Benefits and financial support
You can check what benefits you're potentially entitled to by using our benefits calculator.
The Government has introduced a number of changes to the benefits system. These may affect the payments you receive so we've put together a handy leaflet to help you.
The most recent updates to a number of benefits which can be found on this page.
The bedroom tax only applies to people of working age. If you have a spare bedroom, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by:
- 14% of your rent if you have one spare bedroom
- 25% of your rent if you have two or more spare bedrooms.
The following occupants are expected to share a bedroom:
- An adult couple
- 2 children under the age of 16 of the same sex
- 2 children under the age of 10 (regardless of sex).
The following can have their own bedroom:
- A single adult over the age of 16
- A child that would normally share a room but the shared bedrooms are already taken e.g. you have three children and two already share
- Children who cant share because of a disability or medical condition
- A non-resident carer for you or your partner (but only if they must stay overnight).
One spare bedroom is allowed for:
- An approved foster carer who is between placements but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
- A newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time
- Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces will not be counted as spare if they are away and intend to return home.
If you have a shortfall in your rent you could consider:
- Downsizing or home-swapping to a different sized property
- Applying to your council for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).
We might be able to help you downsize if you are affected by the bedroom tax. Please contact us on 0300 373 3000.
The Benefit Cap is the limit to the total amount of benefits that most people between 16 and 64 can receive.
The weekly Benefit Cap has been reduced for working age tenants, meaning some of you will receive fewer benefits to help pay your rent.
Who is affected?
If you live in London and are of working age:
For a couple, with or without children, and single people with children, the cap will be reduced to £442.31.
For single people without children, the cap will be reduced to £296.35.
If you live in Hertford and other out of London properties and are of working age:
For a couple, with or without children, and single people with children, the cap will be reduced to £384.62.
For single people without children, the cap will be reduced to £257.69.
Benefits that are not included in the Benefit Cap
You are not affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
- Guardian’s Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Universal Credit payments towards carer’s costs or for ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’
- War pensions
- War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension
You can find out if the benefits cap affects you by using the Benefits Cap calculator.
This is no longer covered by the normal Social Security rules. If you are on Universal Credit you will have to do this through your local council.
If you are claiming Housing Benefit (those not on Universal Credit) you need to make sure you tick the box so that this is included in your claim - it is no longer automatic.
There are many benefits that you may be able to claim if you are ill or disabled but the most common ones are:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - under 16’s
- Personal Independence Payments (PIP) - between 16-65
- Attendance Allowance (AA) - over 65.
There are some crossovers with these benefits due to changes over the last few years, so if you're over 65 and still on DLA/PIP, this is not something you should be worried about. These benefits often enable you to receive additional further help so are an important tool in helping to increase your income.
Do not assume that because you are not bed-bound or in a wheelchair you won’t be able to claim, you may still be able to. Please contact our Welfare Team who will be able to advise on whether they think you may qualify and assist you in claiming should you need to take this route.
These benefits can help you if you have non-dependents living with you. Normally this means any Housing Benefit would be reduced based on how much the non-dependent earns. However, if you are on a disability benefit then you are exempt from this charge regardless as to how much the non-dependent earns.
A non-dependent is someone who normally lives with you on a non-commercial basis such as an adult son, daughter, relative or friend.
The amount of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support that you receive is likely to reduce if you have a non-dependent person living in your home.
Some housing benefit claimants may be exempt:
- A person who is registered blind
- A person who is receiving Attendance Allowance, or the care component of Personal Independence Payment.
Some non-dependents are exempt:
- A person who is receiving Pension Credit
- A person who is under 18
- A person who is under 25 who is receiving Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- A person who is under 25 who is in the assessment phase of income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- A prisoner
- A student (only exempt from non-dependent deductions in Housing Benefit, and only if the claimant and any partner are under 65. Non-dependent deductions will apply in the summer holiday if the student takes up paid work)
- A person who has been in hospital for 52 weeks or more.
If you're on Housing Benefit or receive the housing element of Universal Credit but find you are not being paid the full amount, you may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment.
We've put together a leaflet on these payments which you can download and read by clicking on the following link.
Please speak with our Welfare Team who will be happy to advise and assist with a claim.
Even if you are working you may be able to get help with the cost of optical and dental charges if you are on a low income.
You will need to complete a form HC1 or if you want to claim a refund a HC5. These are normally available in local opticians or dental surgeries.
Did you know Network Homes has a Charitable Fund to support residents in need? If you had a change in circumstances that has reduced your household income or you’re experiencing financial difficulties, you can apply to our charitable fund and we might be able to help!
What does the fund cover?
The most common ways we support people is by providing food vouchers, beds and white goods. But we’ve also helped with small electronics, fuel vouchers including electric, school uniforms and even professional memberships.
Who can apply?
For individual support, you must live in a home owned or managed by Network Homes and you need to meet the terms of our ‘charitable test’. This means the support should not be available through any statutory service or other means, plus will either promote or protect the housing needs of the resident or their community, or promote the relief of the aged, disabled or chronically sick.
What have residents who we’ve helped said?
- “The food vouchers will be a major help to my family and I, so thank you very much”
- “Just want to say a huge thank you for your time to go through everything with us so patiently. And we really appreciate all of the goods you have gifted to us which will be cherished. Thanking you once again”
- “Thank you so much for the fridge freezer! It is absolutely perfect”
- "I have already received the electric voucher, thank you very much – I can’t tell you how grateful I am”
- “Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all you have done for me. With this one charitable act you have given me a lifeline back to my chosen profession. Thank you from the bottom of my heart”.
Don’t struggle alone
The Charitable Fund is here to help and support you if you are in need. Please don’t struggle alone – get in touch and we may be able to help!
You can apply for our fund and find out more information on the Charitable fund page of our website.
Although benefits have changed over the years, people often think things like Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are no longer available, when in fact they are but in another format.
For example, if you don't have white goods you may still be able to get help. Instead of going to the DWP you would need to contact your local council, which will have its own criteria for assistance.
You can contact to contact your local council for advise or our welfare team for more information.
Please contact us when you make a claim for Universal Credit or another benefit or if you have any questions about changes to your benefits. Our teams are here to help!
Benefits and entitlement
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