In recent years the Government has made changes to the benefits people are entitled to claim, and is also changing how the money is allocated.
A new limit has been put on the total amount a household can receive in benefits, changing how much is paid to you through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If you are affected by this, it is vital you continue to pay your rent and we recommend you speak to your Income Recovery Officer about it. See how the benefit cap might affect you.
The bedroom tax or ‘spare room subsidy’ affects people with bedrooms that are regarded as ‘spare’ by reducing their Housing Benefit or Universal Credit – by 14% for one spare room and 25% for two or more. This has led many people to downsize. Please get in touch if you would like advice on how to move to a smaller property.
Universal Credit is the new way benefits – including Housing Benefit – will be paid. The scheme is being gradually phased in and anyone under retirement age receiving Housing Benefit will have to go online to claim their money. (Don't worry – you will be notified directly when you are going to be affected by this).
Benefits will be paid directly into a bank account and recipients will be responsible for arranging payments for rent, and any other bills.
The easiest way to do this is to set up a Direct Debit and we would encourage all our tenants to do this, it takes away the risk of forgetting to pay your rent – and avoids the build-up of arrears.
The Money Advice Service has lots of useful information and calculators. Visit their help with your benefits section for more information.
Take action as soon as possible if you are having problems paying your rent. Call our Income Recovery team on 0300 365 3100.