Chat Live Now

Live Support

Our Agents are available 09:00- 17:00 Mon-Fri

Managing Your Money | South Lakes Housing

Managing Your Money

When you take a tenancy with South Lakes Housing it is vital that you are able to pay your rent. We understand that managing your money can at times be very difficult. We are therefore offering the following advice, information and support.

  • Universal CreditRead more

    Universal Credit is a new benefit for working-age people which will eventually be replacing:

    • Housing Benefit
    • Income Support
    • Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
    • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Working Tax Credit

    IMPORTANT: Universal Credit does not include help with your Council Tax. You must apply to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme separately.

    Universal Credit is claimed online via www.gov.uk. If you need help you can ring the helpline 0345 6000723. Be aware that calls cost between 1p and 40p a minute from mobiles, although they can ring you back- but be prepared to wait.

    Please note: Once you have made your claim you will not then receive your first payment of Universal Credit until one calendar month and seven days week after that date. In addition, some new claims for Universal Credit may be subject to an additional seven day waiting period, delaying payment by a further week. If you have no other means of support until you receive your first payment therefore, you should seek an Advanced Payment of UC. Be aware that there is a time limit for making a claim, but an advanced payment is paid at 50% of your normal UC payment, which will be recovered from UC award once in payment.

  • Under Occupation (Bedroom Tax)Read more

    The Under Occupancy charge or so-termed Bedroom Tax is applied under Housing Benefit or Universal Credit rules where it is deemed that you have too many bedrooms for your household need. Your Housing Benefit, or the Housing element component of Universal Credit, will be reduced by an amount equal to 14% of your rent if you are regarded as having one ‘extra’ bedroom; or by 25% of your rent if you have two or more ‘extra’ bedrooms.

    Please note: If you (or you and your partner) are of Pension Credit age and in receipt of Housing Benefit, then you will not be affected by the Bedroom Tax.

    In certain circumstances the Bedroom Tax will not apply to your household and therefore you should check to see whether the rules have been applied correctly and if they have, what else, if anything, you can do to avoid and/or manage the charge.

    If you are subject to the bedroom tax, it may be that there will be alternative property available more suited to your needs. A short term solution however, may be to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment and therefore you should speak to your Housing Officer and/or to the Local Authority.

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)Read more

    Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16 or over and who were aged under 65 on 8 April 2013. PIP is designed to help people with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or disability. PIP awards are based on how a person’s disability / health condition affects their ability to complete certain everyday activities, rather than the condition they have. A PIP award can be paid to people regardless of whether they working or not working and does not depend on a person’s income or savings.

    You may be living with an enduring health problem and do not consider yourself to be disabled. If however, your illness means that you need help or you use aids and/or appliances to live more independently, then you may be able to claim a Personal Independence Payment.

    If you or your partner or a child aged 16 or over have an illness or disability, whether physical and/or mental health or a learning difficulty, you should contact an experienced adviser to see if you or they ought to claim.

    Most people who are currently getting Disability Living Allowance – except under 16s and those who were aged 65 on 8 April 2013 – are gradually being reassessed for Personal Independence Payment instead. When you are due for reassessment, you should be contacted directly by the DWP in due course.

  • Welfare ReformRead more

    The Government has already introduced a number of major changes to working age benefits, including the Under Occupancy Charge or Bedroom Tax, Universal Credit, the Benefits Cap, changes to the Employment & Support Allowance and the imposition of the two child limit for Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit awards. However, further reforms are due to implemented over the next few years, including the application of the Local Housing Allowance to social housing and further changes to Universal Credit. Some of the reforms will also affect older people.

    Some of these changes might make it more difficult for you to manage your money and to sustain your tenancy. It is your responsibility to pay the rent but SLH is here to help. We can provide you with the information, advice and support that you may need in order to understand how these welfare reforms may affect you and also help minimise the impact of these changes on your life.

    In other sections you will find that we have highlighted some of the main benefits to which you may be entitled, together with the range of information, advice and support we can provide with respect to you managing your money.

  • Housing BenefitRead more

    If you are in receipt of certain benefits and/or are on a low income and you are eligible, you may be able to get help to pay your rent through Housing Benefit. If you think you may be entitled you’ll need to apply directly to your local authority.

