Sources of Help & Advice

Sources of Help & Advice

Benefit entitlement

A summary of available benefits is available on the Government’s website

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:

  • savings
  • 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.

Benefit cap

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.

Sources of 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 Housing Officer (Tenancy Sustainment) 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 Housing Officer (Tenancy Sustainment), if you need help with this.

Debt advice

For free advice on dealing with debt you can:

  • contact StepChange – a charity which provides expert, tailored advice and practical solutions to problem debt.

Money guidance from the Money and Pensions Service

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) has produced guidance to help people manage changes to the cost of living. The focus is on people who have not yet missed payments on their bills or credit commitments, but who are at serious risk of doing so.

The guidance on its MoneyHelper website helps people manage their money in uncertain times. These resources and tools are aimed at people who:

Managing your money in uncertain times | MoneyHelper

Other sources of independent advice

You can get independent advice from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) – find your local CAB here

You can contact your local Shelter Advisor – find your local Shelter Adviser here

Additional help from your local council

Buckinghamshire Council’s Helping Hand service is available to help individuals or families in need, those on low incomes and those experiencing a financial crisis or emergency in Buckinghamshire. They can offer help with essentials like access to food, household utilities, water and energy bills. They can also help if you are worried about finances and with emotional support and wellbeing. If you need help, regardless of whether you qualify for benefits, you can contact the service by calling 01296 531151 or following the above link.

If you live in Slough and need financial or benefits related support, please read the support for residents pages or contact the main council call centre on 01753 475111.

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.

For more information, please contact or give us a call.