Sense Cost of Living Support Fund

In response to the cost of living crisis in the UK, we distributed grants of £500 to people with complex disabilities who are on low incomes and who are living in the family home.

Applications are now closed.

If you’re unsure of who to speak with, contact our Information and Advice service.

Here’s an easy read version of this page.

Who’s it for?

It’s for people with complex disabilities (including people who are deafblind) who are on a low income.

To apply, you or the person in your family must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • You or a person in your family must have a complex disability.
  • You live in your family home.
  • You live in England, Northern Ireland or Wales.
  • You have a household income of less than £30,000 (excluding PIP and other benefits that are not means-tested).
  • You have household savings of less than £1,500.
  • You’re currently accessing either one means-tested benefit and/or carers allowance.
  • You are not on a Debt Relief Order (DRO) or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).
  • You must be accessing a Sense service – or one of the services provided by the list of our nominated partner charities.

If you have questions, contact the professional who works with you and they can help.

How do I apply?

All applications are now closed.

Here’s the criteria from when applications were open:

All applications must come through a professional nominated by Sense. Please note that professionals and organisations that are nominated will have been notified and unfortunately we can’t support more at present.

You should contact the professional who works with you or your family to schedule a time to complete your application form. The application takes roughly 20-30 minutes and you must either be with them in person or on Zoom as they fill in the form.

If you are already using any Sense services, please contact someone working in that service for more information.

You will need to bring your bank details – it’s easiest to bring a debit card. (If you don’t have a bank account, you can receive the money onto a pre-paid card.)

Who counts as a professional referrer?

Grants are available through Your professional referrer can be (but is not limited to):

  • A support worker.
  • A service manager.
  • A social care worker.

We recommend you share this page with the person you’d like to be your professional referrer and schedule a conversation as soon as possible. They can explain the process, check you’re eligible for the grant, and make an application for you.

Are you unsure who can refer you? Contact our Information and Advice service for help.

Are there any restrictions on how I can spend the money?


How can I receive the money?

We aim to process payments in 5 working days. You can either receive the money:

  • Into your bank account.
  • On a pre-paid card (although it can take longer to process payments onto pre-paid cards).

Your professional referrer will verify your bank details with you as they complete the application form with you.

Is Sense issuing the payments?

Sense is funding this grant service, but we’re not issuing the payments. We’ve partnered with a charity called Turn2us to process payments. They have a lot of experience in distributing charitable funds like this. They will store your data securely.

If you have any questions for them, you can speak with their helpline on 0808 802 2000 or email them at [email protected].

How long is the fund open?

The fund closes on 30 September 2022. You can only apply for one grant.

What is a complex disability?

People with complex disabilities tend to have two or more of the following conditions. They may have other needs as well. For more information, visit our complex disability guide.

  • Deaf or hearing impairment
  • Learning disability
  • Blind or vision impairment
  • Social, behavioural condition, such as autism, ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome 

I’m disabled and I work in social care. Can I apply for myself?

You will be eligible for the fund if you meet all of the eligibility criteria, but you cannot apply for yourself. You must be referred by another professional – you should share this page with them and ask them to complete an application form on your behalf.

Contact our Information and Advice team if you have any questions about who can refer you.

Where can I learn more?

Speak with the professional you’re in contact with at Sense. They will be able to explain how the fund works and whether you’re eligible to apply. They can also begin your application.

I think my application was incorrectly denied. What can I do?

We review each application against the eligibility criteria – that’s the basis for our grant decision-making process. You must go through all of the eligibility checks with the social care professional who’s making your referral before they complete the application form for you.

If you do not meet all of the criteria, we will unfortunately have to deny your application. If you believe there’s been a mistake and you’d like to appeal the decision, please fill in this form with a summary of your case and explain why you think there’s been an error.

How can I help if I don’t need support?

We’re calling on the government to take action to support disabled people through the cost of living crisis. Sign our petition to show your support. And if you can afford it, please support our work with a donation.