To ensure all customers and tenants are claiming the right income related benefits, tax credits and benefits for people with disabilities and their carers, Yorkshire Housing employs a team of Benefits & Money Advisors.
The team offers free, impartial and confidential advice on a range of issues relating to money and debt management as well as problems with rent arrears.
The ‘D’ Word
When money is tight it’s sometimes tempting to put off paying an important bill. However Yorkshire Housing Benefits & Money Advisor (BMA) Soyab Karolia says that’s often the worst thing you can do and may result in serious debt problems.
“It’s easy to think about missing one payment and catching up later,” he said. “But if you arealready struggling financially, it often becomes impossible to catch up and that’s when your problems really start.
“If you are struggling to pay your rent the important message is don’t ignore the problem – please inform your income officer. You won’t be the first person with this problem and you won’t be the last. We will work with you to come to an arrangement that is manageable for you and will ensure your tenancy remains safe.”
Top tips to manage debt
- Don’t ignore debts.
- Check you are claiming all the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to.
- Pay priority bills first – rent, gas and electricity.
- Work out what money comes in and what money goes out of your home each week.
- If you owe money to any organisation, contact them as soon as possible.
- Know your personal budget and show this to people you owe money to as this will help you plan reasonable repayments.
- Even if you offer to make small regular payments – it’s better than paying nothing at all.
- Always keep copies of any letters or papers you send or receive and make a note of what’s mbeen agreed in a telephone conversation.
- Do not borrow money to pay off your bills without getting independent financial advice.
- If any organisation is taking you to court – seek independent advice.
- Remember – you don’t have to cope on your own – help and advice is available if you ask for it.
Frequently asked questions
Can you advise me on benefits for disabilities?
Yes, we can advise customers with disabilities and their carers on what benefit is right for them to claim.
What do I do if I’m struggling to pay my rent?
If you are having difficulty keeping up with payments, you should contact us straight away. We can help in a number of ways such as giving advice on how to manage your money and helping you to apply for benefits.
We understand that sometimes difficulties arise and we want to help you pay your rent regularly so that you don’t fall into debt. It is important that you contact us as soon as you know there is a problem.
What does a Benefits and Money Advisor do?
A BMA is a Benefits & Money Advisor that has specialist welfare rights and debt knowledge. The BMA can also offer independent advice on most issues around money and benefits.
To find out who your Yorkshire Housing BMA is, please visit our Neighbourhood Contacts pages.
Can you tell me how much housing benefit I should receive?
Most of our customers receive housing benefit to help pay their rent. The team can work out what an individual will be expected to pay towards their rent to avoid arrears arising while a new claim is being processed or an existing one is being re-assessed.
How do I know which benefits I’m entitled to?
The team can give customers and tenants a benefits check to see if they are getting all that they are entitled to. The team can advise on which benefit to claim, how to claim it and help with filling in the forms.
The team can represent customers and tenants who need help to question decisions made by benefits departments.
Listed below are websites that we’ve used or been told about. This is not a full list of websites and we have not assessed each site. Yorkshire Housing do not recommend any of these sites in preference to others – just letting you know about some that we’ve found helpful.
If you have any suggestions for other websites you think might be helpful to people in a similar situation to you, please get in touch and let us know about them. Also, if you find any of these links not working, let us know and we’ll fix it.