Local Welfare Provision (NETS)

Have you found yourself in an unexpected crisis? Have your circumstances changed recently? Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETs) provides crisis support to residents of Northumberland

Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETS) provides crisis support to residents of Northumberland

We can consider you for this when there is an immediate need for items or services as a result of an exceptional event or unforeseen circumstances. By this we mean something that effects you right here, right now and there is nothing you could have done to prevent it.  If you can you show this will have an immediate effect on your health or the health of someone in your family, then an award for short term support might be available.
Typically we can support you with utility top ups, emergency food provision, baby consumables, clothing and travel.
We can consider you for this in periods of change, for example, to remain in the community or move back into the community after a period in supported or unsettled accommodation.  Transition awards are typically awarded to people who either have dependent children normally living with them or are individuals/families who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, or have a substance misuse problem that they are receiving treatment or physical, sensory or mental health conditions.
If you can you show this will have an immediate effect on your health or the health of someone in your family, then a transition award might be available.
Typically we can help with things like beds, bedding, furniture and white goods.
For Emergency Support you do not need to be receiving a benefit.
If you wish to make an application you must be:
  • over 16 years old and live in Northumberland
  • however, if you are not in receipt of a benefit, your financial circumstances will be taken into consideration
Your application will be made over the telephone, if we are able to help, you will be required to provide documents that tell us:
  • where you live (council tax or utility bill for example) dated within 3 months of your application
  • who you are (DWP benefit form, driving licence, passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate for example)
  • proof of your need (your sanction letter or police crime number for example)
  • proof that your health or someone in your families health is at risk of deteriorating (GP, health worker, social worker letter or referral for example)
Please telephone 0345 600 6400 and follow the options for Benefits then NETS team.
Lines are open from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.
Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETS) is Northumberland's local welfare assistance scheme which was introduced to replace the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) discretionary elements of the Social Fund on behalf of Northumberland County Council.
In order to ensure that those most in need get the maximum support when they need it NETS works with a number of key Voluntary and Community and Statutory Services as Trusted Partners.
A Trusted Partner: Is an organisation who can make direct referrals to the NETS scheme on behalf of applicants. They will be:
  • In contact or be working with the client and have knowledge of their needs/ circumstances
  • Able to help identify those in most need who may be eligible for NETS
  • Able to provide verbal or written confirmation verifying that they have had sight of all the required forms of evidence of identification and of need
Trusted Partners include, but are not be limited to:
  • health visitor
  • GP, nurse, mental health worker, recovery workers
  • children/adult services providers
  • youth worker
  • welfare advisor
  • Citizen Advice advisor
  • other advice agencies
  • Jobcentre Plus advisor
  • housing staff
  • probation officers
  • employability and skills team NCC
  • welfare rights team
Please find below a list of frequently asked questions

Q. Do I need to have applied anywhere else before I come to NETS?
A. The NETS fund is a crisis scheme and a fund of last resort and as a result, applicants will usually be expected to have exhausted all other forms of support that might be available to them before a NETS application is considered. This includes DWP budgeting loans for help with transition support. It is sometimes possible for a NETS application to be made pending the outcome of a DWP application but this will depend on the circumstances of each case.
Q. Do I need to be receiving benefits to be eligible for NETS?
A. For emergency support, you need to have suffered some form of unforeseen event or crisis situation which has resulted in you being unable to afford essential items such as food, gas and electricity and that you have a health need or vulnerability that would deteriorate if you did not receive support. This can apply whether you are on benefits or not.
For transition support, one of the eligibility criteria is that you are in receipt of one of the following benefits: 
  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment Support Allowance
  • Any type of Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support

Q. What will happen when I call NETS?
A. A call handler will discuss your circumstances and will assess them against the NETS eligibility criteria. If you are eligible, the call handler will complete an application form with you on the phone and send this to the assessment team for assessment and award. If you’re not eligible or the call handlers identify other areas of support they will signpost you to organisations that can help you.
Q. How are applications ‘assessed’?
A. Your needs must be verified and evidenced before an award can be made. The evidence required will depend on your individual circumstances but our assessors will always try to be as flexible as possible with the evidence they’re able to accept and how this is provided. Once ID and essential needs have been verified, the assessors will then look to issue an award.
Q. How quickly will applications be turned around?
A. Once an application is submitted, an assessor will look to contact you and make a final decision on an application for emergency support within 2 hours of receiving the completed form. If the decision is made before 1pm then support will be provided the same day. If the decision is made after 1pm then support will be provided on the next working day.
For Transition support a decision will be made within 5 working days of an application being made. If successful, awards can usually be made from 48 hours of the award decision being made.
Q. Why can’t I get cash?
A. NETS fund was designed to meet essential needs. For example - If you meet the eligibility criteria and we establish that you need food, we would first look to arrange for a comprehensive food parcel to be provided by a local food bank. If this wasn’t possible, for example because the food bank was closed on that particular day, we would then look to provide Paypoint vouchers which could be spent in local shops and supermarkets.
Q. If I’m awarded via Paypoint, how does this work?
A. For awards for food or baby consumables, you will receive a code via text to your mobile phone. The text code is pre-loaded with a value and you can purchase items within the Paypoint store for that value. For awards for gas/ electricity you will be sent a text code to present at Paypoint and your gas/electricity card will be topped to the value on the text code.

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