Universal Credit: What is the Flexible Support Fund? How do you apply?

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The Flexible Support Fund (FSF) was introduced back in 2011. The scheme replaced other initiatives such as the Deprived Areas Fund, the Adviser Discretion Fund and the Travel to Interview Scheme. The Government allocates funding to the Flexible Support Fund, which is then distributed to job centres. Job centres can draw from the fund to help people with additional costs if they are looking to find employment.

What is the Flexible Support Fund?

The Flexible Support Fund is a source of additional funding for people who are usually claiming certain unemployment benefits.

In some circumstances, Jobcentre advisers may be able to allocate FSF funding to other unemployed people who are being supported by the centre.

FSF can also be given to people who are eligible for Work Preparation Support, which includes lone parents, partners or carers.

Qualifying benefits for FSF include Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Carer’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

FSF payments can be received in addition to other benefits payments, and because the fund is a grant claimants do not have to pay the money back.

FSF can help to pay for some of the extra costs linked to getting a job, and the money has to be used for this purpose.

FSF can help fund new clothing for job interviews, for example, or pay for tools needed to start work.

Turn2Us explain: “If you are claiming Universal Credit, you may also be able to get help with the first month of childcare costs from the FSF.

“There is no set amount of money you can be given. It depends on your situation, circumstances and needs.

“The FSF is unlikely to fund anything you have already paid for.”

There is no set amount for FSF that claimants can expect to receive, and the money allocated will depend on someone’s personal circumstances.

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How do you apply for the Flexible Support Fund?

As FSF is offered through the Jobcentre, you will need to contact your local Jobcentre to apply.

You cannot apply for FSF via the Government website, like you would with other benefits such as Universal Credit.

If you have a Jobcentre adviser helping to support you, you can contact them to apply for FSF.

As part of the application, you will need to tell the Jobcentre what you require the money for.

You may also be asked to provide evidence that you cannot pay for items yourself.

Who receives FSF is decided by the Jobcentre themselves, and people are not automatically entitled to the funding.

Ultimately the Jobcentre has to decide whether FSF will benefit the claimant and help them to find employment.

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