Customer Enquiries: 03451 400 100
Customer Enquiries: 03451 400 100

Benefits advice

The recent changes to benefits caused by the Welfare Reform means you may not know what you are entitled to.

Our specialist advisors offer free confidential and impartial advice to Link tenants and sharing owners.

Benefits Advice

We can help you with:

  • Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments
  • Housing Benefit
  • Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Council Tax Reduction Scheme
  • Scottish Welfare Fund
  • Tax Credits
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Welfare Rights Advice

We can also help you understand the changes to the benefit system caused by Welfare Reform including advice and assistance on:

  • Universal Credit
  • Under-occupancy (bedroom tax)
  • Benefit Cap

If you need to claim Universal Credit you will be expected to claim it online. Alternatively, get in touch and we can help you do this. 

Need help and advice?

If you need advice or information please call the Advice Service on 01324 417174 or complete the online referral form.

 

What are the main changes?

 

  • Universal Credit

    Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:

    • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Housing Benefit

    What will change?

    • You will be paid monthly into a bank, credit union or post office account
    • You will need to apply and manage your claim online
    • Your housing costs will be paid directly to you each month, so it is your responsibility to pay your rent to Link. Contact your Housing Officer for ways to pay your rent.

    Universal Credit is currently only available to new, single job seekers of working age. Roll-out to all new claimants will be introduced slowly over the next few years.

    For more information about Universal Credit click here.

    To claim Universal Credit click here

    If you are disabled and want more information about Universal Credit click here.

     

  • Personal Independence Payment

    Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is replacing Disability Allowance (DLA) for working age claimants.

    PIP helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term health or a disability if you're aged 16 to 64.

    If you are already receiving DLA you will be invited to claim PIP when your award comes to an end or when you are invited to transfer. 

    To qualify for PIP, most people have to have a medical assessment by a medical practioner. PIP has two components, a mobility and daily living component. Both of these have two rates. You are scored against a schedule of activities and descriptors. It is expected most PIP will be for a limited time only.

    For more information about PIP or to make a claim click here.

    If you are receiving PIP and want to know when you will need to claim PIP click here.

  • Benefit Cap

    The Benefit Cap limits the amount of total benefit you can claim if you are working age.

    Which benefits are included in the cap?

    • Jobseeker's Allowance
    • Employment Support Allowance
    • Housing Benefit
    • Child Benefit
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Carers Allowance
    • Bereavement Allowance
    • Widowed Parents Allowance
    • Incapacity Benefit
    • Income Support
    • Maternity Allowance
    • Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
    • Widow’s Pension
    • Guardians Allowance

    Which benefits are not included in the cap?

    • You have (or your partner has) reached pension credit age
    • You or your partner qualify for Working Tax Credit
    • You or your partner, or any children you are responsible for receive any of the following benefits:
      -DLA or PIP
      -Attendance Allowance
      -Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
      -Industrial Injuries Benefits
      -War disablement pension or payments under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
      -War Widow's or War Widower's pension

    How much is the Benefit Cap?

    The Benefit Cap is currently:

    £500 a week for a couple (with or without children) or a lone parent
    £350 a week for a single person with no children in the same household

    On 7 November 2016 the Benefit Cap is reducing to:

    £384.62 a week for a couple (with or without children) or a lone parent
    £257.69 a week for a single person with no children in the same household

    If the total amount of benefits claimed by your household is more than the cap your Housing Benefit will be reduced to bring the total benefit down. 

    For more information click here.

  • Sanctions

    Sanction regimes have been in place for claimants of JSA and ESA since 2012. Sanctions are sometimes applied in unreasonable, unfair or harsh circumstances and many claimants accept them. It is important to know that over half of the claimants who dispute these sanctions are successful in their appeal. 

    How much your sanctioned and how long it lasts depends on:

    • your age
    • whether you are single or a couple
    • type of benefit
    • how serious your non-compliance is
    • first time sanction or repeat

    What help is available?

    • Hardship payments- you may be able to claim depending on your circumstances and you need to show you would experience hardship if no payment was made
    • Scottish Welfare Fund- you may be able to claim a crisis grant at your local authority 
    • Social Work- financial assistance
    • Food banks- provide emergency food
    • Claiming another benefit- the sanction only applies to the benefit you are receiving so you may be entitled to claim another benefit

    Find out more about:

    ESA sanctions
    JSA sanctions

  • Bedroom Tax

    The Bedroom Tax affects working age claimants of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. 

    Having one spare bedroom will mean you will lose 14% of your entitled housing benefit.

    Having two or more spare bedrooms will mean you will lose 25% of your entitlement.

    If you are affected you are entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments from your local authority to make up for the shortfall. 

    For more information click here