Help available for those affected by welfare reform in Lincoln

People who do not get the full amount of housing benefit and are struggling to pay their rent, or are having difficulties in finding rent in advance for a new property, can apply for cash to help them.

The City of Lincoln Council and North Kesteven District Council have been given extra money by the government as part of the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme, which is designed to help those having trouble making housing payments.

The funding for this financial year is £215,000 for Lincoln and £104,000 for North Kesteven, which is double the amount given last year.

With changes such as the ‘bedroom tax’ now in force, the council is urging people not to wait and apply for the funding as soon as possible.

Martin Walmsley, Head of Shared Revenues and Benefits for the City of Lincoln Council and North Kesteven District Council, said: ““This money can really make a difference to those struggling to make their housing payments.

““It is there to help people who need it over a short period of time and can be used for a number of reasons, including helping with deposits or rent advances, women who are pregnant and need to cover the rent until the baby arrives or people living with a disability who need the extra bedroom.

“”The application process is easy and we will help anyone who needs it to fill in the forms and work through the documents with them.

““If you want to apply then don’t wait, we are ready to help you,” he added.

Anyone eligible for housing benefit who is responsible for paying rent and requires further financial assistance with housing costs can apply for help under the scheme.

Anyone can apply for support under Discretionary Housing Payments so long as they receive some form of housing benefit.

Case studies include:

  • Mr A has previously not managed his finances and has built up debts. This means he can not afford to pay them off and cover the cost of his rent. He could apply for help through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme until he got his finances back in order.
  • Miss B is working part time but her hours have been cut to half. She is applying for other full-time positions, but will struggle to pay her rent until she gets a new job. She can apply for a one-off payment to cover the shortfall if other benefits do not cover the full amount.
  • Mrs C has a spare room and is now facing a cut in benefits from the ‘bedroom tax’ – she is advertising for a lodger, but will not be able to cover the cost of her rent until she can get someone to move in.
  • Couple D are wanting to move into a new home in the private sector but are unable to afford the deposit. They can apply for help with the deposit through DHP.
  • Miss E is pregnant and has a spare room ready for the birth of her baby. She can claim for the shortfall in rent until her baby is born.
  • Couple F live in a two bedroom house and are classed as having one extra under the ‘bedroom tax.’ Due to disability the couple need separate bedrooms so the shortfall can be covered through DHP.

Every claim is decided on its own merits when determining how much is awarded and over what period of time.

For more information, email welfarereform@lincoln.gov.uk, call the City Council on 01522 873355 or NK on 01529 414155, or call in to City Hall or North Kesteven’s offices in Sleaford and North Hykeham.