Did you know that you may be entitled to claim for housing benefit? The Department of Work and Pensions announced in February 2018 that around 4.5 million people are claiming housing benefits. Sometimes we are unaware of what financial aid is available to us.
What is Housing Benefit?
The Housing Benefit system was initially implemented in 1982, however, it can be traced back as far as 1919 where subsidies were paid to people to help them pay for their council-rented properties.
It’s there to help you’re in need of it. Housing benefit has been put in place to support those on a low income/no income who rent or part rent their home. To be able to make a claim you need to meet specific criteria that have been set in place. You need to already be a recipient of some form of benefits and have savings of £16,000 or less. If you are also claiming pension credits then the amount can be higher.
What can it be used for?
Housing Benefit has been put in place to help those who need it to pay for their rent. It doesn’t contribute towards the cost of bills such as gas, electricity and general living costs, it’s purely there to help with the cost of your rent.
Why should I make a claim?
Struggling to pay rent is not something to be ashamed of. Housing Benefit has been put in place to help people who need it, and if you truly are in need of a little helping hand then you might as well make the most of what’s there for you.
With a helping hand towards your rent, this means that bills and food shopping funds will be easier allocated. You can take away the concern of not being able to pay your rent, and start to concentrate on paying for the other important things that come with living in a home.
How do you apply for Housing Benefits?
To apply you need to get in touch with your local council who will distribute the housing benefits to you if you meet the criteria. You can apply directly to them, or alternatively through Jobcentre Plus or the Pension services.
You may need to remain a little patient during the whole process. In the past Housing Benefit have been accused of being slow and lacking organisation, so you may need to keep on contact with them to ensure they have received your application. You can contact the Housing Benefit customer services team to speak directly to an operator.
The money will be credited to you 4 weeks in arrears directly into your rent account if you rent directly from the council. If you rent through a private landlord then the money will be sent directly to the claimant. You can ask for the money to be sent straight into the landlord’s account if that is necessary. Some private landlords will ask for this to be done as part of your rental agreement with them.
Their phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am through to 5pm if you are wanting to make a claim or simply get in touch with them.
Do you have a complaint to make?
If you are unhappy with the result of your application or the way it has been processed then you can, of course, make a complaint directly to them rather than going through your local council. You can contact their customer services team who will be happy to help you with any complaints you make. If they are unable to directly deal with your complaint then they will at least point you in the right direction towards someone who can help you.