Money, benefits and debt advice

As an anti-poverty landlord, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust is committed to supporting our residents with high quality, proactive money, benefits and debt advice.

Rent arrears and debt issues

Rent arrears and debt issues

We have a team of dedicated advisers who are available to answer your questions or assist you with issues you may be having financially.

Rent is a priority bill and should be paid before paying out for non-essential items or non-priority debts. However, we understand that people may get into a situation where they are struggling financially and we are here to help. Getting behind with your rent or getting into debt can be distressing, but don't ignore the situation. If you don't take action you could end up losing your home or other items that you own.

As an anti-poverty landlord, we can offer appointments with our money and benefits advisers or your Neighbourhood Officer. We can look at benefit entitlement, debt advice and we can also discuss affordable payment plans to help you if you’re behind with your rent . If you are struggling with your rent or other debts, we ask that you contact us to discuss your situation as soon as possible.

Other useful contacts

Universal Credit

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new means-tested benefit for people of working-age who are on a low income. Universal Credit has been introduced in stages across the country since 2013 and will continue to be rolled out over the next few years.

Universal Credit is paid monthly and replaces six existing means-tested benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

If you are already claiming existing benefits you don’t need to do anything unless you are told you have to make a claim for Universal Credit.

Top Tips

Bank account

To receive Universal Credit you need to have a bank account or building society account that is able to receive payments and set up direct debit / standing orders. Also, if you live with a partner you should decide whether you need a joint account as Universal Credit is a single payment and will only be paid into one account.

Getting online

The new Universal Credit System is mainly online - this includes making your claim and managing it. You will also need an email address. Your local council, jobcentre or JRHT’s team of advisors will have computers available for you to use and can support you in how to use the internet.

Rent

If you normally get housing benefit, you might be used to this being paid directly to your rent account. Under Universal Credit your housing costs will be paid directly to you instead. This means you will need to pay this money onto your JRHT rent account including any shortfall to avoid getting behind with your rent. As Universal Credit is paid monthly, the best way to pay your rent would be with a monthly direct debit.

Budget

Because Universal Credit is paid monthly you may need to make changes to the way you spend. You will need to make sure that your money pays for your bills and you can make it last to the end of the month. Did you know that it could take up to six weeks to receive your first payment? You will need to make sure you have enough money to last until your first payment. If you don’t, you can get an advance payment from Universal Credit but this will then need to be paid back.

Useful resources from the Department of Work and Pensions

What is Universal Credit? - video explaining what it is and how it works

Universal Credit online - service overview video

Universal Credit claimant housing guide

Payment cycles guide for new claimants

Universal Credit and You guide - enabling you to benefit from the positives that work brings.

Any further questions, please contact us.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax support

Housing Benefit and Council Tax support

Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit administered by your local council. It can help with rent and some service charges. Housing benefit is usually paid fortnightly or every four weeks and you can make a claim if you are in or out of work.

The amount of Housing Benefit could be restricted by the number of bedrooms you have if you are a social tenant.

A Benefit Cap may be applied to your Housing Benefit if the total amount of certain benefits that you get is more than a specified amount - your Housing Benefit could be reduced in this case.

To claim Housing Benefit you will need to contact your local authority. Your council may ask you to complete an online application form.

Council Tax Support England

Council tax support is a means tested benefit which can help reduce the amount of council tax you have to pay. Each local authority has their own scheme which decides how much support they can provide. To claim council tax support, you will need to contact your local authority. Your council may ask you to complete an online application form.

To find out what Council Tax Support scheme exists in your area you should contact your local authority. You can use the GOV.UK local council finder (link opens in a new window) to find your local authority’s contact details.

You may also be able to apply for other discounts through your local authority’s council tax department such as:

  • Single person’s discount
  • Student discounts or exemption
  • Disability discount

To check if you might be entitled to housing benefit or council tax support, use this benefit calculator

If you need any advice or support, please contact us.

Useful links
Useful contacts

Useful contacts

Money Smart Team

Jessica Butcher
Anti Poverty Project Assistant
01904 735025
[email protected]

Paul Rose
Money and Benefit Adviser
01904 735026
[email protected]

Kathryn Wordsworth
Money and Benefit Adviser
01904 735011
[email protected]

Neighbourhood Services Team

To speak to your Neighbourhood officer about your rent or a tenancy query, please call 0800 587 0211. Or email the Neighbourhood Services Team direct at: [email protected]

Customer Services

0800 587 0211
[email protected]