Income & benefits advice
All the staff in our Neighbourhood Services Team can give you good advice on housing and other benefits. However, if you have benefit problems or financial difficulties and debts you may want further in-depth advice.
Our Income and Benefits Advisor can help with housing and other benefits advice. Please telephone 01480 428521 to make an appointment. Alternatively, you can just turn up at one of the monthly surgeries. The surgeries are open between 10am and 1pm at the following venues and times:
- Huntingdon - Brook House - 3rd Wednesday of the month
St Neots - Priory Centre - 2nd Thursday of the month
If you would like more information about dealing with debt, please refer to our Welfare Reform leaflet. If you prefer to speak to someone who does not work for us, there are other organisations you can contact. Please see the links provided at the bottom of the page.
Did you know that if you pay water charges in with your rent, and there are only one or two people in your household, you could save money by switching to a water meter? To find out, either go online or ring your water company. Their contact details are:
Tel: 03457 919155
Tel: 01223 706050
Changes to benefits from 2016
The following benefit changes are set to take place in 2016. Some may be subject to change.
Benefit and Tax Credit rates frozen
The main working age benefits and tax credits will be frozen in cash terms for 4 years from April 2016. Pensioner benefits are excluded. These include: Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (Support Group only), Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity/Paternity Pay and Statutory Sick Pay.
The Consumer Prices Index fell in the year to September 2015. This means that benefits which are reviewed in line with this measure will not see an increase when the new benefit rates for 2016/17 are released.
Benefit cap reduced
The benefit cap restricts the amount of benefits that a working age household can receive. Any household receiving more than the cap has their Housing Benefit reduced to bring them back within the limit. The Cap is now £20,000 for people living outside London.
Housing Benefit changes
Withdrawal of the family premium in Housing Benefit (£17.45 when a claimant has one or more dependent children) takes effect from 1 May 2016. This affect both new claims and new births from that date.
Housing Benefit backdates will be reduced so that new claims from working age claimants will be backdated for a maximum of four weeks in place of the current backdate of up to six months. You need to show good cause for making a late claim.
Tax credit income disregard cut
From April 2016 if your household income increases by up to £2,500 during the tax year this increase is ignored when calculating your entitlement for that year. This is in place of the current £5,000 disregard.
Single tier State Pension
From 6 April 2016 women born on or after 6 April 1953 and men born on or after 6 April 1951 will receive a new single tier state pension in place of the current basic state pension and state second pension. The single tier pension is designed to be simpler and will consist of a single amount. It will be awarded in full if you have 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions. If you don't have 35 qualifying years then, as long as you have between 7 and 10 qualifying years, you will receive a pro rata amount. Otherwise you will not qualify for the single tier pension.
Universal Credit changes
The amount you can earn without your Universal Credit being affected, will be reduced from April 2016. For disabled people and people with children it will be £192 per month (if you have housing costs) and £397 per month if you don’t. The work allowance will be abolished altogether from April 2016 for non-disabled, childless claimants meaning benefit is reduced as soon as you start earning.
The Childcare Costs element of Universal Credit currently pays for 70% of your registered childcare costs up to a monthly limit of £532 for one child (£912 for two or more children). From 11 April 2016, this will increase so that you will be able to claim back up to 85% of your paid out childcare costs up to £646 per month for one child or £1108 for two or more children.
National Minimum Wage increased
The National Minimum Wage will be 'rebranded' as the National Living Wage and will be increased to £7.20 per hour for those 25 or over from April 2016. It will reach £9.00 per hour by 2020.
Personal tax allowance increased
The Personal Tax Allowance (the amount you can earn before paying income tax) will be increased from £10,600 to £11,000 from April 2016. It will be further increased to £12,500 by 2020 and thereafter it will automatically be set at the same level as 30 times the National Living Wage (National Minimum Wage).
From April 2016 some of our tenants’ rents will be reduced by 1% a year for four years in line with a Government directive.
At Luminus we do our best to provide support and advice for all our residents. However, there are many other organisations that could also help you. Here are a few key contacts:
Disability Living Allowance Helpline
Administers Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment
Tel: 0345 7123456 or 0845 7123456
Attendance Allowance Helpline
Administers Attendance Allowance
Tel: 0345 6056055 or 0845 6056055
Carers Allowance Helpline
Administers Carers Allowance
Tel: 0345 6084321 or 0845 6084321
Tel: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
**Claim line for benefits **
Tel: 0800 055 6688
Benefit Cap Helpline:
0845 605 7064 or 0345 6057064
The Pension Service
Information and help on State Pensions and Pension Credit
Including reporting changes of circumstances and help with bereavement
Tel: 0345 6062685 or 0845 6060285
To apply for Pension Credit
Tel: 0800 991234
Child Benefit and Tax Credits - HM Revenue & Customs
Administers Child benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
Tel: 0300 2003100
Debt advice is available from:
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau
Christians Against Poverty (CAP)
A charity that provides debt counselling and financial training.
Life After/Amidst Debt
A registered Charity provides FREE and entirely CONFIDENTIAL advice to people with debt problems.
Tel: 07768 681564 (9am til 6pm) or 01480 437048 (24 hr answering machine)
Raise is an independent charity which gives free finacial advice and training.
Tel: 0151 291 7850
Huntingdon Area Money Advice
Tel: 01480 418866
83a High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3DP
You can get good, free, online money management, debt and benefits advice from several agencies. To get further infomation please follow the links below: