Welfare benefits

Benefits can be paid for a number of reasons such as a disability, child benefits or to help if you’re unemployed.

Every year thousands of benefits go unclaimed and people don’t get the help they’re entitled to. Our advisers can help you to make sure you aren’t missing out on benefits and will advise you if there are ways to maximise your income.

You can also check your own benefit entitlement with the Benefit Calculator.

In 2013 our Money Advice Team helped to claim over 1.5 million pounds worth of benefits for our customers, including:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Employment & Support Allowance
  • Personal Independent Payments
  • Tax Credits
  • Pension Credit

If you’d like some more advice on what you’re entitled to, or you need some help with completing forms, get in touch with our Money Advice Team by completing our contact us form.

For information on all benefits visit the government’s official website

If you want to query your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support you should contact your local council, details can be found in the table below

Here is some more information on the most common benefits our customers claim -

  • Housing Benefit

    You may be able to get help with your rent if you are on a low income.  Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent – the amount will depend on your income and circumstances.  

    You cannot get housing benefit if you have capital or savings over £16,000. Claims are made via your local councils Benefit Office.  You will have to provide them with details of your income, savings and any other information requested by them.  Housing Benefit will eventually be replaced by Universal Credit.

    Claiming: You should claim as soon as you think you may be entitled as there is no guarantee that your claim will be backdated.

  • Council Tax Support

    Council tax support is administered by local council benefit offices - the eligibility rules can vary dependent on which local authority area you live in.   In order to qualify you or your partner must be the person(s) named on the council tax bill where you live.

    The income and capital/savings rules are similar to housing benefit as it takes into account the income of you and your partner and any other adults in the household.

    You cannot get council tax support if you have capital or savings of £16,000 or more.  

    Claiming: You should claim as soon as you think you are entitled as council tax support can only be backdated 1 month.  Council tax support is applied to your council tax bill to reduce the amount you have to pay.

    IMPORTANT: If you have a change of circumstances it is essential that you notify your local councils’ benefit office to ensure that you are not overpaid or underpaid benefits.

     

  • Working Tax Credits

    Working Tax Credit ‘tops up’ wages if you are in full time paid work and receiving a low income.  It is administered by HMRC.

    To qualify you must meet one of the following criteria.

    • You or your partner must be in full-time paid work of a least 30 hours a week  and you must be over the age of 25
    • You work at least 16 hours per week and you have a physical or mental disability (which must be proven)

    Or you are 60 or over

    Or you are single and are responsible for at least 1 child or young person

    Or you are a member of a couple and responsible for at least 1 child or young person and your partner is counted as incapacitated (special rules apply so seek further advice)

    • You are a member of a couple and your combined hours are at least 24 hours per week (one of you must work at least 16 hours per week)  and you have caring responsibility for at least 1 child.

    You may also get help towards the cost of child care if you pay a registered child care provider.   

    Working Tax Credits will eventually be replaced by Universal Credit.

    Claiming: To claim Working Tax Credit you should ring the Helpline on 0345 300 3900.

     

     

  • Universal Credit

    Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age whether they are working or unemployed.  It is being introduced gradually through the UK.  It is administered by HMRC and the DWP.  It will replace the following benefits: Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit, income based Jobseekers Allowance, income based ESA and Child Tax Credit.   

    Entitlement to Universal Credit is dependent on your personal circumstances, your earnings and any other income received and any capital or savings over £6,000. 

    If you are entitled to help with your housing costs (rent) this will be paid as part of your Universal Credit payment and you will become responsible for making payments direct to your landlord.

    Universal Credit is paid monthly, the same as most people’s wages, so it is important that you learn to budget your income to ensure that it lasts you the whole month.   If you need help budgeting, see our ‘Budgeting’ section.

    For more information on new benefit changes see our ‘Welfare Reform’ section.

     Claiming: You claim Universal Credit

    • Online at www.gov.uk/universal -credit
    • by telephone if you cannot claim online
    • In person – but only in exceptional circumstances.

     There is a telephone helpline if you need help with the online claim, this is 0845 600 0723.

  • Helpful contacts

     

    LOCAL AUTHORITY

     

    TELEPHONE NUMBER

     

    Birmingham City Council

     

    0121 4647000

     

    Bridgenorth (Shropshire) DC

     

    0345 6789001

     

    Bromsgrove DC

     

    01527881288

     

    Cannock Chase DC

     

    01543464292

     

    Coventry City Council

     

    02476831800

     

    Dudley Met Borough Council

     

    01384818100

     

    East Northants DC

     

    01832 742097

     

    East Staffs Council

     

    01283 508422

     

    Harborough DC

     

    01858 828282

     

    Hinckley and Bosworth BC

     

    01455238141

     

    Kettering BC

     

    01536410333

     

    Leicester City Council

     

    0116 4541006

     

    Lichfield DC

     

    01543308900

     

    Milton Keynes DC

     

    01908253100

     

    Newcastle under Lyme

     

    01782715500

     

    Nuneaton/Bedworth BC

     

    0247 6376514

     

    North Warwickshire BC

     

    01827715341

     

    Rugby BC

     

    01788 533433

     

    Sandwell Met BC

     

    0845 3510020

     

    Shrewsbury/Aitcham BC

     

    0345 6789001

     

    Solihull Met BC

     

    0121 7048200

     

    South Staffs DC

     

    01902 696668/9

     

    Stafford BC

     

    0178 5619478

     

    Staffs Moorlands DC

     

    0345 6053012

     

    Stoke on Trent City Council

     

    0178 2232982

     

    Tamworth BC

     

    0182 7709540

     

    Walsall Council

     

    0300 5552855

     

    Warwick DC

     

    01926 353368

     

    Wolverhampton City Council

     

    01902 551166