Sources of Help & Advice
Sources of Help & Advice
A summary of available benefits is available on the Government’s website www.gov.uk/browse/benefits
Use an independent benefit calculator, such as entitledto to find out:
- what benefits you could get
- how to claim
- how your benefits will be affected if you start work.
You will need to have to hand accurate information about your:
- yours and your partner’s income (from payslips, for example)
- existing benefits and pensions (including anyone living with you)
- outgoings (such as rent, mortgage, childcare payments)
- council tax bill.
Factors affecting benefits
Under-occupation charge (also known as the ‘Bedroom Tax’)
This affects people of working age who are under-occupying and claiming Housing Benefit or the housing costs in Universal Credit. If you are considered to be under-occupying, you will have a reduction in benefits of 14% for one bedroom under-occupancy or 25% if you under-occupy by two bedrooms or more.
The Government has limited the amount of welfare benefits people can receive. If your total benefits come to more than the maximum amount allowed, your housing benefit or the housing cost element of Universal Credit will be reduced. This is known as the benefit cap.
How we can help
Discretionary housing payment (DHP)
If you are struggling to pay a shortfall in your rent, you may be able to claim a discretionary housing payment (DHP). A DHP can be claimed when you are already getting either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
Your local authority is able to make a short-term award if you are struggling to pay your rent. DHP is often awarded when people are affected by the bedroom tax or benefit cap, but can also be for other reasons such as short-term illness or family circumstances.
Our Welfare Benefits Officer can provide guidance on whether you should apply for DHP and can help you with the application.
Problems with Housing Benefit
If you have had a problem with Housing Benefit, it may be possible to ask for the decision to be reviewed to get it back into payment or increased. Contact our Welfare Benefits Officer, if you need help with this.
For free advice on dealing with debt you can:
- visit the National Debtline website or call them on 0808 808 4000
- contact StepChange – a charity which provides expert, tailored advice and practical solutions to problem debt.
Other sources of independent advice
You can get independent advice from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) – find your local CAB here www.citizensadvice.org.uk
You can contact your local Shelter Advisor – find your local Shelter Adviser here
Extra help available from Bucks Housing
Tenant Welfare Fund
We operate a Tenant Welfare Fund to provide a little extra help to customers experiencing financial difficulties. Tenants are able to apply for a one-off grant of up to £250 to purchase essential items. Recent examples have included help towards a cooker, a fridge/freezer, replacement carpets and decorating costs. To be eligible tenants must be able to provide clear evidence of financial hardship.
We have arrangements with Central Aid in High Wycombe and the Slough Furniture Project, whereby our tenants can obtain free second hand furniture, up to the value of £250. To take advantage of either scheme you need to take along proof that you are a Bucks Housing resident, in the form of your tenancy agreement or a letter of introduction from us.
For more information on either of these initiatives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call.