    Claim forms can be obtained from a South Lakeland District Council office in person, by telephone 01539 733333 or by emailing benefits@southlakeland.gov.uk. Claims can also be made online through the SLDC Website.

    Please note: If you live in rented property and claim Universal Credit, you do not have to apply separately for Housing Benefit. You will instead receive a Housing element as part of your Universal Credit award. However you will need to provide evidence of your rental liability.

    Changes to Housing Benefit from April 2016:

    If you ask for a Housing Benefit payment to be “backdated” this can only be allowed for up to 4 weeks from the date you claim and only then if it is reasonable and you had good reason for not claiming earlier. Also, if you go abroad for longer than 4 weeks you won’t get any Housing Benefit while you are away. This represents a significant reduction to the existing 13 week rule.

  • Non-dependant DeductionsRead more

    It is assumed that a non-dependent adult living in your household will contribute towards your household costs, including rent and Council Tax. The benefits authorities will therefore deduct a sum of money from your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction award. This is called a non-dependant deduction.

    Non-dependants are normally defined as anyone living with you aged 18 or over (21 if you are on Universal Credit) and for whom you do not receive Child Benefit. The amount deducted from your benefit is then generally based on the income the non-dependant receives. The deduction is applied regardless of whether or not they do actually give you any money for food, rent, electricity etc.

    When making a claim for benefits to help with your rent or Council Tax bill, it is important that you properly define the status of any non-dependent adult living in your household. The non-dependant deduction rules can be confusing and the wrong deduction can sometimes be taken – making a big difference to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and Council Tax Support award. If the non-dependent is in fact a lodger who pays you rent on a formal basis, then different rules apply

  • Discretionary Housing PaymentsRead more

    Discretionary Housing Payments are awarded at the discretion of the local authority and therefore they are not an entitlement in the way that many other benefits are. Payments can be made to people who qualify for Housing Benefit (or the housing cost element of Universal Credit) who may need help to;

    • Pay their rent, or
    • Find enough money to pay for the start-up costs of a tenancy, such as rent deposits and removal costs.

    If you need help you can apply to the local council for a Discretionary Housing Payment. This includes where you have been affected by the Bedroom Tax and Benefit Cap.

    To make a claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment you will need to explain your personal circumstances and detail your household expenditure in order to demonstrate the need for extra help. Discretionary Housing Payments awarded to help with a rent shortfall will usually be limited however, for a specified amount of time – 13 or 26 weeks – and are therefore not a long term solution.

    You are more likely to get a payment if you will not need it for very long. There is no time limit for making a claim, if a claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment is refused, that decision is not appealable to an independent Tribunal but you can request an internal review of the decision – write to your local council explaining why you disagree with their decision

  • Benefits CapRead more

    There is currently a benefit cap in place restricting the amount in certain benefits that a working age household can receive. Any household receiving more than the cap has their Housing Benefit or Universal Credit award reduced to bring them back within the limit. This cap is £23,000 for households living in Greater London and £20,000 for those outside Greater London

    The benefits Cap does not affect you if you (or you and your partner) are Pension Credit age or over – unless you are getting Universal Credit or Income Based JSA or Income Support or Income Related ESA – or under Pension Credit age and getting certain benefits, such as Working tax credit or disability benefits

    If you are affected by the Benefits Cap now, you should seek immediate advice.

  • Council Tax Reduction SchemeRead more

    If you are on a low income and you are eligible, you may be able to get your council tax bill reduced through the Council Tax Reduction scheme. Council Tax Reduction helps people on low incomes and/or certain welfare benefits to pay their council tax bill. If you think you may be entitled you’ll need to apply to your local authority for a reduction.

    If you qualify, the Local Authority will reduce your council tax bill by a certain amount. Although it’s possible to get a 100% reduction, it’s likely that most people of working age will have to pay at least some council tax every month.

    Please note: If you claim Universal Credit you will have to make a separate claim to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. This is different from when you claim Housing Benefit, where the claim is made on one form.

    It may be worth checking if your council tax bill should instead be reduced under a different scheme – the Alternative Council Tax Reduction Scheme (sometimes referred to as the Second Adult Rebate). This can be claimed by persons liable to pay Council Tax on their own and where other adults (second adults) live in the property and they are on a low income.

