• No tags were found...

Untitled - Viridian Housing

Benefit Cap

Universal Credit.



Welfare Reform

You will probably have seen on the news, read in the paper

or heard on the radio about the changes to benefits.

This leaflet gives information about the changes that could

affect your Housing Benefit and support that is available.







Bedroom Tax

What is the Bedroom Tax?

Bedroom Tax means if you have any spare

bedrooms, your Housing Benefit will be

cut. The reduction is 14% per week for one

spare room and 25% per week for two or

more spare rooms.

So how does it work?

• You are entitled to one bedroom for

the main resident and partner, and one

bedroom for every other person over 16.

• For children under the age of 10, two

children are expected to share, and

between the ages of 10 and 16, children

must share if they are the same gender.

• If you share custody of a child, whoever

receives the Child Benefit will get the

bedroom allowance for that child.

Who will be affected?

If you are aged between 18 and 61 and

living in a Council or Housing Association

home, you could be affected by the

Bedroom Tax.

These changes will affect me

– what are my options?

You can either stay in your current home

and pay the extra rent, or move to a

smaller home. We can help you look for a

new place to live. As a resident of Viridian

you can also look for other people to

swap your home with. You can find

properties through the HomeSwapper


Benefit cap

What is the Benefit Cap?

The Benefit Cap is a limit on how much you

can receive in benefits.

The new limits are:

• £500 per week (£26,000 per year) for

couples with or without children, and

single parents

• £350 per week (£18,200 per year) for

single people without children.

Who will be affected?

This change will affect everyone claiming

benefits and receiving more than the

amounts shown above. It is likely that

families with more than two children will

be affected the most.

If you add all your benefits up, not

forgetting those you don’t normally

receive yourself, such as Council Tax

Benefit and Housing Benefit, which are

paid directly to your landlord, this will help

you see if you are going to be affected by

the Benefit Cap.

The cap will not include Working Tax

Credits, Disability living Allowance/PIP or

war widows/widowers’ benefits.

Are you


What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new single monthly payment for people in or out of

work, which will replace some of the tax credits and benefits that you might

be getting now.

What is different about

Universal Credit?

Universal Credit will be paid in a different

way to your current benefits:

• it will be paid monthly into an account

that you choose

• if you get help with your rent, this will be

included in this monthly payment – you

will then be responsible for paying your

landlord yourself

• if you and your partner are both eligible,

you will get one monthly payment for the

whole household.

Universal Credit will generally be

managed online. You can make your

claim online, then check on your

payments and updates through your

online account.

Universal Credit will replace:

• Income-based Jobseeker’s


• Income-related Employment

and Support Allowance

• Income Support

• Child Tax Credit

• Working Tax Credit

• Housing Benefit

Other information about

Universal Credit

If you are on a low income, you will

probably still get Universal Credit when

you first start a new job or increase your

part-time hours.

Your Universal Credit won’t suddenly be

taken away, but as your earnings increase

the Universal Credit will reduce.

All Universal Credit claimants will have

a claimant commitment which clearly

sets out your responsibilities and the

consequences if you fail to meet these


You will have to pay your rent yourself

From 2013 onwards, Housing Benefit - and many other benefits - will be phased

out and replaced with Universal Credit. If your rent is being paid directly to

your landlord this will stop. Instead, your monthly Universal Credit payment will

include the money for your rent and you’ll need to arrange to pay it yourself.

To receive your Universal Credit payment, you will need to have an account that can receive

electronic payments. Here is a list of the different accounts available and what they offer.

Services and


Accepts Universal

Credit payments

Allows Direct Debits

and standing orders



Make rent your top priority

Basic bank account

(including those

offered by credit


Jam jar


Yes Yes Yes Yes


Yes (All basic bank

accounts and some

accounts offered by

credit unions)

Overdraft facility Yes No - Some accounts

offer a small buffer


Cash card with PIN

for cash machine


Yes - May be restricted

to provider’s own


Debit card Yes Sometimes No No

Cheque book Yes No No No

Credit checks when


Fees and charges

Yes No No No

Fees and interest

charged on


Penalties for returned

standing orders or

Direct Debits.

