During Challenge Poverty Week we will be blogging each day to shine a spotlight on the work WCHG’s Financial Inclusion Officers do every day to challenge poverty.
These are the typical things that the team advise on to help tenants facing difficult financial times.
This afternoon I take a call from a tenant who I first spoke to over a month ago. He had made a claim for Universal Credit after having lost his job due to Covid 19. He calls me to let me know he has had his first payment of Universal Credit and it isn’t as much as he thought it would be. I ask him to log onto his UC journal and read out his assessment. I quickly realize that he has been assessed as having to pay only half of the rent on his flat, even though he is the only person living there.
This is a common problem that we come across regularly - where a tenancy is still in joint names despite one of the joint tenants having moved out. The DWP think that there are still 2 people liable to pay the rent so only award help on 50% of the rent. I send the tenant some text by email for him to cut and paste onto his journal to explain the situation and ask the DWP to look again at his claim. This tenant lives in a 2-bed flat and the rent wasn’t a problem when he worked but now he is unexpectedly unemployed the extra “bedroom tax” is a real struggle.
I send him a link to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment. This is extra help towards rent available from Manchester City Council. It is discretionary and only paid for short term problems but as he is hopeful to be back in work soon it would really help him.
Financial Inclusion Officer