Please see the latest information from Age UK relating to boosting your income in retirement by visiting their website www.ageuk.org.uk. There’s lots of very useful information. If you need further information, please contact Age UK directly or contact your Community Housing Services Officer.
Housing Benefit (including the introduction of Universal Credit)
If you are on either: Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance, or have a low income, you may be able to get Housing Benefit. A leaflet explaining the scheme and an application form can be obtained from the Housing Benefit Department, London Borough of Sutton, Civic Offices, St. Nicholas Way, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 1EA or for more information click here.
The Society Housing and Support staff will be happy to help you fill in the forms. Housing Benefit may be paid direct to the Society if this assists you in managing your finances.
If you have any other enquiries about Housing Benefit, you can phone a customer service line on 0208 770 5444. They will give you advice and help with any problems you may have with Housing Benefit.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your claim with Housing Benefit is renewed at the appropriate time and to provide the relevant documentation to assist your claim.
If you are struggling to pay your rent and/or if you have other money worries, Citizens Advice can help-please click here.
Click here for more information on Citizens Advice.
Universal Credit is the new way that claimants will receive their benefits. New benefit claimants of:
- Income-based Jobseeker Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
In most postcode areas in Sutton tenants who make a new claim for benefits will automatically be claiming Universal Credit. This means that you will be paid directly, one total amount for all of your eligible benefits, including Housing Benefit. You will then need to make payments to your landlord for your rent.
A full explanation of what universal credit is and how it is paid can be found at the Money Advice Service website.
If you do make a new claim, or your current claim is renewed for any reason, please contact the Housing Team at Sutton Housing Society on 020 8642 1500 as soon as possible for advice on paying your rent.
If you rent your home from us and you have one or more spare bedrooms your housing benefit may be reduced. Below is an explanation of what is considered to be a spare bedroom and how it affects your Housing Benefit.
If you have 1 spare bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% of the rent of the total amount of rent charged each week. If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you will lose 25%. If your benefit is cut you will have to pay us the difference between your housing benefit and your rent. This could affect you:
- If you are 16 to 63 years old
- Even if you only get a small amount of housing benefit, for example, if you are working
- Even if you are sick or disabled
You won’t be affected if:
- You live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit, or
- If you or your partner is old enough to receive pension credits.
What is a spare room?
If you have one or more bedrooms than the Government says you need, you will lose part of your housing benefit. The new rules mean you will be allocated one bedroom for:
- Each adult couple
- Any other person aged 16 or over
- Two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
- Any other child
- A carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care
It does not matter how the spare bedroom is used, the new rules apply even if:
- You or your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
- The main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you.
Difficulty paying your rent due to under-occupying?
If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit but are receiving a reduced amount due to under-occupying your property (commonly known as the bedroom tax) you can apply to Sutton Council for a move to more appropriate accommodation. Download Sutton Council’s guide to apply for social housing and choice based lettings, which includes details of the Under-occupation Scheme.
You may also qualify for discretionary Housing Benefit. This is a fund made available to housing benefit claimants which can make up some, or all of your rent shortfall for a set period of time. For more information on this, contact your Housing Management Team on 020 8642 1500 or you can contact Housing Benefits directly at Sutton Council 020 8770 5444.
If you live at Cloverdale Court you may be entitled to help towards your Supporting People charge. To get help to pay for Supporting People services you must complete a Supporting People subsidy application form. You can request a form by calling the office 020 8642 1500.
If you receive Housing Benefit you will not have to pay any of the charge, however if you do not qualify for Housing Benefit but have a low income, the council can carry out a Fairer Charging Assessment to see if you qualify for financial help. If you qualify for help with your supporting people charge, this will be paid directly to the Society on your behalf and shows up on your rent statement as Supporting People Direct Elec payment.
What to do if you fall behind with rent payments?
If you find that you cannot afford to pay your rent, you need to contact the office immediately on 0208 642 1500 to discuss your situation with the Housing Team. We will provide assistance and advice on help that may be available to you. We will agree a way you can clear the debt by paying a realistic amount within a reasonable time. However if you fail to pay as agreed we will be forced to take legal action to prevent the loss of rental income and this could result in you losing your home. This is a last resort and we will work with you to prevent this action where possible.
Sutton Housing Society has a set rent arrears procedure.
Support on paying your rent
Many people find themselves struggling with debt, for a lot of different reasons. There are many organisations that can help you by providing support, free and confidential advice and assistance if you need it. Click here to take a look at Age Uk’s booklet, irrespective of your age, it may find it of use to you.
Please see the latest information from Age UK relating to boosting your income in retirement. There’s lots of very useful information. If you need further information, please contact Age UK directly or contact your Community Housing Services Officer. Click here for information and advice.