How to Claim up to £300 Advisor Discretion Fund ?
If you are claiming JSA ( Job Seeker’s Allowance), you can claim up to £300 from a rarely publicised £23 million fund of which you will not have to pay back. It is designed to help for small barriers linked to a specific job offer or job interview. Gov.uk shows you the simple steps you need to take to apply for an Advisor Discretion Fund (sometimes Advisor Discretionary Fund or Advisory Discretionary Fund).
The maximum you can apply for is £300 over a one year period. It can be used for items that will help you return to work and/or enable you to accept a job offer. An award must be linked to a specific job offer or job interview but it can not be used for ‘anything’. For example, you cant use an Advisor Discretion Fund payment for new computer software. It is intended for items such as clothing. ADF is to overcome small barriers that prevent a person from accepting a job offer or to attend a job interview (this is different to traval to interview costs – there is a different scheme for that). For example, clothes or travel to work costs until the first wage is received.
- It is your advisor’s discretionary decision as to whether the expenditure would generally benefit the client’s pursuit for work, or, if already offered a job, to enable them to accept that offer.
- Advisers consider requests and will treat each case on its own merit. Also, Job Seeker’s Allowance claimants are not automatically entitled to the grant.
You are eligible to apply for an Advisor Discretion Fund (ADF) as soon as you start claiming job seekers allowance in theory but the keyword about the advisor discretion fund is discretion. It is not possible to apply for ADF as it is offered at the adviser’s discretion within a narrow set of circumstances. Advisors will draw on the advisor discretion fund if there is a cost issue specific to making a good impression at an interview or which might prevent a person from accepting a job offer.
Advisor discretion funds do not have to be paid back but it is not a cash grant as no money exchanges hands. Advisor Discretion Funds (ADF) are awarded for specific items, for example ‘a smart shirt at £x.xx’. Where possible a customer is given an invoice payment form to take to a Jobcentre Plus contracted supplier to exchange for the goods. If this is not possible the Job Centre Plus will aim to reimburse the customer on production of a receipt. A customer is only paid directly in exceptional cases, and then they have to provide proof of purchase. However, once you reach stage 4 (unemployed for a year) you will not be able to apply for an advisor discretion grant. You can still get financial help (up to about £500) if you are on stage 4 but it comes via a different source.
To apply for an Advisor Discretion Fund, you need to arrange an appointment with your Jobcentre Plus advisor. This must be separate to your regular signing meet. Contact your local Jobcentre Plus and search for your local office. The national Jobcentre Plus telephone number is 0800 055 6688. You can find out other information from this number including crisis loans, budgeting loans and cold weather payments.
Travel to Interview Scheme Facts
It is worth saving your Advisor Discretionary Fund (ADF) grant for costs other than transport costs for interviews as there is separate funding for that under the Travel To Interview Scheme (TIS). It is available to customers travelling ‘beyond their normal daily travelling distance’, which is decided by the individual local office.
You will need to inform your Jobcentre Plus advisor that you will want to claim under the Travel to Interview scheme before the interview. He or she will check with whoever is interviewing you first. You can even claim for up to two nights hotel stay but only if there is no other cheaper option.
You tend to get refunded upon presentation of your receipts. However, it is likely that you could not afford such costs upfront and wait for a refund. If you cannot pay the costs upfront and claim reimbursement, you will be given a travel warrant. In exceptional circumstances, a travel to interview scheme can be awarded to the customer upfront. The Advisor Discretion Fund cannot be used for travel to interview costs. Again, contact your local Jobcentre Plus to arrange an appointment to discuss your options.
Finally today, do not forget, if you have been claiming JSA for half a year or more and you start a job that is 16 hours a week or more and expected to last for more than 5 weeks, you will automatically be given a £100 job grant only if you qualify and qualification is subject to several conditions including unbroken claims of half a year (even one day’s gap will effect your qualification). This is provided to help you whilst you wait for your first paycheck.