Other financial help

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1 Other financial help Grants Health Costs Housing Costs Help with debt Extra money for families

2 Other financial help Many families are missing out on extra money that is available. The following is a list of some of the other help you may be able to get. Help with the costs of disability If you have extra costs due to living with a long term condition arising from ill health or disability you may be able to claim the personal independence payment (PIP) if you are aged or attendance allowance if you are 65 or older. For further information see factsheets on How to claim To claim attendance allowance phone the DWP DLA/AA Helpline on and ask for a claim form. You can also claim on line at To claim PIP phone Remember - children under 16 can still claim DLA - see the leaflet 'Money for children' in this series. For more information about DLA and PIP see

3 Help with health costs Prescriptions and dental treatment are free for pregnant women and for a year after the baby is born. Get form FW8 from your doctor, midwife or health visitor to apply for an exemption certificate. Prescriptions, sight tests and 'full-value' vouchers for glasses or contact lenses, are available to children aged under 16 or under 19 and in full-time education. Dental treatment is free for everyone under 18, or under 19 and in full-time education at the start of treatment. Prescriptions are free for people with certain medical conditions, including epilepsy, diabetes and anyone undergoing treatment for cancer, the effects of cancer, or the effects of cancer treatment. For a full list of medical conditions and further details, see If you or your partner are getting income support, pension credit (guarantee credit), income-based JSA or income-related employment and support allowance, you will get free prescriptions, dental treatment, sight tests, help with glasses/contact lenses and help with fares to hospital. Other financial help

4 You will also get full help with these if you receive one of the following: working tax credit and child tax credit or working tax credit with a disability addition or child tax credit (but are not eligible for working tax credit) and have an annual gross income of less than 15,276 per year. If you do not get help automatically, you may still get help if you have a low income. You can claim on form HC1 whether you are working or not. For details of passporting rules after the introduction of universal credit see Phone the help with health costs line on for more information or visit Help with housing costs Mortgage payments You may get help with your mortgage if you or your partner gets income support, income-based JSA, income related-employment and support allowance, universal credit or pension credit. These benefits pay something towards the mortgage interest. There is usually a waiting period of 13 weeks before you get any help, unless you are over the women s pension age. How to claim Ask for the mortgage interest forms when you are making a claim for any of the above benefits.

5 Rent You may be able to get help with your rent through housing benefit or universal credit if you are on a low income and have savings of 16,000 or less. It doesn't matter whether you are working or not but your earnings may affect the amount you can get. If you rent accommodation from a private landlord the maximum amount you can get is capped depending on where the property is, the number of people living in it and the size of the property. You can get the rates for your area by going to your local council's website. Social housing tenants of working age will have their benefit restricted if they are deemed to be under occupying their property. They will have to pay at least 14 per cent of their rent if they have one spare room, 25 per cent, for two or more rooms, even if they previously got a full rebate. Certain exceptions apply, for example, you may be allowed an extra bedroom for one foster child, certain disabled children or an adult child who is in the armed forces. If you could previously afford to pay your rent and haven't claimed housing benefit in the last 52 weeks - the reduction won't apply for the first 13 weeks of your claim. However, this exemption will not apply when housing costs are included in universal credit. Other financial help If there has been a death in the household, you may be exempt for up to 12 months, although, again, different rules will apply under universal credit.

6 See for more information on these restrictions and other groups who are exempt. The amount of help with housing costs you can get also varies with the amount of money you have coming in. However, if you are working and paying childcare costs, housing benefit will ignore from your weekly earnings the amount you pay for registered childcare costs up to a maximum of 175 per week for one child or 300 for two or more children. Maintenance payments and child benefit are also ignored. If you have non-dependants living with you (e.g. grown up children), this may also affect your housing benefit. If you are responsible for the rent and get attendance allowance, PIP daily living component, DLA care component or are registered blind, no deduction will be made for any non-dependants. How to claim You can claim housing benefit on a form available from your district or borough council. Forms can also be downloaded from their websites. New claims for housing benefit for people of working age will be replaced by universal credit at some point from October For more information see

7 Benefit cap A cap on the total amount of benefit a working age family can claim is being rolled out from July 15 in Hertfordshire. The cap is 500 a week for couples and people with children, 350 for single people. You are more likely to be affected if you have a large family or live in high-cost privately rented accommodation. The cap will be applied to housing benefit or universal credit. These proposals should not affect you if you, or your partner, or any dependant children get DLA, PIP, attendance allowance, ESA (support component), industrial injuries benefit or war pensions. If the cap is being applied to your housing benefit, you will also be exempt if you or your partner are entitled to working tax credit (WTC). You don't have to actually be getting any WTC or to have made a claim - you just need to be working enough hours to qualify - see leaflet 4. You may also be exempt for the first nine months of your claim if you were in work for 50 of the last 52 weeks and lost your job through no fault of your own. Other financial help For information on exemptions when the cap is applied to universal credit - see the introductory leaflet in this pack.

8 If you are struggling to meet your housing costs because your housing benefit or universal credit does not pay all of your rent you can ask the district or borough council for a discretionary housing payment to top up your benefit. You need to show that you require financial assistance to help meet your housing costs and that you have good reasons for getting extra help. Claims should be made in writing to your district or borough council and some councils have special forms for doing this. Council tax There are a number of ways you can get help with your council tax: discounts, a disability reduction or council tax support. You can get help through all three schemes at the same time, if you satisfy the conditions. Some homes may be exempt from council tax. Seek further advice from your local council about discounts, disability reductions or exemptions. Council tax support If you are on a low income you may be able to get some help towards paying your council tax. From April 2013 national council tax benefit was replaced by localised council tax support. Each local council has to devise its own scheme so there are ten different ones in Hertfordshire. As there is less money available many working age claimants will have to pay something toward their council tax even if they previously had a full rebate, although some groups may be protected, including those with disabilities and families with young children in certain areas. Some schemes also have additional help for those returning to work.

9 If you are struggling to pay your council tax you may also be able to get help from a special hardship fund. See your local council's website for more details on the scheme that applies to you. How to claim Contact your local council or download a form from their website. Help with one-off expenses If you need help with certain one-off expenses and are on a low income you may be able to get assistance from the social fund, which is administered by Jobcentre Plus. Payments include sure start maternity grants (see leaflet on pregnancy in this series), funeral grants, cold weather payments and budgeting loans. You may be able to get a budgeting loan for emergency and unforeseen expenses if you have been getting income support, income-related ESA, income-based JSA or pension credit for at least 26 weeks. Budgeting loans will be replaced by a system of budgeting advances in universal credit. How to claim For budgeting loans ring the social fund enquiry line on For funeral grants ring the DWP Bereavement Service on You can also download claim forms from Other financial help

10 Herts welfare assistance scheme In April 2013 community care grants and crisis loans were abolished and local councils were asked to provide local welfare provision. Administered by Hertfordshire County Council, the Herts welfare assistance scheme can give advice to people who need emergency help in a crisis. Contact HertsHelp on Short-term advance of benefit If you are in financial need because you are waiting for your first payment of benefit you should be able to get an advance of your future benefit award, which you will have to pay back from subsequent payments. To request a short term advance of benefit phone Jobcentre Plus on For more information about social fund payments and the new schemes, see Help with household bills If you are struggling with the costs of heating, lighting and water charges, there is a range of assistance available to help you pay your bills, reduce your costs or move on to cheaper payment methods. For more information see Help with household bills on You can also contact HertsHelp on for advice about help with heating costs.

11 Struggling with debt? Debt problems can affect anyone. If you find yourself struggling financially, it is better to speak with someone as soon as you can to help you to manage your situation. Useful contacts for dealing with your debt matters include: Citizens Advice Bureau on National Debtline on Step Change Debt Charity on Payplan Helpline on If you are having problems with unlicensed lenders known as loan sharks, contact the Illegal Money Lending Team on or You can also find useful information about debt and a downloadable debt self-help pack on the Money Advice Unit website Other financial help

12 MAU Leaflet 5 CS Pub 0123 issue 3 July 2013 Design Ref:

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