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Suffolk Local Welfare Assistance Scheme

The Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWAS) helps those experiencing financial hardship.

What is it?

The Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWAS) helps those experiencing financial hardship. This could mean you are struggling to afford the basics, such as food, heating, clothing and fuel, or to pay your household bills. The scheme is not intended as emergency support and only one award can be made to an eligible household in a 6-month period. Successful applicants will receive a BACS payment directly into their bank account or a Post Office cash out voucher that can be redeemed in store.

What can it be used for?

There are lots of reasons why you might be in financial hardship and the LWAS is there to help those who are most in need with some of the following essential costs:

  • Food costs
  • Household energy or water bills
  • White goods (to include washing machine, fridge freezer, cooker/oven)
  • Clothing
  • Period and hygiene products
  • Transport-related costs

The LWAS team will review your reason for applying and may make contact to discuss this in further detail, before making a decision about your application for support.

Who can apply?

To receive financial support from the LWAS you must:

  • Be able to demonstrate that you are in financial hardship
  • Live in Suffolk
  • Be 16-years old or over
  • Have a combined household income of £27,500 a year or less
  • Have less than £1,500 available in savings across the household
  • Not have received an award from the LWAS since 1st April 2023 (Please note all previous successful awards will be checked by the LWAS team when your application is reviewed and only one award is permitted per household)

The LWAS team will review your application to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and have provided the correct documentation to support your application. They may contact you to request further information if necessary. If your application demonstrates that you do not meet the eligibility criteria, your application will be declined.

Before you apply

Before beginning your application, please make sure you have all of the required information and documents to hand and ready to upload for you and any other adults in the household. There is not an option to save your application and return later so to save time, please have the correct documents ready. You will not be able to submit your application without the following information:

  1. Your national insurance number. We cannot process an application without it. If you have lost it, please visit Find a lost National Insurance number | GOV. If you do not have a national insurance number please apply for one online
  2. The latest bank statements/savings accounts for all people in the household – bank statements only need to be provided for adults NOT in receipt of a means-tested benefit
  3. Proof of address which must be one of the following accepted documents:
  • Council tax or utility bill dated within the last 12 months
  • Current UK driving license
  • Benefit, pension, hospital or GP letter

We will use the information you provide to check your details using council and central government systems to check your identity and eligibility for Local Welfare Assistance.

How long does it take to make and process an application?

The scheme is not intended as emergency support and only one application can be made per household. LWAS is not intended as long-term support.

The quickest way to make an application is via the webform, using your smartphone, tablet or computer. If you have all the information required to make an application the webform will take 15 minutes to complete.

Before you apply you will need all the information listed above to hand, for you and members of your household. There is not an option to save your application and return to it later. You will not be able to submit your application without this information.

If you need help uploading evidence, please visit Prepare your documents | Suffolk County Council.

Once your application has been submitted our team will review your application which can take up to 14 working days. Your application will be reviewed by a member of our team who will assess your application. Please provide the correct contact information as our team may need to contact you if they have any queries about your application.

If you are contacted by the LWAS team to provide further information you must provide this within 7 working days otherwise your application will be declined and you will need to re-apply.

If your application is approved, payments can take up to 10 working days to clear in your bank account. The LWAS team receive high numbers of applications and will not be able to respond to any enquires during the application assessment period.

How to apply

The quickest way to make an application is using the webform via your smartphone, tablet or computer.

If you need help uploading evidence, please visit Prepare your documents | Suffolk County Council.

You can also contact one of our partner organisations who will be able to help you complete the application.

If you need advice completing your online application, please contact the customer services team 0345 606 6067 who will be able to help you. The telephone lines may be very busy so please call back for help with your application at another time.

You will still need to submit copies of the information we require to assess your application.

What happens after I have made an application?

After you have made an application you will be sent an email to confirm your application has been submitted.

What happens if my application is not successful? 

If your application is not successful please visit Suffolk InfoLink for more information about help and support available in Suffolk.