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Benefits Advice

Many people do not realise that they may be entitled to additional income in the form of benefits and struggle to manage on the limited income they have. There are a number of benefits available to individuals who are perhaps unemployed, sick, disabled, employed, with or without children or who are elderly.

Benefit Check

If you would like to find out more and check your entitlements, please contact us on 0300 123 5544 and ask for a benefit check. Please have information about your income available. One of our benefit advisers can then perform a check, and if they identify anything new you can claim or think you should be getting more of a benefit than you are, they will help you with this.

New Claims

Our benefit advisers can help you make a new claim for benefit, whether that be Housing Benefit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Personal Independence Payments or anything else. Please contact us on 0300 123 5544 if you need help.

Problem with your claim?

If you think the amount of benefit you get is wrong, or if it has been stopped and you don't agree with this or aren't sure why, please contact us on 0300 123 5544.

Our benefit advisers can make an appointment to assess what has happened with your claim and whether we can help you ensure you are receiving the correct amount. We can help you request a benefit decision is looked again and we even represent at benefit appeal tribunals on behalf of our tenants.

Better off calculation

Have you been offered a new job or have some other change to your circumstances, but aren't sure how this will affect your benefits and whether you will be better off financially? 

If you're not sure contact us on 0300 123 5544 and we can estimate your entitlements. Please be prepared with details of your income before the change as well as what you expect it to be after.

'Bedroom Tax'

If your Housing Benefit decision letter says your eligible rent has been reduced by 14% or 25%, you are considered to 'under-occupy' your home, and the Local Authority is reducing the amount of support you are entitled to as a result. This is known as the 'Bedroom Tax', 'Under-occupancy reduction' or 'Reduction of the spare room subsidy'.

If this affects you, we could help you apply for Discretionary Housing Payments, which is a temporary award to top up Housing Benefit. If you want this help please contact us. 

However, you should also consider whether you need to move home to avoid this rule. If your rent account is up to date, you may be able to register for mutual exchange, and you may also be able to register onto your Local Authority's Housing Register to move. People who are under-occupy their property are often given priority to move.

You might also like to consider increasing your income by finding more work, or even taking in a lodger (please note you should ask your Housing Officer for permission to take in a lodger). Taking in a lodger can also affect your benefit entitlement - as above, we could do a better off calculation for you.

Benefit Cap

Housing Benefit claimants are restricted to receiving no more than £26,000 in benefits as a household per year. This is £500 per week. There are currently proposals to reduce this to £23,000 per year, which is about £440 per week.

If this affects you, you will have to pay some or all of your rent even though you are only getting income-based benefits. In Central Bedfordshire and surrounding areas, this generally only affects larger families. You are exempt if you claim certain disability benefits or if you're entitled to Working Tax Credit.

If you think this might be affecting you or worried that it will, contact us on 0300 123 5544 and ask for our benefit advisers who can can help you.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit currently being slowly introduced across the country. Further information can be found here. If you need help claiming this benefit, please contact us on 0300 123 5544 and ask for the Benefits and Money Advice Team.

Further information about benefits can be found on the Government's website.

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