Welfare Reform

Welfare Reform

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

Our comprehensive guide to Universal Credit is available here. Below is a snapshot of the changes being implemented.

Universal Credit combines six benefits into one monthly payment – Housing Benefit, JSA, ESA, Income Support, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. By December 2018 all boroughs will be in Full Service, meaning new claims to any of those benefits or a change of circumstances affecting those benefits will trigger a move onto Universal Credit.

In order to claim Universal Credit you need to claim online. The form takes approximately an hour to complete and has to be completed in one sitting. If you would like to complete it in the office, please call to arrange an appointment.

Universal Credit is paid to you once a month and will be paid on the same day each month. It includes a Living Element and the Rent Element. It is your responsibility to pay the rent to us and we would advise a Direct Debit being set up the day after your payment date. Some tenants can apply for the rent to be paid direct to us, so please talk to your Work Coach and Housing Officer if you feel this would be beneficial.

If you already claim Universal Credit, it is your responsibility to update your claim when a change of circumstances happen. This includes rent changes.

If you have any concerns about Universal Credit please call 0208 749 7112 and ask to speak to the Income Officer.

Benefit Cap

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

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