couple without Children/Single People: £ 30 (£15 Gas + £15 Electricity)
  • Households with children: £50 (£25 Gas + £25 Electricity)

The awards will either be paid:

  • Prepaid meter - Paypoint E-vouchers (except British Gas Customers), or
  • Direct payment or British Gas Pre pay meter - Additional Supermarket vouchers to the value of your Fuel allowance.

The scheme is administered to a fixed budget and the terms of the scheme could change during the year.


You should apply using the online form.

There is currently an exceptionally large demand and if you have received the initial acknowledgement it means we have received your request for discretionary assistance. We will respond as soon as we can but please do not submit multiple applications.

Apply for Crisis Assistance

Get help with your application

Self-service terminals are available for residents who do not have online access or need help to apply for a Discretionary Grant. These are available at all borough libraries and at the Wandsworth Customer Centre in the Town Hall. If additional assistance is required, officers will be on hand to help.

Residents who do not have online access and who have medical issues or have difficulties attending the Customer Centre can telephone 020 8871 6000 to see what alternative support can be given.

Discretionary Cost of Living Payment

We have decided to provide households that have received assistance from the Wandsworth Discretionary Social Crisis Fund since April 2022 with an additional one-off payment.


Household will receive one of the following payments:

  • £150 for households with children
  • £75 for households without children

The awards will be paid via Post Office Vouchers which will be sent by post or email.

To claim the vouchers you will need to take the letter or email with an accepted form of ID to any Post Office branch.

Acceptable forms of ID:

  • Photo ID such as passport or driving licence
  • Council Tax demand for 2022/2023
  • Recent utility bill (dated within last 3 months)
  • Recent bank/building society statement (dated last 3 months)
  • Benefit or pension award letter

You have one month from the date on the letter or email to cash in the voucher.

Receiving payment

Households who have received the maximum three crisis awards received their payment emails or letters from Tuesday 20 December 2022.

If you did not cash your voucher it will be reissued via email from Friday 3 February 2023.

All other households who have received a crisis award up to 15 January 2023 will start to receive their payment emails from Friday 3 February 2023.

All other eligible households will start to receive payment from mid February 2023.