Universal Credit is a new type of benefit designed to support people who are on a low income or out of work. It is currently being rolled out across the UK.
Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:
- housing benefit (including housing costs)
- income support (IS)
- income-based jobseekers allowance (JSA)
- income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- child tax credit
- working tax credit
Get ready for universal credit by downloading our information booklet: Your benefits are changing (please note this document has been produced in conjunction with other Housing Associations in Gwynedd but is applicable to everyone affected by Universal Credit). Or visit the CAB Website for more information.
Council Tax Reduction
If you’re on a low income, you may be entitled to some help towards paying your council tax.
Council Tax Benefit was abolished in 2013. Local authorities in Wales are now responsible for running their own, local schemes. These are called Council Tax Reduction schemes. They are also sometimes known as Council Tax Support.
Follow this link to get some key facts about Council Tax Reduction and how you may be affected.
Discretionary Assistance Fund
The Discretionary Assistance Fund is a fund of last resort. That means the Fund is designed to support people who cannot access any other help or funding at specific times of need – either in an emergency/crisis or when moving home (for specific reasons only).
The Discretionary Assistance Fund only supports essential needs and items through two types of grant that you don’t need to pay back.
You will need to be able to provide the following information when you apply to the fund:
- Your full name (if you are claiming benefits, this must match the information held by the Department for Work and Pensions)
- Your National Insurance Number (if you are claiming benefits, this must match the information held by Department for Work and Pensions)
- Your household income and benefit information – i.e. you must know what benefit you are on and what income you receive. You must also know about your partner’s income or benefits or anyone else in your household.
- If you are moving house, you will need to know when the tenancy for your new address is starting and confirm that the tenancy agreement has been signed.
You will need to explain why you need the Discretionary Assistance Fund award, this will include checking that are not eligible for assistance from the Department for Work and Pensions before applying to the Fund. Please ensure you have applied for a budgeting loan, Universal Credit advance or short term budgeting advance if you are eligible, before contacting the Discretionary Assistance Fund.
If an organisation is supporting you, for instance Grŵp Cynefin’s Welfare Team, it may be worth speaking to your caseworker or similar before you contact the Discretionary Assistance Fund, they may be able to help you with your application. Click here to find out how to get help to complete an application.
Non-dependent deductions: Adults who live in someone else’s home
An adult who lives in your home and who is not a tenant or boarder, other than your partner, is called a non-dependent. For example, you might have a friend, parent, grown-up son or daughter or another relative living with you. If you have a non-dependent living in your home, an amount will usually be deducted from your Housing Benefit on the assumption that they could give you some money towards the costs of accommodation, even if they do not do so. The amount of the deduction depends on their circumstances.
If you were living with someone as a non-dependant, and then you enter into an agreement to pay rent while they are still living there, you may not be able to get Housing Benefit towards that rent, unless you can show that the arrangement was not set up in order to get Housing Benefit.
If you have a non-dependant living in your home, or you are a former non-dependant and you want to claim Housing Benefit, you should consult an experienced adviser. Grŵp Cynefin’s Welfare Team can assist you with this matter, or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Benefit and Budgeting Calculator
Here’s a quick link to our simple to use Benefit and Budgeting Calculator. Through just a few simple steps you can see how much benefit you are eligible for and how much better off you might be in work. You can also see how changes in your household budget can affect your income. You can use the calculator for free here.
You might also be interested in:
- Your benefits are changing : Get ready for universal credit by following this guide