Our Money Advice Team can assist with any queries if you are struggling to find the answer online. They can help you if you check your benefits are correct, are new to benefits and not sure what to claim, are in arrears with your bills, or have had a change in your benefits and are not sure what to do.
If you need some help and guidance about a certain benefit or want to make sure you are receiving the right benefits, there is lots of help and information available online, you can find out more by clicking on the links below.
Gov.uk gives information on working-age benefits, such as Universal Credit, ESA, JSA, and Income Support.
The Pension Service provides information about pensions and pensioner benefits. For example State Pension, Pension Credit.
HM Revenue and Customs give information on family benefits. For example Child benefits, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit.
Stockport Council has information about Housing and Council Tax benefits.
Citizens Advice Bureau offers information about benefits, debt, employment, tax, and money management.
Entitledto allows you to complete your own benefit check online.
We can help if you:
- Have not had your benefits checked before
- Are in arrears with your rent
- May have had a change of circumstances
- Are a new tenant with Stockport Homes
- Have any other questions
- Universal Credit will be rolled out to most people of working age that currently claim benefits over the next couple of years, the main differences are that you will receive a monthly payment, and this will include housing costs so you will be responsible for paying your rent. There will also be at least five weeks before you receive your first payment once the transition of your benefit starts. For more information, please see the Universal Credit page.
- Housing Benefit will only be backdated a maximum of one month so do not delay in making your claim and make sure you provide any information requested as soon as you can to avoid your claim being cancelled.
- Disability Living Allowance claimants will all go through a process of their claim being reassessed under Personal Independence Payment criteria – many claimants will lose their awards through this process, and some will suffer significant income loss as a result. This is not optional, and all claimants will have to be reassessed regardless.
- Many families that receive benefits who are not in work will have their benefits capped and this is known as Benefit Cap – this is currently £500 per week, but the amount is reducing significantly to £385 per week and could affect families with as few as three children - the cut will come from Housing Benefit meaning out of this £385 per week rent will have to be covered as well as all other living costs.
- Those who start a tenancy from 1 April 2016 will have their maximum Housing Benefit capped to Local Housing Allowance rates in line with private tenancy amounts with effect from 1 April 2018 and this applies if they move, transfer or lose their home. This means no more than the shared room rate (currently £57.84) for under 35s that are single.
- For Under 21s the need to be in work or training will become more important than ever when the entitlement to Housing Benefit is withdrawn for those under 21s that are not in work or training.
- Underoccupancy or ‘bedroom tax’ as it is sometimes known continues to be an issue where Housing Benefit is reduced because of a spare room; there are now some exemptions that can be applied and help with this from the Discretionary Payment fund is reducing.
- An increase in sanctions where stricter regimes are being imposed on job seekers particularly under Universal Credit leaving claimants without any income for up to three years and any hardship paid often having to be paid back.
When my ESA stopped, I didn’t know where to turn. I contacted the Money Advice Team to ask for help. I met with Leanne and she started investigating what had gone wrong. She found out that my ESA claim hadn’t been closed when it should have been, and this stopped Universal Credit allowing me to claim. Leanne escalated this problem with the Department of Working tax and Pensions. They accepted that there had been a mistake and backdated my claim to when I first applied. I wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own, and I’m so happy Leanne was there to help.
I was really struggling to make ends meet until I met with Jade. She helped me challenge my Universal Credit sanction and showed me where I could cut back on my spending until I found a new job. I feel much more positive about the future now.
You can find out how to report a change of circumstances to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support through our step-by-step guide.
View the leaflet on how to report a change of circumstances to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.
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