Rent and benefits during COVID-19

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Rent and benefits

We know that some people will be experiencing uncertainty around their income and paying their bills during this time. Supporting tenants through this difficult time is our priority. The last thing we want is for anyone to be worrying unnecessarily, so please have a look at the rent and benefit FAQs below and contact us as soon as you can if you’d like to speak to someone.

Important message concerning COVID-19: If you find yourself without a job, on reduced income or about to become unemployed, please consider URGENTLY applying for Housing Benefit & Council Tax:  

To check and calculate your Housing Benefit entitlement and other benefits click below:

1) How can I pay my rent?

You can pay your rent online through the allpay website.

2) I'm worried about how I'll pay my rent  - can you help?

We know that people may be worrying about paying their rent if their hours have reduced, or their income has been affected in any way. We have a team of people who are here to help and support you. Please contact us as soon as possible if you’re facing any financial difficulty, so we can help you before any arrears build up.

3) How can I apply for Universal Credit and would I qualify?

The government has a really helpful page all about Universal Credit, which explains who is eligible and also how to apply. To apply, you'll need to have to hand all your income details, bank account information and also your rent details.

4) I already receive Universal Credit/Housing Benefit, but can I now get more if my income has changed?

Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to an increase in your benefits. You can advise Universal Credit of changes to your circumstances by updating your details within your account. Please let us know if you plan on making a claim to increase your benefits as a result of a reduction in your income

5) I am already on Universal Credit but I am self-isolating, am I risking a sanction for not going for an appointment at the Job Centre? 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have put in place special arrangements for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend reassessments or Job Centre appointments because they’re required to stay at home or are infected by COVID-19.

Claimants who inform the DWP in good time that they’re staying at home or that they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be sanctioned. 

For the most up to date information, visit the DWP website.   

If you’re already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by COVID-19, contact your work coach as soon as possible using your online journal or via the helpline 0800 328 5644.

6) I'm self-employed, will I still be able to get help?

If you're self-employed or own a small business, the government has announced that there will be support provided to those who cannot work and earn due to COVID-19. Each case is considered on an individual basis.

For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the minimum income floor in Universal Credit will be temporarily relaxed for those directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating, ensuring claimants who are self-employed will be compensated for losses in income. You should make a claim to Universal Credit straight away.  Please let us know if you are making a claim, so we can work with you on how to manage your rent account whilst the claim is being processed.

7) What happens if I fall into arrears?

We'll work with all our tenants who experience difficulties during this period of time. It's important that you get in touch with us and agree with a member of the team how you'll manage your account and any arrears. Whilst we'll not be applying to court to evict anyone for non-payment of rent during this period in line with the government guidance, if you fail to pay arrears, then action could be taken in the future. The important thing is to keep in touch with us so we can work with you on any payment plans, and so we can advise you of any benefits you may be entitled to.

If your starter tenancy is coming to an end and you're in arrears, we may consider extending your starter period and we'll discuss this with you.

8) How can I find out what other benefits I can apply for?

If you think you may be entitled to benefits, or want to find out more about benefits that might be available, have a look on www.entitledto.co.uk, which has lots of useful information. You can also contact us directly for advice.

For the latest government advice, visit GOV.UK.

9) What other support can I get?

Our Community Potential Specialists are contacting all our tenants at this time. They can help you with planning to get through this period and can also link you up with support where needed. If you’ve not yet had a chance to speak to us, do get in touch.

10) Are there other additional Tenancy Sustainment Licence points I can get during this time?

Twenty11 supports strong, resilient communities and we really encourage volunteering. We’ve therefore introduced an additional volunteering award for those who have gone above and beyond to help others during this crisis. For further information, look at our Tenancy Sustainment Licence page.

11) Can I start a Personal Success Plan?

Yes, definitely. We’re always keen to help our tenants to realise their potential and identify their steps to success. Please drop us a message and one of our Community Potential Specialists will get back in touch with you.

12) I already have a Personal Success Plan. Will you still be working with me on this?

Yes, we’ll be continuing to help you on your journey to reach your goals and we’ll be checking in with you regularly. Do please message us if there’s anything you want to discuss.

13) My household income has changed. Will my rent be reassessed?

Generally, your rent is only reassessed at the start of your tenancy, however, we recognise that some people’s income has been substantially affected. Please let us know if this has happened to you and we’ll let you know how we can help.

In some exceptional circumstances, we may be able to lower your rent for a temporary period to help you get through this time.