Benefit advice

Helping you understand your entitlements

Benefits are payments made to individuals under the social security system run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Some people are entitled to welfare benefits which are paid by the state - there are various benefits available, which are designed to meet different needs.

For example, child benefit to those who have children, Housing Benefit provides help to people who need it to pay their rent, statutory sick pay to people who are absent from work due to illness, and jobseeker's allowance to people who are out of work but actively looking for a job.

In April 2013, the government made some changes to the benefits system – these changes are referred to as the Welfare Reform.

Will the recent changes affect me?

These pages are here to help you establish what benefits you’re entitled to, and how the Welfare Reform may affect you.

Click here to view a helpful document we have put together, which will help you establish how these benefit changes may affect you. Take a look at this and then refer to the below pages for more information about the Welfare Reform and the different types of benefits:

Universal Credit

Housing Benefit

The Bedroom Tax

The Benefit Cap

There is also a useful tool available to you on the government’s website – the Benefits Calculator is free and anonymous to use, and will help you to find out:

  • What benefits you may be entitled to
  • How to claim these benefits
  • How your benefits will be affected if you start work

Remember, for financial advice you can also speak to our Financial Inclusion Officer. Click here for contact details.

What can I do to reduce the impact of these changes on me?

There are a couple of things you can do to help reduce the impact that these benefit changes may have on you.

  • Move to a smaller home: If you’ve been affected by the Bedroom Tax, speak to your Housing Officer about the possibility of moving to a smaller home. BCHA works with many choice based letting schemes, so we will do all we can to help you find a home that’s right for you.
  • Seek some help to get training or in to work: We have a Learning and Work department at BCHA who can provide you with the help and support you need to learn new skills, and get back in to work. Click here to find out more about our Learning and Work team and how they may be able to help you.
  • Be prepared: If you are not sure how these changes will affect you, or if you are worried that your benefits will be reduced and you will no longer be able to afford your rent and bills, speak to our Financial Inclusion Officer for advice.
  • Don’t put it off: The sooner you seek advice, the sooner we can help you.

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