The Welfare Reform Act 2012 contains provisions for the abolition of the discretionary social fund scheme and the post of the social fund commissioner. The provisions about community care grants and crisis loans will be commenced on 1 April 2013 and the provisions about the social fund commissioner’s post will be commenced on 1 August 2013.
The budgeting loan scheme will however remain in place for claimants in receipt of existing legacy benefits until they migrate to universal credit.
There will be no change to how budgeting loans are to be delivered. In relation to requests for reviews, claimants who are dissatisfied with the outcome of an initial decision will still be able to ask for a review in the first instance by Jobcentre Plus.
The Independent Review Service which carries out second-tier reviews will be closed at the same time as the social fund commissioner’s post is abolished. Arrangements have therefore been put in place for the office of the independent case examiner to undertake a second-tier review for claimants who remain dissatisfied with their budgeting loan decision.