If you and/or your partner are responsible for paying rent (including any eligible service charges) for the home you live in, Universal Credit may provide help towards the costs.
Already receiving Housing Benefit?
Your Housing Benefit payment is made by your local authority to help towards paying rent for your home and other related housing costs such as service charges.
When you make a new claim for Universal Credit your housing costs will be paid as part of your Universal Credit payment. If you are receiving Housing Benefit we will contact your local authority to stop your Housing Benefit payments. This ensures that the Department for Work and Pensions and your local authority do not both pay your rent at the same time.
If you are making a new claim to Universal Credit your first payment will be received 7 days after the end of your first assessment period. You should let BHA know straight away if you are making a Universal Credit claim so we can understand your situation better and if there will be any delays in your Universal Credit payment.
Sheltered housing is also known as ‘specified accommodation’. If you live in supported or sheltered housing you are unable to claim housing costs through Universal Credit, but you can claim Housing Benefit from your local authority. Your rent will still be met by Housing Benefit from your local council, even if the rest of your money comes from Universal Credit.
Help with rent arrears
If you are 2 months or more behind on your rent, BHA can apply for a third party deduction directly from your Universal Credit payment. This will only apply if you are at least 2 months in arrears with your rent. Please contact BHA straight away if you believe this may apply to you.
Changes in your circumstances
These may alter your Universal Credit Housing Costs payment. It is your responsibility to notify the DWP of any changes of circumstance, these include things like:
- finding or finishing a job
- having or caring for a child
- a change to your address
- becoming too ill
- a change to your banking details your rent going up or down
- becoming too ill to work or meet your work coach
- a partner joining or leaving the home you rent and live in (if a partner leaves the home you may
need to speak to your landlord and get a new tenancy agreement. You will need to inform
Universal Credit of this change)
Money advice and support with benefits
BHA offer a free, confidential service to give you advice about managing your money, avoiding arrears, dealing with debt and information about the benefits you may be able to claim. Contact us to find out more about this service and how we can help you.
The following organisations can also offer help and support:
National Debt Line: 0808 808 4000
Islington Foodbank: 07753 222 775, firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens Advice Bureau: 0300 330 1197
Help on your Doorstep: 020 3931 6080
If you’re on welfare benefits, you may be eligible to apply for a budgeting loan to help buy furniture and white goods (such as a fridge, freezer or washing machine) or help with moving costs. This is an interest free loan. You can apply online at: www.gov.uk/budgeting-help-benefits/how-to-claim or visit your nearest JobCentre Plus.
Please contact us if you are having money worries and we will try to help in any way we can.