Usually charge

penalties for returned

standing orders or

Direct Debits.

Post Office ®

card account

Universal Credit will be paid in one lump sum, so you may need to make some changes to

how you budget. It’s really important not to let this larger monthly payment tempt you

into spending money that you can’t afford.

Ensuring your home is paid for is extremely important, so always make your rent a top

priority, as it will be your responsibility to pay your rent to your landlord.




Monthly fee

around £10-£15.

No penalties for

returned standing

orders or Direct





Can only be used

at the Post Office.

No fees

Discretionary Housing Payment

What is a discretionary

housing payment (DHP)?

Each Local Authority Housing/Council Tax

Benefit department is given a pot of money

each year to help people who qualify for

Housing or Council Tax Benefit, but are

having trouble paying their rent or Council

Tax. The council decides who should be given

the payments. When the money for the year

runs out, no more payments can be made.

What can a DHP cover?

The payments cover a range of things

which include a shortfall between Housing

Benefit and rent.

How can you claim DHP?

Your local council has forms you can fill in

to submit a request for the payment.

What information should you

send with your claim?

You may be asked for details of your

income and outgoings. You could send

copies of relevant bills or bank statements.

You should also provide any information

about your circumstances that make things

difficult for you financially.

For more information contact your

Housing Officer.

Setting up a Direct Debit

Paying your rent by Direct


The best way to pay your rent, and prevent

getting into rent arrears, is to set up a

Direct Debit. This is easy to do.

What is a Direct Debit?

A Direct Debit is an instruction from you

to your bank or building society that lets

an organisation take a pre-agreed regular

payment from your account.

Direct Debits are handy for paying regular

bills, such as gas or electricity and rent.

What’s good about Direct


• Save time, effort and money – no

need to worry about remembering to

pay a bill, and lots of companies offer

discounts when you pay by Direct Debit.

• Paying by Direct Debit comes with

a guarantee, so the bank will pay

any incorrect payments back to you


How can you set up a Direct


A Direct Debit is set up by the organisation

collecting the payments. Usually you fill

in a form and send it to them, or set it up

online or over the phone. They’ll let your

bank know.

You can also cancel a Direct Debit at any

time by contacting your bank directly.

Do they cost anything?

No – banks don’t charge you for setting up

or paying by Direct Debit.

Watch out! If you don’t have enough

money in your account, your bank

might not make the payment (and

they don’t have to tell you). If they

do make the payment you’ll go into

the red without noticing – which could

mean overdraft charges.

Who can use Direct Debit?

You usually need to be over 16 or

over 18 to set up a Direct Debit,

depending on your account, so check

with your bank or building society.

Support available

If you are worried about any of the changes, please discuss these concerns

with your Housing Officer. Alternatively you can contact one of the below

support services we are working with.

We are now partnering with StepChange Debt Charity who provide a free

debt advice service to help people who are struggling with the stress and worry of

debt. They are the UK’s largest debt advice charity, and help over 400,000 people

each year to manage and overcome their debt problems, with tailored advice to

suit their situation.

What free services does StepChange Debt Charity offer?

• Telephone and online debt advice

• Welfare Benefits check

• Debt Management Plan

• Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Orders

• How to deal with your mortgage lender

• Self-employed service for people who

need it

• Specialist services for vulnerable clients

Call StepChange on: 0800 138 1111 and quote Viridian

All calls are free from mobile phones. Open 8am-8pm Mon-Fri 9am – 3pm Sat

Gingerbread provides expert advice and

practical support for single parent families.

If you would like to contact Gingerbread, their helpline number is

0808 802 0925. Further information about Gingerbread can be found on their


For more information please contact

Viridian Housing

Cowell House, 376 Clapham Road, London SW9 9AR

Phone: 0330 123 0220 Fax: 0203 202 3601


*All information was correct at the time of print

April 2013

Design and print:

Printed on Evolution Silk, 75% recycled paper

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines