If you are claiming JSA (Job Seeker’s Allowance), you have the opportunity to claim up to £300 from the Advisor Discretion Fund (ADF). This fund, which is rarely publicized, is worth £23 million and does not have to be repaid. It is specifically designed to assist with small barriers that are linked to a specific job offer or job interview. To apply for the ADF, you need to follow a few simple steps outlined on the Gov.uk website.
How to Claim up to £300 Advisor Discretion Fund?
The maximum amount you can apply for from the ADF is £300 over a one-year period. This money can be used for items that will help you return to work or enable you to accept a job offer. However, it is important to note that an award from the ADF must be linked to a specific job offer or job interview and cannot be used for just anything. For example, you cannot use the ADF payment for purchasing new computer software. Instead, it is intended for items such as clothing or travel to work costs until you receive your first wage.
- It is your advisor's discretionary decision to determine whether the expenditure would generally benefit your pursuit for work or, if you have already been offered a job, enable you to accept that offer.
- Advisers carefully consider each request and treat each case on its own merit. Job Seeker’s Allowance claimants are not automatically entitled to the grant.
Eligibility for the Advisor Discretion Fund begins as soon as you start claiming job seekers allowance. However, it is important to understand that the keyword about the ADF is "discretion." You cannot apply for the ADF directly, as it is offered at the advisor’s discretion within a narrow set of circumstances. Advisors will draw on the ADF if there is a specific cost issue that relates to making a good impression at an interview or if it might prevent you from accepting a job offer.
It is worth noting that the Advisor Discretion Fund does not have to be paid back, but it is not a cash grant. No money exchanges hands in this process. Instead, the ADF is awarded for specific items. For example, you may receive an award for "a smart shirt at £x.xx." If possible, you will be given an invoice payment form to take to a Jobcentre Plus contracted supplier to exchange for the goods. In cases where this is not possible, the Job Centre Plus will aim to reimburse you upon production of a receipt. In exceptional cases, you may be paid directly, but you will need to provide proof of purchase. However, it is important to note that once you reach stage 4 (unemployed for a year), you will not be able to apply for an advisor discretion grant. Instead, if you are on stage 4, you can still receive financial help (up to about £500) through a different source.
To apply for the Advisor Discretion Fund, you need to arrange an appointment with your Jobcentre Plus advisor. This appointment must be separate from your regular signing meet. You can contact your local Jobcentre Plus and search for your local office. Alternatively, you can call the national Jobcentre Plus telephone number at 0800 055 6688. This number can provide you with additional information, including details about crisis loans, budgeting loans, and cold weather payments.
Travel to Interview Scheme Facts
If you are planning to attend an interview, it is worth saving your Advisor Discretionary Fund (ADF) grant for costs other than transport. This is because there is a separate funding scheme called the Travel to Interview Scheme (TIS) that specifically covers travel costs for interviews. The TIS is available to customers who are traveling "beyond their normal daily traveling distance," as determined by the individual local office.
If you plan to claim under the Travel to Interview scheme, you must inform your Jobcentre Plus advisor before the interview. They will then check with the interviewer to confirm your eligibility. In some cases, you may even be able to claim for up to two nights of hotel stay, but only if there are no other cheaper options available.
In most cases, you will need to pay the costs upfront and claim reimbursement by presenting your receipts. However, if you are unable to afford the costs upfront, you may be given a travel warrant. In exceptional circumstances, a travel to interview scheme can be awarded to you upfront. It is important to note that the Advisor Discretion Fund cannot be used for travel to interview costs. To discuss your options and learn more about the Travel to Interview Scheme, contact your local Jobcentre Plus and arrange an appointment.
Finally, if you have been claiming JSA for half a year or more and you start a job that requires a minimum of 16 hours per week and is expected to last for more than 5 weeks, you will automatically be given a £100 job grant. However, qualification for this grant is subject to several conditions, including unbroken claims of at least half a year. Even a single day's gap in your claims can affect your qualification. This job grant is provided to help you financially while you wait for your first paycheck.