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Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme (DESSS)

Latest: DESSS scheme

Please be aware that we can no longer help with rent payments, furniture or white goods.

1. Overview

Help with food and utilities

The Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme (DESSS) provides emergency help in certain situations. It does not provide cash or loans but may provide the food or utilities that you need. Your household will usually only be able to receive support from the scheme once in 12 months.

When you can apply for the scheme

You will need to fit one of the circumstances below:

  • You had to pay a one-off payment unexpectedly which has left you without enough money to pay for food and utilities and there is a risk to your household’s health and safety.

    You must provide evidence of what you had to pay and explain why it had to be paid immediately.

    We cannot help if the payment you have had to make is for travel to court or legal appointments, travel to medical appointments, or payment of household bills or debts.

  • You have had money stolen and there is a risk to your household’s health and safety.

    You must provide evidence of the report you have made to the police and proof that the money was taken out of your bank.

    We cannot help if you have lost your money, or where the amount withdrawn does not match the regular pattern of withdrawals from your account.

  • Your benefit payments have been temporarily stopped and this was not caused by your own actions.

    You must provide confirmation of the circumstances from an organisation that is assisting with the situation.

    We cannot help if you can apply for an alternative payment, such as a hardship payment, and appeal rate of benefit or an alternative benefit.

    We cannot help if you have another income, even if this is normally meant for another purpose, such as DLA or PIP.

    We cannot help where your benefits have been stopped because you have not returned a form or medical evidence, you did not attend an appointment (unless this was agreed in advance) or you have failed to comply with the conditions of entitlement of the benefit.

    We cannot usually provide help if your benefit claim has been sanctioned or suspended. You will need to ask the Job Centre about claiming hardship payments or contact the East Sussex welfare benefits helpline on 0333 344 0681.

  • Your benefits have stopped because you have started work, but there is a delay in receiving your first wage.

    You must provide evidence of the date you started work and when you will receive your first wage payment.

    We cannot help if you can access other money, such as an advance from your employer.

  • You have made a claim for benefit and do not have enough money for food and utilities until you get your first payment.

    You must provide evidence of your last income, the date you claimed benefit and when the first payment is expected.

  • You have no recourse to public funds, but have been assessed by Adult Social Care as being eligible for council support, and you do not have the means to obtain food and utilities.

    These applications will be made by the social worker who has dealt with your case.

  • You have been discharged from hospital and cannot access your money immediately.

    These applications will be made by your social worker.

Can I get help?

You have to live in East Sussex (which does not include Brighton & Hove). You must be aged 16 years or over.

You must either have a low income or receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit

If you are able to cover this need yourself or there is another way that you could do so, DESSS will not be able to help you.

Apply to DESSS

Please use this form to apply to DESSS. Return the form by email to the email address below.

To get in touch:

There is no formal right of appeal to any decision made by us. If you are not happy with how your application is dealt with you can complain to Adult Social Care and Health.