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Just had a letter from my HA about the housing benefit changes. Some people are gonna be in the shit. It's madness

(73 Posts)
TheOriginalNutcracker Tue 26-Feb-13 13:20:52

This is what the letter said

'Universal credit will be paid in arrears as a single monthly payment, meaning there will be a five week gap in receiving your benefits when you move over to Universal Credit. Therefore we strongly advise all of our customers to over pay their rent by a small amount each month. This means that when you switch to universal credit you will be prepared for the 5 week gap in receiving your universal credit and your rent account won't fall into arrears. '

So basically then, people will be in arrears right from the off unless they can over pay beforehand. A lot of people I know, won't be able to afford to overpay.

Also whilst we are on the subject, can I just ask, if tax credits is going to be paid with the HB as one big payment ?? What about child benefit ??

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 01-Mar-13 08:24:44

"How are they going to deal with those who chose not to pay their rent "

'Choosing' not to pay rent (or mortgage etc) is a simpy a poor personal choice... not much a goverment can do about poor decision-making.

The UC is not coming in for most people until October and is being phased in for existing claimants over the subsequent six months. There are pilot schemes going on at the moment and a 'pathway' scheme starting in April. It will be understood from that experience that some won't manage the transition and I'd be very surprised if there aren't safety-nets in place. However, the emphasis of the UC is very much on personal responsibility as the default setting with intervention for the minority... not the other way around

giraffesCantDateDucks Fri 01-Mar-13 08:44:58

I work full time and I would bloody struggle if there was a sudden 5 week gap in my pay, so I have no idea how someone on a low rate like benefits is supposed to cope?

AAre they doing this to try and get people to borrow more money, owe more money and get in to debt or further debt?

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 01-Mar-13 08:48:00


It means a online budgeting tool and that's basicly a spreadsheet showing you what has to go where and when and possible restricting access to some claiments money on a day to day basis read

According to the training session one of my staff went on recently any issues would have to be mega to obtain the additional support and its short term.the intention is to not allow a variation on payment frequency unless forced to.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 01-Mar-13 08:49:56


No they are hoping more people just won't claim.

aufaniae Fri 01-Mar-13 09:40:08

I think it's clear that the government are hoping fewer people will claim. However they do also seem very keen on creating opportunities for profit for big business. Getting rid of crisis loans and inviting the private sector to step in creates profit for big business - it doesn't help the individuals involved.

IMO it comes from the same place as the appalling idea of distributing benefits out via a card (which can only be spent in participating places - i.e. big business, not markets / very small & second hand stores etc).

"It's all very well "managing money" when you have money to manage"


There's only so far money can go, no matter how carefully you meal plan and shop around and so on.

Plain fact is that one weeks benefit payment will barely cover the essentials for that one week. There's no way it could be made to cover 5 weeks. Just no way.

stretch Fri 01-Mar-13 23:26:34

Benefits are paid at a subsistence level. So 5 weeks from just 1 payment is impossible, as is 4 and 3 weeks. People could probably, just about, cope with 2 weeks.

But of course, people on benefits should go out and work, lazy scroungers..hmm

nametakenagain Sat 02-Mar-13 11:20:55

I'm finding it difficult to believe this is real

nametakenagain Sat 02-Mar-13 11:24:29

How can people entitled to benefits afford a 5 week gap in income? And does anyone think this is an acceptable consequence of imposing other painful changes?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 02-Mar-13 11:24:59

Child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit are already paid 4 in arrears. confused They are all paid 4 weeks in arrears. Does this mean the person receiving them will be paid at the normal time or will they get 2 months of money when they stop claiming?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 02-Mar-13 11:29:53

"Housing benefit is usually paid in arrears. This means that it is paid after your rent is due. It can be paid weekly, fortnightly, every four weeks or every month, depending on how frequently you pay your rent. You have a right to be paid fortnightly if your housing benefit is £2 a week or more and it is not being paid to the landlord."

From the CAB web site.
"Tax credits are normally paid in arrears, directly into a bank, building society or Post Office card account." (From the hmrc web site)

RatherBeOnThePiste Sat 02-Mar-13 11:34:34

I volunteer at a food bank and we are having to plan for a huge increase in the numbers of folk needing support, because of changes. The gov genuinely don't care and are a bunch of wankers sad

aufaniae Sat 02-Mar-13 11:54:03

Yes, this is confusing. HB does seem to be paid in arrears already. However the OP's housing association, along with Midland Heart Housing Association (although possibly the same organisation) clearly think there's going to be a 5 week gap as they're informing all their tenants about it, and Midland Heart mention it on their website.

Do they have good reason for thinking this? I would imagine they do if they've gone to the trouble of publicising it.

What will happen in reality? I don't know! The lack of solid info about UC is part of the problem!

aufaniae Sat 02-Mar-13 11:55:38

Although, even if it's HB's paid in arrears, if many people are getting it weekly or fortnightly in arrears, and then are switched to monthly in arrears, there could be a gap there.

stretch Sat 02-Mar-13 11:59:52

I can't believe this is being rolled out next month! People have no idea what they have to plan for, how much of a hit they will take. DWP/IDS seem to have no idea either hmm

Of course, if/when people do struggle (understatement), it will be all their own fault for not planning in advance etc.. confused

SchroSawMargeryDaw Sat 02-Mar-13 12:15:53

For DP and I and DS we get £190 a week altogether for the 3 of us and that's ESA, CTC and CB!

Wtf are we going to do. confused

I'm honestly a bit frightened.

TheOriginalNutcracker Sun 03-Mar-13 10:42:56

To those who asked, I am in birmingham, and yes my HA is Midland Heart. According to the letter I got, this will start in October.

One other point. I read on FB last night that if your smallest bedroom is less than 70sf it is not classed as a bedroom and so bedroom tax cannot be applied to it. Thats according to section 326 of the housing act.

I have no idea if it's tue or not, but thought it worth posting, just incase.

Smudging Sun 03-Mar-13 11:04:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rockmouse Sun 03-Mar-13 21:11:13

Just ask dh who works the DWP and yes this is right, ask for crisis loan ( before these go to, which is soon) put the money aside for this gap in payments. They only pay for somethings if you need advice will update. That's his advice

lubeybooby Sun 03-Mar-13 22:10:28

but rockmouse you can't get crisis loans now, you get a voucher for a food parcel from a food bank instead.

You'd need to have had a house fire or something to stand a chance of any actual cash at the levels needed for the stopgap.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Mon 04-Mar-13 00:13:21

lubey is right, they rarely give out crisis loans. If you're not claiming JSA or income support they won't even consider you for one.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 04-Mar-13 00:43:22

And its only a few months before the entire crisis loan system goes full stop.its not being replaced with anything.

Rockmouse Thu 07-Mar-13 11:48:07

Crisis loans still going to the of march. And you do not have be on benfits. The key what you say it's for. Do not let them tell you not get one, you have to ask for living crisis loan, per pay gas, elec and food. In April this service will be run by the council. Really have to stand up to the people on the other end of the , they will tell anything to put you off.

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