Get help and advice with your benefit claim
Whether you are currently employed or unemployed you could be one of the millions of people missing out on financial help, benefits, tax credits or grants which are available to you…
Every year around £2.5 billion in benefits and services are left unclaimed. We understand the whole process of claiming benefits can be really confusing and we know it can be very hard to get the right information you need. That is why we are on hand to help guide you through getting the best advice to suit your financial needs.
Use an online Benefits Calculator
The first thing to do is find out if there is extra support out there for you. The quickest and easiest way to do this is through an online benefits calculator. It’s free to use and anonymous so you don’t have to worry about giving away private information.
The benefits calculator will be able to tell you:
- What benefits you could get.
- How to claim.
- How your benefits will be affected if you start a job.
- If there are any charitable grants you could apply for.
What information will I need to use the calculator?
In order to assess your circumstances and to see if you are eligible for any benefits or grants you will need to make sure you have the right information on:
- Any savings or accounts you have – if yes, how much?
- Your income or your partner’s income.
- A list of any benefits or pensions you already have (including anybody who lives with you).
- Your monthly spends (rent, mortgage and childcare costs).
- Your council tax bill.
Find out now if you could be claiming and saving money with the benefits calculator.
There are a lot of changes to welfare benefits which may affect you and the amount of benefits you receive. The government are now using Universal Credit as a way to pay people in one single monthly payment rather than making several payments for different benefits and tax credits. It also means that you are now responsible for paying your rent rather than the government.
By 2020 the government want everybody who is receiving certain benefits to be using Universal Credit so it’s important you are ready for the changes. If you are looking to make a benefit claim or you are already on benefits, see our Universal Credit page for more help.
If you need help advice or guidance about claiming benefits your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can assist you, find your local CAB branch online.
There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap.
How much you get for certain benefits may go down to make sure the total you get isn’t more than the cap amount.
If you think you may be affected by the Benefit Cap please seek advice from your TMO.
The government is changing the way the housing part of your benefit is calculated. Tenancies that start after 1 April 2016 are affected. Changes will be brought in from 1 April 2019 and any housing related benefits will be capped to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate.
If you rent a home and claim these benefits, you may be affected. The rules on LHA are complex. The key changes are:
- under 35s living alone will receive the lowest LHA, the Shared Accommodation Rate
- unlike the Under-occupation penalty (or bedroom tax) the rules on LHA apply to pensioners, so any spare bedrooms will be capped at the LHA rate
- the maximum LHA rate you can receive is limited to the four bedroom rate even if your home is larger.
You need to understand these changes now so you can see how you could be affected. If your benefit is less than your rent and service charges, you are responsible for paying the difference.
If you claim housing related benefit and are affected by both the LHA cap and the spare room subsidy, the higher of the two deductions will be used (not both).
To find out how much you may be affected by looking at the LHA rates for your area at http://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/Search.aspx
If you want to find out more about what it might mean for you and the support we may be able to provide then please just get in touch