Money, benefits and debt advice

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Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust is committed to supporting our residents with high quality, proactive money, benefits and debt advice.

Coronavirus Guidance

In response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has made a series of announcements to continue helping people through this extremely difficult time.

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer face-to-face appointments with our Money and Benefits Advisers, or your Neighbourhood Services Officers, but we are still able to provide support via telephone or email. If you would like to speak with someone, please contact 0800 587 0211 or [email protected].

Help with rent

Getting behind with your rent or getting into debt can be distressing so we are continuing to offer benefit entitlement and debt advice to our residents. We can also discuss affordable payment plans to help you if you are at risk of falling behind with your rent or you are struggling with other debts. Please contact us to discuss your situation as soon as possible.

Universal Credit

If you require help with paying your rent and are of working age, you will need to make an application for Universal Credit. The Department for Work & Pensions staff have been designated as key workers so that the benefits system continues to provide the support people need. Job centres remain open for staff to work in, but the public will only be allowed in under exceptional circumstances. Appointments, including ID verification are being carried out by telephone wherever possible.

Are you entitled to Universal Credit?

You will need to first check your eligibility before making a claim for Universal Credit to see what impact it might have on your finances UC: Eligibility

A new claim for Universal Credit is made online Universal Credit: How to claim

Changes in your income

If you are currently receiving Universal Credit and your income has been affected, it is important that you report the change. Please log into your Universal Credit account and report the change via your journal.

If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support, please report any change in your income to your local council.

  • City of York Council residents can report a change online here. If you do not have access to the internet call the Benefits Department on 01904 551556.
  • Scarborough District Council residents can report a change online here or by calling 01723 232323.
  • Leeds City Council residents can report a change online here or by calling 0113 2224444.
  • Hartlepool Borough Council residents are currently unable to report a change online. Details on how to report a change can be found here.

Have you been furloughed by your employer?

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will now remain open until the end of October 2020. For further information visit the relevant section on the government website here.

If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit. You can use our online tool here to check if you can claim.

Are you self-employed?

HMRC are offering live webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics such as: “Job Retention Scheme - How to make a claim”, “Self-employment Income Support Scheme” and many other topics. Please visit the government website here for the various links.

If you’re getting less work or no work because of coronavirus, you might be able to claim a grant through the coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Are you currently receiving Tax Credits, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance Income Support and/or Housing Benefit and considering making a claim for Universal Credit?

If you are, as Universal Credit is currently replacing these benefits, you need to know whether this is best for you. Once a claim for UC is made, your current benefit or tax credit award will end immediately, and you will not be able to have your claim re-opened. Before making a claim for UC, it is important that you obtain the correct advice first. Further guidance can be found online by visiting the Understanding Universal Credit website and Government Website.

Are you of Pension age?

People can now claim Pension Credit online. This service has been put in place to help those who are self-isolating/shielding etc. To make a claim for Pension Credit visit the Government Pension Pages here.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax support

Housing Benefit and Council Tax support

Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit administered by your local council and is for those that are of State Pension age. It can help with rent and some service charges. Housing benefit is usually paid fortnightly or every four weeks.

You can make a new claim for Housing Benefit if any of the following apply:

  • you are receiving the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it.
  • you received or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it
  • you have reached State Pension age
  • you are living in homeless, supported or temporary housing

If you live with a partner you can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if either:

  • you and your partner have both reached State Pension age
  • one of you has reached State Pension age and started claiming Pension Credit (for you as a couple) before 15 May 2019

To claim Housing Benefit you will need to contact your local authority who will confirm if you are eligible to apply. Your local council will ask you to complete an online application form.

Council Tax Support England

Council tax support is a means tested benefit. It 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 will ask you to complete an online application form.

To find out what Council Tax Support scheme exists in your area, contact your local authority. You can use the GOV.UK local council finder 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.

Low cost loans and saving accounts

We have partnered with Leeds Credit Union to offer savings accounts and low cost loans for all residents. Leeds Credit Union is a financial cooperative which provides an alternative to high-street banks and doorstep and payday lenders. It is owned by members for the benefit of members.

It provides a range of savings plans and other accounts that help members save and manage their money.

To find out more click here

Other useful contacts

Useful links
Useful contacts

Useful contacts

Money & Benefits Advice

Martin Bell
Money and Benefit Adviser
01904 735026
[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]