The sooner you talk to us, the more help we can offer.
We have a dedicated team of Income Officers who will be happy to advise you, as well as a specialist Welfare Benefits team who can provide advice and guidance on claiming benefits. Alternatively, you can call the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000
Factors affecting benefits
Under-occupation (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.
See if you are affected by using the Bedroom Calculator.
The Government has limited the amount of welfare benefits people can receive. This is £23,000 per annum inside Greater London and £20,000 per annum outside Greater London. Read more to see if you are affected by the benefit cap.
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. This includes cases where you have been advised to apply for UC but it may not have been necessary. Contact us if you need help with this.
Backdated Housing Benefit
In some circumstances it may be possible to be paid Housing Benefit for up to a month before you claim. This is called ‘backdating’. You will need to show you have a good reason for failing to claim earlier.
For more information, visit the Citizens Advice website.
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. This is often when you are affected by the bedroom tax or benefit cap, but can also be for other reasons such as short-term illness or family circumstances.
Find out more by visiting your local authority website, or contacting our income department for advice. We have experienced staff who can guide on whether you should apply and who can help you with the applications.
We recently helped a resident who was affected by the benefit cap to apply for a DHP. She has now been awarded £70 a week towards her rent for 20 weeks.
For more information, see the DHP guide on the gov.uk website.