Money and benefit support
We aim to help our tenants make the most out of their money to make life as easy as possible. From budgeting and benefits to insurance and buying household goods, we can help.
- Difficulty paying rent
- Debt support
- Benefits advice
- Useful tools
- Youth Educators
We understand that you may find it difficult to talk to us if you have missed some rent payments. Everyone finds it difficult to manage their money from time to time and this can cause stress and anxiety for you and your family. We are here to help you. Our highly trained Financial Wellbeing Advisors can work with you to find a solution that not only keeps you in your home but helps you to plan for a brighter future.
Last year 24 tenants were evicted from their home for rent arrears. Don’t be number 25, contact us today.
Trying to deal with debts on your own can be daunting.
Sort Your Dosh (SYD) is a free money advice service for all tenants of livin. SYD is delivered by independent debt advice organisation FISCUS.
How does it work?
A representative from FISCUS will meet you in the comfort of your home or at a location convenient to you and will offer realistic solutions to your debt problems. They can contact creditors on your behalf to negotiate repayments and carry out a welfare benefits check to ensure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. On top of this you will be offered money management advice and support into employment so you can plan a debt free future.
Changes to the welfare system began in 2013.
Universal Credit is a new single payment introduced by the government for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It replaces a number of other benefits including Housing Benefit, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
Spare Room Subsidy (Bedroom Tax) means that all current and future working age tenants renting from a social landlord no longer receive help towards the cost of a spare room. They receive help towards their housing costs based on the need of their household and may be subject to a Spare Room Subsidy (or Bedroom Tax) in certain circumstances.
Housing Benefit can help those on a low income with help towards their housing costs.
You can check your benefit entitlement here.
The Benefit Cap The Government has announced a further reduction to the benefits cap from November 2016. This will limit the amount of overall benefit paid to any family.
The total amount households outside will be able to claim in benefits is:
£384.62 a week
The total amount a single person will be able to claim in benefits is:
£257.69 a week
Families who receive working tax credits or who work enough hours to claim working tax credits are exempt. You are also exempt if you or a member of your family receives:
- disability living allowance or the personal independence payment
- attendance allowance
- support component of employment and support allowance
- industrial injuries benefits
The cap doesn't apply if you are of pension age or you receive war widows' or war widowers' pension.
Check if you are entitled to the above benefits
Changes to Housing Benefit
There will be changes to the housing benefit from 1 April 2016.
Social housing tenants will be entitled to claim the same rate as private tenants. The biggest change will be for single people under 35 years of age as they will only be entitled to what is known as a shared room rate. This is likely to be lower than the current housing benefit entitlement.
You can check the local housing allowance rate here
The reduction will apply to those tenants who signed their tenancy agreement after 1 April 2016 but housing benefit will not change until 1 April 2018.
livin will be providing further information and support to tenants affected by these changes in the coming months but if you would like to check if you are likely to be affected contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Monkey is a Big Lottery Fund partnership project led by livin, offering free money support to social housing tenants across County Durham.
How Monkey Can Help
If you have applied to be housed with any of the partner housing providers through Durham Key Options, are a new tenant setting up home, an existing tenant needing support or have applied to be rehoused, Monkey can help.
Partners including housing providers and voluntary sector organisations will help you find support around finance, fuel and furniture.
Did you know, last year Monkey helped more than 2096 social housing tenants across County Durham access affordable fuel, finance and furniture services
We have teamed up with Smarterbuys, an online shop that helps you buy essential items for your home at massively discounted prices.
The Smarterbuys Store offers amazing deals on products including laptops, fridges, washing machines, cookers, beds, sofas, and now broadband – any of the essential items you might need for your home. They also offer a range of payment options to suit you best, including the ability to pay weekly. You can pay using a debit card or use cash, and tenants of livin can also access low-interest, affordable finance through credit unions.
Centepoint’s Youth Educators have been running across the region for the past seven years. In partnership with livin’s Monkey project, Centrepoint are launching Youth Educators in County Durham. They are looking to train young people aged 16 - 24 who have experienced financial hardship to challenge stereotypes of poverty and raise awareness amongst their peers of the causes of financial difficulties and how to get support with money problems.
Full free training will be given, leading to an AQA qualification and all travel and food will be provided.
To apply Click here