Housing benefit claimants struggling to pay their rent due to the ‘bedroom tax’ in Lincoln and North Kesteven can apply for extra help after local councils secured £55,000 more funding.
As part of the government’s Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme, the City of Lincoln Council were awarded an additional £30,000, while North Kesteven District Council received an extra £25,000.
The scheme aims to help people cope with the changes in housing benefit introduced as part of the government’s welfare reform last April, which include the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.
Currently, 784 households in Lincoln and 562 in North Kesteven are affected by the bedroom tax: a reduction in housing benefit for households considered to have a spare bedroom.
A Discretionary Housing Payment can be used to help top up housing benefit where it’s not covering the full rent, and people struggling to afford rent in advance for a new home can also apply for a share of the cash.
Anyone who is eligible for housing benefit and are responsible for paying rent, but require further financial assistance with housing costs, can apply for help under the scheme.
Help filling in the forms is available for anyone who needs it too, and advisers will go through the documents with applicants.
Laura Brown, Benefits Team Leader, said: “It is really positive news that we have been awarded this extra money so we can continue to support people affected by the government’s changes to welfare payments.
“We would strongly encourage anyone worrying about meeting their rent payments to apply for a share of this funding.”
Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “Protecting the city’s poorest residents is one of our three main priorities and DHPs are one way we can help people keep a roof over their heads.
“I hope people won’t suffer in silence but will apply for help if they need it.”
Those wishing to apply for the grant must do so by the end of the financial year.
The new funding follows a successful bid by the two councils’ shared revenues and benefits service to the Department for Work and Pensions, and is in addition to £214,499 awarded to Lincoln and £103,760 to North Kesteven at the beginning of the financial year.
For more information, email [email protected], call the city council on 01522 873355 or North Kesteven District Council on 01529 414155, or visit City Hall or North Kesteven’s offices in Sleaford.