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Local Welfare Assistance - Household Support Fund (LWA)

Previously known as "Waltham Forest Social Fund", find out if you're eligible and how to apply.

Last updated: 6 October 2022

Next review: 6 October 2023

Please note: The Government has announced further grants will be made available for councils to use to continue the Household Support Fund. Further details will appear here when they are available.

Claims for assistance are still being accepted under the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme. You can find out if you may be entitled and make a claim below.

Please see our policy (word) for more information about the LWA scheme.

What is LWA?

LWA is money made available by the Council to help you if you or your family are in such severe financial hardship that you cannot afford basic essentials, especially if there is a risk to health or safety.

The funding available is strictly limited so payments will be limited to the minimum amount necessary to alleviate the hardship.

Types of assistance we can provide include:

  • Referrals to charities and other agencies that may be in a position to offer assistance and/or advice.
  • Referrals to food banks and vouchers to assist with the cost of food
  • Vouchers to pay for other essentials such as bedding, household goods, furniture and warm clothing
  • Vouchers and financial assistance to help with fuel and water costs
  • Vouchers and financial assistance to help with sudden unexpected costs which are essential but are not referred to above and,
  • In cases of genuine emergency, help with housing costs that cannot be met by way of Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Discretionary Housing Payment

Who can apply

We may be able to help if you:

  • are aged 16 or over
  • have recourse to public funds or are claiming on behalf of a child who has no recourse to public funds
  • live in Waltham Forest unless you are fleeing domestic violence or leaving an institution
  • have not been housed in Waltham Forest by another local authority
  • are not in a hospital, care home or prison (unless you are due to be discharged within six weeks)
  • do not have savings you could use to meet the need
  • are seeking support to pay for an approved item
  • do not have enough resources to prevent serious risk to your own, or your family’s health or safety

Who can't apply

We cannot help you if:

  • You have no recourse to public funds (unless you are claiming for assistance with a dependent child).
  • You are seeking assistance with mortgage or leasehold arrears
  • You do not live in the London Borough of Waltham Forest unless;
    • You have been housed in temporary accommodation outside the borough by the Council or,
    • You are about to re-enter the community after a period in care or prison and will be living in Waltham Forest
    • Are homeless but the Council has accepted a duty to you under housing legislation

Full details can be found in the Council’s LWA policy and a link will appear here when it has been agreed.

How to apply

Applications must be made electronically.  If you have problems using a computer for health or disability reasons or do not have access to a computer, you can either

  • ask somebody such as a friend or relative to complete a form on your behalf.
  • visit one of our Library Plus branches where you can use a computer to complete the form. A member of staff will help you get online.

You will have to provide evidence of your identity in support of your claim and, depending on your specific circumstances we may ask you to provide other evidence such as payslips and bank account details.

What happens next

We will deal with your claim as quickly as possible but will give priority to very urgent cases such as those from people with an immediate need for help with food.

If you need to provide evidence in support of your claim, the quickest way to do so is to use our evidence upload form.

We will give you the result of your application and make arrangements to provide you with the help you requested. If you are not successful, we will let you know why and try to suggest some other sources of help or advice.

Challenging our decision

You can challenge any decision made except one where a decision has been made to meet an application in full.

You must challenge the decision within 14 days of the date of the decision by sending an email to lwa@walthamforest.gov.uk.  Your email should include the term “LWA Challenge” together with your claim reference number in the subject line.

The body of the email should;

  • clearly identify the decision,
  • explain the reasons you disagree with the decision and
  • include any evidence you want the Council to consider

Other sources of help

You may be able to apply for a Budgeting Loan from the DWP; contact your local DWP office for more information.

You can find a detailed list of organisations that may be able to provide you with support and advice on our website.

Contact information

PO Box 856

London 
E17 9PN