What help can we offer you?
The aim of the Project is to prevent the risk of homelessness and to help support people to remain safe and secure in their home environment and help to avoid court action in respect of repossession or eviction. The focus is on providing welfare benefits advice and income maximisation, debt advice, financial capability support and support to access measures to address fuel poverty. The Project also runs alongside our specialist Housing Advice Service to help people address the underlying causes that resulted in attending court for repossession and eviction. support can be provided after representation as been provided and their housing position has been stabilised by the Service’s Housing Team.
N.B. I f you are already facing court proceedings in respect of Repossession or Eviction you should contact our Housing Advice Service who may be able to provide advice and representation for you if you are on a low income and eligible for Legal Aid.
Our Housing Support Service project provides advice on the following:
Specialist Welfare Benefit advice on all Benefits including:
- Universal Credit
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Sup
- Employment Support Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment and other Disability Benefits
- Discretionary Housing Payments
- Help with claims
- Benefit Overpayments
- Challenging Benefit Decisions
- Help with Appeals
- Debt and Money advice with referrals to our specialist Debt team
- Referrals for Warm Homes Discounts
- Referrals for Priority Services Register
- Energy efficiency advice
How can you access this service?
You can be referred to us by an organisation that is already supporting you.
They can Make a Referral via our website.
In 2020 – 2021
Additional Welfare Benefit and grant income was secured for people supported
Referred by local Housing Association in Northampton
The client was a single man, aged 54 years old, living alone in a one-bedroom local authority property. He was suffering from severe long-term mental health issues.
He had rent arrears amounting to £2,346 and was not able to resolve the issues causing this, so placing his home at risk. Housing Benefit had paid his rent in full until it ended in April 2020.
Personal Independence Payment (enhanced rate daily living and enhanced rate mobility) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) (with a severe disability premium) remained in payment. He was exempt from paying Council Tax due to his health.
The Housing Benefit ended due to an online claim for Universal Credit (UC) being made in April 2020. It was acknowledged that the client could not have done this himself, and no one knew how it had occurred. UC was put into payment until August 2020, and then it ended. The ESA knowing that the UC should not be awarded continued its payments to the client.
UC had been paid in error from April 2020 until August 2020, when the error was spotted. It should not have been awarded as there was a severe disability premium within the gentleman’s ESA and Housing Benefit immediately prior to the UC claim being made. Until January 27th 2021, all new claims for UC, should have been refused in these circumstances to avoid claimants being financially worse off.
He was then left in the position of no help with his rent from either UC or Housing Benefit.
Action Taken and outcome:
After nearly three months of communication with UC, and the council’s Housing Benefit Department, it was fully agreed this was all an official error.
UC had failed to acknowledge the severe disability premium in the ESA award, and the council failed to advise UC of the severe disability premium within the Housing Benefit claim when they were contacted about the benefit switch over.
Being an official error the council agreed to restart his Housing Benefit from April 2020, clearing all the rent arrears (by this time in excess of £4000), and the recoverable overpayment of UC which had been created between April and August 2020.
With the client’s rent arrears all being cleared, all legal action was avoided.