  • Welfare Reform UpdatesRead more

    The Government has already introduced a number of major changes to working age benefits, including the Under Occupancy Charge or Bedroom Tax, Universal Credit, the Benefits Cap, changes to the Employment & Support Allowance and the imposition of the two child limit for Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit awards. However, further reforms are due to implemented over the next few years, including the application of the Local Housing Allowance to social housing and further changes to Universal Credit. Some of the reforms will also affect older people.

    Some of these changes might make it more difficult for you to manage your money and to sustain your tenancy. It is your responsibility to pay the rent but SLH is here to help. We can provide you with the information, advice and support that you may need in order to understand how these welfare reforms may affect you and also help minimise the impact of these changes on your life.

    In other sections you will find that we have highlighted some of the main benefits to which you may be entitled, together with the range of information, advice and support we can provide with respect to you managing your money.

  • New State Retirement PensionRead more

    Anyone who reaches State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 will fall under the new rules for State Retirement Pensions. People who reach State Pension age before this date will get their State Pension based on the current rules.

    You can claim your State Pension when you reach State Pension age. State Pension age is different for men and women (but this is gradually changing) and depends on your date of birth. You can check when you will reach State Pension age on the gov.uk website.

    The new rules will affect men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953. If you will reach State Pension age before 6 April 2016, your State Pension will be calculated based on the current (old) rules. If you are already receiving your State Pension, you will not be affected by these

  • Pension CreditRead more

    There are two types of Pension Credit available to those who qualify: Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit. Some people get one or the other and some people can get both.

    Guarantee Pension Credit is a benefit which people of Pension Credit Age can claim; it tops up your income to a minimum level. Qualification for Guarantee Pension Credit will mean that you automatically qualify for maximum help with your rent through Housing Benefit.

    Savings Pension Credit is for people aged 65 and over. It provides extra money to some people who have made some additional provision for their retirement, such as a private or company pension.

    Please note: Changes from April 2016 will mean that nobody reaching State Pension age on or after 6th April 2016 will be eligible to make a new claim for Savings Pension Credit. Also from 6 April 2016, households on Pension Credit will now need to report all changes in their circumstances that will affect their benefit as they happen. Pensioners aged 75 and over who have an indefinite assessed income period in place will not be affected by the change unless the assessed income period would end under current rules.

  • Managing your Household BudgetRead more

    Before you take on a property you need to be sure that not only are you able to afford it at the start of the tenancy, but that you can sustain it for the long term. At South Lakes Housing we are keen to make sure that not only do you understand what you are taking on when you sign for a property, but that you fully appreciate the cost of doing so. We encourage you to budget, but we also expect that you will take immediate advice if you get into difficulties.

    Some of the costs you will need to consider are:

    • Rent
    • Council Tax
    • Utility bills – gas, electric
    • Water bills
    • Insurance
    • TV licence
    • Food & Household goods
    • Transport Costs
    • Child care costs
    • Clothing / Shoes
    • TV Licence
    • Sat TV / Broadband
    • Telephone/Mobile
    • Prescriptions
    • Pets
    • Socialising
    • Furniture, appliances and other household items
    • Decoration
    • Gardening

    There is a lot to think about and therefore it should be clear why it is important to understand your finances. You should consider a household budget in order to;

    • Take control of your money;
    • Understand where your money goes and where you could make changes so as to make your money go further
    • Avoid your debt getting out of control

    There is plenty of information and advice available to you and therefore we urge you to take advantage of it

  • Eden and South Lakeland Credit UnionRead more

    Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union is a financial co-operative which promotes savings and offers affordable loans. It is owned and run by its members

    Why join?

    • A one-off membership fee of £2 is payable upon joining. A minimum savings balance of £3 must be maintained at all times.

    Savings

    • Small amounts are welcome
    • Save regularly or when you can
    • You can pay money into your savings account either in person or from your bank using a bank standing order form

    Loans

    • No hidden fees
    • No fees for early repayment
    • Loan interest rates compare favourably with other lenders.
    • E&SL Credit Union interest rates are always lower than those charged by payday lenders.

    ​​​​​​​Office Opening Times

    Kendal: Sandylands Methodist Church Sandylands Road Kendal LA9 6EU

    Wednesdays 10:30am – 12:30pm

    info@edensouthlakeland.com     Tel:01768 890065

    Firm Reference Number: 587639. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority