The Government has been making a series of changes to housing benefit and other welfare benefits. This could leave some of our tenants with less money but please remember that rent payments have to take priority because if you do not pay your rent you could lose your home. If you are having difficulty meeting the commitment to pay your rent, please talk to your Housing Officer.
We can offer free and confidential advice on financial matters through Staying First, part of Shepherd’s Bush Housing Group, but please contact your Housing Officer first. General advice can be found online including Turn2US www.turn2us.org.uk or through the My Advice Gateway website.
Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age (defined currently as 60 years 6 months) only. It does not affect anyone in our sheltered housing even if they are under this age. UC combines six benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit and Income Support. It is a single monthly payment paid direct to claimants. If you receive UC please make sure that you set enough aside each month to pay us the rent. If you are worried about managing monthly payments and falling into arrears the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) will consider making a payment direct to your landlord, but you would need to explain why you cannot manage monthly payments yourself.
A number of our tenants who were receiving Housing Benefit are now on UC and eventually anyone of working age will get this benefit rather than JSA and HB.
From November 2016 the cap on certain benefits is £296.35 for single people and £442.31 for those with families. It means that the total benefit can receive from a combination of benefits including Housing Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit cannot be more than these caps. If you are affected by the cap it will mean your Housing Benefit will be reduced but we cannot reduce the rent. If you think that the benefit cap will make it difficult for you to pay the rent, please contact your Housing Officers as we may be able to offer you some advice.
If you are under 35 and receive HB, your HB will only be paid up to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). Local Housing Allowances are set for broad geographical areas and are based on local market rents. The LHA is set roughly at the lowest third of these rents. To look up an LHA rate, view https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/search.aspx