Benefits News

What can you claim?

If you're following government guidance because you have coronavirus symptoms, you'll be considered unfit for work. You'll also be considered unfit for work if you're staying at home, or 'self-isolating', because you've been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

You'll get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you're considered unfit for work and are usually entitled to it - check if you're entitled to SSP;

https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay

If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for either Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance;

https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/eligibility

Self Employed

You can't get SSP if you're self-employed.

If you have to take time off work and you don't get paid while you're off, you might be entitled to claim benefits. If you're already claiming Housing Benefit and or Council Tax Support please email the office at; benefits@flintshire.gov.uk and we will aim to contact you within 48 hours or alternatively please contact the office on 01352 704848 but please note that we may be experiencing high volumes of calls.

Universal Credit - Minimum Income Floor (MIF)

If you are self-employed, the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) won’t apply to you after 6 April 2020. This change will apply to you if you claim Universal Credit (UC) and will last until the coronavirus outbreak is over.  

New UC claimants do not have to attend a jobcentre to provide evidence that they are self-employed. These will being dealt with on a case by case basis when new claimants contact UC.

If you normally have to leave your home to pay your rent

If you are already in receipt of Housing Benefit and you pay your rent direct to your landlord in person then please contact the Housing Benefit office by emailing; benefits@flintshire.gov.uk and request a callback so we can discuss how we can help you during COVID19.

Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction

If you have had a change in your circumstances please contact the benefit office by emailing; benefits@flintshire.gov.uk and we will aim to contact you within 48 hours or alternatively please contact the office on 01352 704848, but please note that we may be experiencing high volumes of calls.

Council Tax Reduction

If you are responsible for paying the Council Tax at your property and you are on a low income or have had a change to your circumstances due to COVID19 you may be able to get help with some or all of your Council Tax bill.  

You can also make a claim for Council Tax Reduction if you are in receipt of Universal Credit.

https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Council-Tax-and-Benefits-and-Grants/Council-Tax-Reduction.aspx

Advice and support

If you are finding it difficult to make a claim for Housing Benefit and or Council Tax during this difficult time then please contact the Welfare Reform Team by emailing; WRRT@flintshire.gov.uk who may be able to assist you with completing an application form.

If you are finding it difficult to budget and pay bills or need help to understand what support is available to you then please email; WRRT@flintshire.gov.uk alternatively please contact the office on 01352 704848, but please note that we may be experiencing high volumes of calls. 

EU Settlement Scheme

If you’re a European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen living in Flintshire, you and your family will be able to apply for either settled or pre-settled status. This will mean you can continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020. The deadline to apply for settled or pre-settled status is 30 June 2021.

Who can apply?

You can find out who is required to apply for pre-settled or settled status on GOV.UK.

There will be no change to current rights under EU law until the end of the planned implementation period on 31 December 2020.

Local Housing Allowance increase

On 13 January 2020 Ministers announced that the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will be up-rated from April 2020, ending the freeze to LHA rates.

This means that all 2019 to 2020 rates, including the national caps, will be increased. The rates for 2020 to 2021 will be published, in line with normal procedures, on the last working day of January and will be applicable from April 2020.

Mixed Age couples

From 15 May 2019, mixed age couples (where one party of the couple is over Pension Credit qualifying age and the other under that age) will no longer be able to choose whether they claim Universal Credit or Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit. Both parties of a couple will have to reach the Pension Credit qualifying age before they can be entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit. The definition of mixed age couples includes a polygamous marriage where at least one party to the polygamous marriage has reached the Pension Credit qualifying age and at least one party has not. Mixed Age Couples already in receipt of benefit are protected. However if you are becoming a mixed age couple in the future due to one of you turning pension age, We will contact you regarding this.

Universal Credit
Universal Credit has been operating within Flintshire since April 2014 providing financial support for low-income households who would normally have claimed Job Seekers Allowance.  However from April 2017 Universal Credit was expanded to all new claimants which is known as ‘full service’ Universal Credit and has replaced the following six benefits:

Housing Benefit
Income Support
Jobseekers Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance
Child Tax Credit
Working Tax Credit

For further information and to apply for universal credit please visit www.gov.uk/universalcredit

Maximum Rent Social Sector – Size Criteria Changes 1st April 2017
There have been some recent changes to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Regulations which make provision for the inclusion of an extra bedroom when calculating housing benefit for properties rented within both the private rented sector and social rented sector where:

  • a non-resident carer or group of carers provide overnight care to a disabled child or disabled non-dependant

  • couples are unable to share a bedroom due to their disabilities 

Conditions to entitlement will be subject to satisfying the qualifying conditions:

Where a disabled child or disabled non-dependant adult requires and has overnight care on a regular basis from a non-resident carer (or group of carers).

 An additional bedroom will be allowed when the claimant is able to demonstrate that:

  • care has been arranged

  • a spare bedroom is available for the carer (or team of carers)

  • an extra bedroom has not already been provided for a non-resident overnight carer (or team of carers) in the same household

 In addition, the disabled child or non-dependant adult must be in receipt of:

  • middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

  • Attendance Allowance (AA)

  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

 Couples unable to share a bedroom due to disabilities

When considering an additional bedroom for a couple with disabilities the Local Authority will be required to establish that at least one member of the couple is unable to reasonably share a bedroom with the other member due to his or her disability.  The outcome of this may depend upon a further qualifying conditions which must be applied:

  • One member of the couple must be in receipt of DLA Care Component middle or high rate, AA high rate, PIP Daily Living Component or AFIP.

If you believe you are eligible for an extra bedroom allowance please contact us in writing or email explaining your circumstances. 

Benefit Cap

From 2016 the government have introduced a limit to the amount of benefit that a working age household can receive.  

 From 7th November 2016, The Benefit cap was set at, and remains as:

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a family or couple

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a single person with children living with them

  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) for a single person.

 Did You Know?

Flintshire residents could be losing out on Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction entitlement when changes are reported late.  Report all changes within one month of your change happening.  Failure to report changes on time could result in your claim being overpaid.  Do not delay report changes today!

Change in Circumstances form.

 Universal Credit Update
If you no longer claim Housing Benefit as you are now claiming Universal Credit, please note that you can still apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. 

Holiday Hunger Programme

This programme is to supply children in playschemes with a hot meal every day over the summer holidays. 

'Share Your Lunch' summer campaign will help us ensure that as many children as possible return to school well fed, engaged and ready to learn.  

For more information and forms please click on the link below

http://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Schools/Play-Sufficiency.aspx

 

 

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