Essential Living Fund frequently asked questions
How can I apply?
All applications are made at www.southend.gov.uk/elfforessex
If you have no access to the internet, you will be able to access free time at all local libraires. Please contact your library for further information.
If you live in the Southend City area, then you can use the terminals at the Ground Floor Civic Centre to make your claim.
For more information on how you can access the internet please visit https://www.southend.gov.uk/southend-2050-7/digitalcity/2
If you live in the Thurrock area you can prebook the use of a computer at Thurrock Council, for more information on how you can access the internet please visit Computers and internet | What's in your library | Thurrock Council
If you live in the Essex, please visit the following link which will advise you where you can go to access the internet.
Most people have access to support via friends, family, and support workers and charities etc, however if you do not have any support then please call 0300 7900124 with your details and we may be able to offer a call back service with help to complete the form.
How many times can I apply?
You can currently apply three times between March 2023 and April 2024 for general living expenses (Groceries, energy costs and utilities) this is subject to change.
You can apply for furniture, white goods and household goods once in a 12 month period. There are certain exceptions for this rule such as if you have suffered with a fire or have fled domestic violence. Evidence would be required.
Who is eligible to apply?
If you do not live in Essex, you can not apply to the scheme. Please enquire to your local council to see if they have a similar emergency support scheme in place.
Anyone who lives in the Essex Borough can make an application to see if they are eligible for assistance and we treat every application on its own merits. No two applications will be the same. We look at income, expenditure and the reason for the application along with the other information you supply when applying.
For our policies and to see what we help with and what may exclude your from being eligible please visit www.southend.gov.uk/elfforessex.
Please do not contact us to chase your application unless 14 days have passed since you applied. If you wish to check the status, please see paragraph ‘How can I check the status of my application?'
If your application is over 14 days old and you have checked online and no decision has been made please email email@example.com to request an update and include your full name, national insurance number and address. If your application is under 14 days old, we will not reply.
If we have asked you for further information that you have supplied, please allow 14 days from the date you supplied the information to allow us time to work on it.
If you need to supply further information regarding your application, please email this information to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full name, national insurance number and address.
When will I receive a decision on my application?
We receive a high number of applications to the scheme. Our main focus is to process these as quickly as possible but on occasion this may take longer due to a high volume of applications. You will receive a decision by letter within 17 days of submitting your application.
You can also check the status of your application online if an email address was provided when you submitted your application. (Please see ‘How can I check the status of my application?’
How can I check the status of my application?
You can check the progress of your application online if you supplied an email address when submitting your claim. An email will have been sent to you when you submitted your application which will include a tracking reference number which is a 14 character combination of numbers and letters (this is case sensitive)
An example of a tracking reference number - 123456aBCDeFGh
To check the status of your application please do the following:
- go to www.southend.gov.uk/elfforessex
- under ‘How to apply for an Essential Living Fund grant’ select the ‘online form’ for the area you made the application under
- select ‘Track the progress of an application’
- enter your surname and tracking reference number
- select ‘find’
This will then give you the outcome of your application if it has been made.
If a decision has not been made yet you will see ‘Your application was received on the dd/mm/yyyy and is being processed’ – if the date you submitted your application is over 14 days ago you can email us for an update at email@example.com. Please provide your full name, national insurance number and full address and ask for an update. If your application was submitted less than 14 days ago, we will not respond.
My application status is PAID, what happens now?
You will receive a letter in the post explaining what you have been awarded and if any of the items you applied for have been refused. This will be sent out to the address you put on your application the next working day after the claim is processed reads as ‘PAID’, If paid on a Friday the letter will be sent the following Monday.
If you have been awarded an all pay card for any of the items awarded this will be sent separately and will be posted within 3 working days from the date the claim was processed. Please ensure you have read your letter in full to ensure you do not use an award on an item it was not awarded for as this will prevent you from claiming from the scheme again.
If you have been awarded furniture, please be advised that these are reconditioned. The white goods we supply in Southend and Thurrock are new. In any other part of Essex these may be reconditioned. Please see the process of receiving the goods for each area:
Southend – If you live in Southend-on-Sea- and have been awarded white goods, our provider will contact you within a week to arrange delivery and fitting of the goods. They will have to enter your property and will not leave an item there if there is already one in the property.
