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Welfare Benefits

Are you Missing Out?

It is estimated that more than £19 billion welfare benefits and tax credits go unclaimed each year.

As many as four out of five low paid workers without children miss out on tax credits worth at least £38 per week. Half of all working households entitled to housing benefit (worth an average £37.60 per week) do not claim it.

The benefits and tax credits system is very complex and many residents may not be aware that they are entitled. Other residents may be put off by what can appear to be a daunting process with long complicated forms. Often people do not appeal faulty decisions losing out on benefits they are fully entitled to receive.

Commonly people miss out on sickness and disability benefits. Newly appointed workers and employers do not realise that they are entitled to statutory sickness benefit if they pay any amount of National Insurance Contributions. Other part time workers miss out on Employment Support Allowance, which can be income based and paid where there has been no National Insurance Contribution.

People with a disability, particularly older residents, fail to apply for assistance when they are struggling with daily activity such as getting in and out of the bath, getting up and down stairs, cooking a meal for themselves or walking out doors. They adapt and use a shower, live on the ground floor, use convenience foods heated in a microwave and don’t go out. If this rings true for you, you may be entitled to Personal Independence Payments or Attendance Allowance.

All too often residents are missing out on substantial amounts of extra cash that could make all the difference. As your circumstances change, check if you may now be entitled to any additional benefits as rates increase with the Budget. It is worthwhile checking at least every year.

Find out if you are missing out!

 

What can you do?

Check out some excellent on line services such as:

Internet access is available in libraries, some local authority offices and Job centres as well as our Residents Resource Centre.

 

Other Useful Contacts

Step Change - Debt Charity
Free independent Debt Counselling advice.
Freephone: 0800 138 1111
For Isle of Wight: 0800 054 6731
stepchange.org.uk

The Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB)
Provides independent and free advice on debts, benefits and legal rights.
Call 08444 111 444
citizensadvice.org.uk

Turn2us
A charity that provides information about grants and trust funds as well as benefits and debts.
Call 0808 802 2000
turn2us.org.uk

National Debtline
A Government organisation advising about debts.
Call 0808 808 4000
nationaldebtline.co.uk

Christians Against poverty
Free help and advice on debts for ALL
Call 01274 760720
capuk.org

 

Tenancy Support Service:

If you need help with managing your money or claiming welfare benefits, our Tenancy Support Advisors are here to help. They can assist you if:

  • You’ve been affected by changes to the benefits system.
  • You’re concerned you may not be able to pay your rent and need some help with budgeting.

 

The types of things they can support you with include:

  • Helping you manage your money and maximise your income.
  • Advising you on what benefits you could be entitled to, how to claim them and what to do if you are experiencing problems.
  • Giving you information about accessing support agencies within your community (for example, CAB, Local Floating Support, etc.)
  • Giving you information on specialist debt and money management agencies.
  • Referring you to our internal employment and training team.

 

If you feel you would benefit from talking to one of our Tenancy Support Advisors, please speak to your Income Officer, Housing Officer or our Customer Service team to refer you.

Your Tenancy Support Advisor may decide to visit you to complete a full assessment or signpost you to another agency if they believe you could benefit from more specialised help.

After speaking with your Tenancy Support Advisor you can work with us to create your action plan and carry out tasks with our support and assistance until your situation has improved.

 

A final word to the wise

Help with debt management is provided for free from many agencies. You do not need to pay a commercial firm to manage your debts for you.

The rule with benefits is ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’. Any benefit entitlement is only payable from the date you make a claim unless you can provide evidence of exceptional circumstances that prevented you from claiming earlier. Changes in your circumstances can increase or decrease what you can get.

 

Universal Credit is coming...

Major benefit changes are being gradually introduced throughout the UK with the introduction of Universal Credit. If you are currently entitled to benefits you will be protected by ‘Transitional Protection’. This ensures that if you circumstances are the same when your area is covered by Universal Credit your benefit entitlement is topped up so you don't miss out!

Many people with disabilities and those Pension Credit qualifying age will NOT receive as much benefit on Universal Credit. If this could be YOU, please seek advice NOW. To qualify for Transitional Protection eligible benefits need to be in place before Universal Credit is introduced in the geographical area that you live in.

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    Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 4GE
  • 0300 777 7837
  • contact@sovereign.org.uk
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