Housing benefit payments to rise in April – how it will affect you explained
25th February 2021

FAMILIES who claim housing benefit will see their payments rise in April.

Housing benefit is given to households who are struggling to pay their rent due to unemployment or low-income.

Your money can be paid every two or four weeks or monthly, depending when your rent is due.

As the funds are paid into your bank account, it is your responsibility to use this money to pay your landlord. 

Around 3million people claim housing benefit, according to the latest government figures.

How much is housing benefit going up by?

Housing benefit payments are rising in line with inflation from April 12, 2021, the government has confirmed. 

The amount you receive is made up of a personal allowance for yourself and your partner, a personal allowance for any dependent child, and any additional premiums you may qualify for.

Here is how the personal allowances are changing.

Single person

  • Aged under 25: Increasing from £58.90 to £59.20
  • Any age and on main phase ESA: Increasing from £74.35 to £74.70
  • Aged between 25 and state pension credit age: Increasing from £74.35 to £74.70
  • Has reached pension age: Increasing from £187.75 to £191.15

Lone parent

  • Aged under 18: Increasing from £58.90 to £59.20
  • Any age and on main phase ESA: Increasing from £74.35 to £74.70
  • Aged between 18 and state pension credit age: Increasing from £74.35 to £74.70
  • Has reached state pension age: Increasing from £187.75 to £191.15

Couple

  • Both aged under 18: Increasing from £89 to £89.45
  • One or both aged between 18 and state pension credit age: Increasing from £116.80 to £117.40
  • Any age and on main phase ESA: Increasing from £116.80 to £117.40
  • One or both have reached pension age: Increasing from £280.85 to £286.05

Other

  • Dependent child/young person aged under 20: Increasing from £68.27 to £68.60.

What to do if you can’t pay your rent

FOR private renters, speak to your landlord as soon as you can.

They may be able to defer your payment, or to allow you to pay a smaller amount – but they don't have to do this.

Social renters should speak to their housing association or local council.

If you've tried speaking to your housing association or landlord and they aren't being sympathetic, contact Shelter for advice and support. They'll be able to guide you about what to do next.

If you're finding it difficult to manage your payments because you're in debt, here are some tips for you to curb it:

Check your bank balance on a regular basis – knowing your spending patterns is the first step to managing your money

Work out your budget – by writing down your income and taking away your essential bills such as food and transport
If you have money left over, plan in advance what else you’ll spend or save. If you don’t, look at ways to cut your costs

Pay off more than the minimum – If you’ve got credit card debts aim to pay off more than the minimum amount on your credit card each month to bring down your bill quicker

Pay your most expensive credit card sooner – If you have more than one credit card and can’t pay them off in full each month, prioritise the most expensive card (the one with the highest interest rate)

Prioritise your debts – If you’ve got several debts and you can’t afford to pay them all it’s important to prioritise them. Your rent, mortgage, council tax and energy bills should be paid first because the consequences can be more serious if you don't pay

Get advice – If you’re struggling to pay your debts month after month it’s important you get advice as soon as possible, before they build up even further.

Groups like Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust or StepChange can also help you prioritise and negotiate with your creditors to offer you more affordable repayment plans.

Changes to housing cost contributions in April

Housing benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit.

For those already on Universal Credit, non-dependants’ housing cost contributions are going up from £75.15 to £75.53.

These contributions are deductions taken from your Universal Credit housing element for adults who live with you on an informal basis.

For example, this could be a relative who doesn't pay rent.

In most cases, the DWP expects a non-dependant adult household member to contribute to your rent.

What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit

IF you’re experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don’t cover costs, here are your options:

  • Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it's a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit payout.
  • Alternative Payment Arrangements – If you're falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you're part of a couple.
  • Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the Government for emergency household costs of up to £348 if you're single, £464 if you're part of a couple or £812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You'll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You'll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
  • Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax by applying for a Council Tax Reduction. Alternatively, you might be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments to help cover your rent.
  • Foodbanks – If you're really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussell Trust website.

Other benefits going up in April

Those still claiming benefits from the old system – known as legacy benefits – will also get more money.

Legacy benefits include job seeker's allowance, employment and support allowance, income support and housing benefit.

You can’t make a new claim for these benefits anymore, but many people who haven’t yet moved to Universal Credit are still claiming them.

Here are the other benefits increasing from April 6 2021 and the weekly amounts for each.

  • Attendance Allowance higher rate rises to £89.60 (from £89.15), lower rate rises to £60.00 (from £59.70)
  • Carers Allowance rises to £67.60 (from £67.25)
  • Disability Living Allowance care component highest amount rises to £89.60 (from £89.15), the middle amount rises to £60.00 (from £59.70) and the lowest amount goes up to £23.70 (from £23.60)
  • Disability Living Allowance mobility component higher amount rises to £62.55 (from £62.25) and the lower amount goes up to £23.70 (from £23.60)
  • Employment and Support Allowance for under 25s goes up to £59.20 (from £58.90 and for those aged 25 and over, rises to £74.70 (from £74.35).
  • Incapacity Benefit (long-term) rises to £114.70 (from £114.15).
  • Contributions-based Jobseekers Allowance rises from £59.20 (from £58.90) for under 25s and to £74.70 (from £74.35 for those 25 and over.
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance rises to £59.20 (from £58.90) for under 25s and to £74.70 (from £74.35) for those 25 and over.
  • Maternity, paternity and shared parental pay is rising to £151.97 (from £151.20).
  • Pension Credit is rising to £177.10 (from £173.75).
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component is rising to £89.60 (from £89.15) for enhanced and £60 (from £59.70) for standard.
  • Personal Independence Payment mobility component is rising to £62.55 (from £62.25) for enhanced and to £23.70 (from £23.60) for standard.
  • State Pension is rising to £122.55 (from £121.95).
  • Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay will go up to £151.97 (from £151.20).
  • Statutory Sick Pay standard rate will go up to £96.35 (from £95.85).

Parents have lost out on £6.8billion since the child benefit cap was introduced in 2013.

Meanwhile, thousands of parents have been warned they could be forced to repay child benefits.

We explain how to check if you’re owed £1,100 a year in child benefit if your income has dropped.

 

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