If you have been awarded furniture or household goods you will receive an award letter in the post that you would need to take to the shops listed to pick your items and arrange delivery with the shop
Essex- If you live in Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock) - we will send your details to our .provider who will contact you within a week to arrange delivery and fitting of the goods. They will have to enter your property and will not leave an item there if there is already one in the property.
Thurrock – If you live in Thurrock, you will be contacted by our provider within a week of the paid date who will arrange delivery and fitting of the goods with you. They will have to enter your property and will not leave an item there if there is already one in the property.
My application was refused, what happens now?
You will receive a letter in the post explaining why your application was refused. The letter will be sent out the next working day after the refusal date. If refused on a Friday the letter will be posted Monday
If you disagree with a decision that has been made you can make a Tier 1 appeal within 1 month of the refusal where another decision maker will take a second look at your application.
Please await your refusal letter before submitting an appeal as it will have more detail on why it was refused, and you can base your appeal on this if you still disagree.
My claim shows as status ‘Paid’- I have received my letter, but I have not received my all pay card yet
If you are awarded an all pay card, this will be posted out within 3 working days from your paid date to the address you submitted your application under. We would not send out a new one until the one already posted to you expires (Expiry date is 4 weeks from the paid date)
Please note that if you have a shared mailbox, we cannot be held responsible if your award goes missing so, please ensure that you supply us with a safe address to post your card to when you submit your application. If this differs from your home address, please ensure you note why you have submitted your application under a different address.
My award shows as status ‘paid’, I have been awarded furniture but have had no contact in over a week.
If you have not heard from our furniture/white goods provider after a week of your award being paid, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, national insurance number address and contact details and explain you have not heard, and we can chase this up for you.
I have arranged delivery for my furniture but need to change the date, how can I do this?
Once your order is with our supplier, we do not receive information regarding the delivery so you will need to speak with the supplier directly regarding your delivery.
How can I appeal a decision?
You can submit a Tier 1 appeal within 1 month of the refusal date by emailing email@example.com with your full name, national insurance number and full address and the reason you feel the decision is incorrect. Please provide any supporting evidence you feel will support your appeal. Appeals can take 7 days to be worked on and you will receive a letter by post with the outcome.
If your Tier 1 appeal is refused, you can submit a Tier 2 within 1 month of the Tier 1 refusal date which will be looked at by management. Please provide any supporting evidence you feel will support your appeal. Appeals can take 7 days to be worked on and you will receive a letter by post with the outcome.
You can also track the decision online if you have your tracking reference number. The appeal decision will be updated once it has been dealt with – This will show a new decision date and whether it is ‘paid’ or ‘refused’ (see paragraph ‘How can I check the status of my application?’
Misuse of awards
When we make awards, we have to ensure the funds are used correctly to protect the fund. We carry out several checks which show where all pay card is used. When you submit your application, you agree to a declaration that this will be used correctly and that you will keep all of your receipts in case asked for.
If you do not have the receipts to support your case, then you may be refused if you request an appeal.
Even transactions that do not go through will be classed as misuse if it was used at a vender that does not sell the items you were awarded for.
Please do not save your all pay card in your wallet on your phone as it may default to this payment method when you do not intend it to.
You can only purchase items that have been awarded as detailed on your award letter.
I am unable to read the pin number on my letter
When peeling the PIN number from your letter, please hold it against a white background to be able to read it. If you are still unable to read the pin number on the letter attached to your all pay card, please call All Pays automated line 03308080965 and follow the instructions to get your PIN.
I have lost my all pay card, what do I do now?
If you have lost your all pay card you need to contact us as soon as possible so we can cancel it to prevent it being used.
If you do not notify us straight away, future claims may be refused due to this.
Please email us with the last place you used it along with the amount of the transaction and we can request this be reissued with a £6 deduction once we have investigated this fully.
You will be notified once this has been put for a reissue if successful.
Please supply your full name, full address and national insurance number along with the information above.