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Can someone please talk me through applying for benefits?

(16 Posts)
CharCharGabor Wed 05-Feb-14 13:36:02

My xp left on Monday. I was a SAHM, with 3 dcs. So I need to claim benefits atm.

I have never done it before, and I am finding it really overwhelming. I just don't know where to start.

Should I apply for housing benefit first, or income support? Should I cancel my tax credits and make a new claim before any of that? I just don't know what to do sad

expatinscotland Wed 05-Feb-14 13:42:51

If you have a mortgaged home, you may not qualify for benefits, or if you have any savings or assets over a certain amount. If your children are older than 5, you will get Jobseeker's Allowance, not Income Support.

CharCharGabor Wed 05-Feb-14 13:45:03

I am privately renting, and have no savings. My youngest is 1.

expatinscotland Wed 05-Feb-14 13:46:49

Go to the CAB. It's possible the max LHA/HB will not cover all the rent.

GiveTwoSheets Wed 05-Feb-14 13:48:10

Claim income support on the form it will ask if you wish to claim for housing benefit.

Not sure about tax credits maybe phone them up and say about change of circumstances

WanderingAway Wed 05-Feb-14 13:48:11

If you rent you can apply for housing benefit however some private rents dont take housing benefit tenants.

I would apply for them all at the same time. Go to and fill out a claim form, phone tax credits and tell them and contact your local authority to apply for housing benefit.

Let me know if you need any more advice/help.

AmIatwat Wed 05-Feb-14 13:50:41

OK, so I'm hoping this is good advice.
Go along to you local jobcentre and ask for an appointment( don't try phoning, you wont get through), You can apply online but in my experience it was hellish, didn't understand the terminology and caused a massive hold up in my getting benefits.
Have with you as much details as you can lay your hands on.
* Proof of address, a utility bill from last couple of months
* Bank details and last two months statements
* national insurance number
* birth certificates
* details of rent or mortgage
* drivers license and passport if you have them
* proof of any savings
* national health numbers for children.

DIRECT.GOV has lots of advise too, like numbers to obtain details if you can't lay your hands on certain docs.

Then go to the local council offices and ask to see someone in housing benefit/council tax benefit. They will talk you through everything. Don't delay in doing this or you not get you council tax stopped. It doesn't happen automatically.
If you need to apply for free school meals, ask to see someone while you are there.

Council tax credits??? I'd phone them for help. You will be entitled to child tax credits even if you are not working. They are very helpful.
Try to keep on top of everything, it's stressful I know.

Take good care of yourself.

AmIatwat Wed 05-Feb-14 13:54:36

Sorry to ramble on but claiming online isn't easy, you need to know if it is contribution based benefit or not. If you don't understand it you might end up not getting what you are rightfully owed.

Funnyfoot Wed 05-Feb-14 13:57:04

Good site for helping with benefits.

CharCharGabor Wed 05-Feb-14 14:24:58

Thank you everyone, great advice here. I feel like there is so much to do and I've no idea where to start. Four days ago I was part of a happy family, I thought, and now this.

I think I will drop the older kids to school in the morning and then go to the one stop shop close by. I think I will feel a bit more in control when the finances are in order. God, I hate this.

FloweryFeatureWall Wed 05-Feb-14 15:01:16

You might find that the council won't process the housing benefit without proof of your income so the first port of call should be sorting the income support and getting your tax credits sorted ASAP.

Depending on your council, when you have all the paperwork it might get processed the same day or within a week or longer if it's slow. I know my council recommend waiting til you have all the proof before you hand it in because dribs and drabs of proof can delay the application. When you go you'll need the evidence that ami listed plus

Proof of child benefit (the letter with the amounts on)
Proof of tax credits (the amount letter thing)
Proof of income support (the conformation letter you'll eventually get)

AmIatwat Wed 05-Feb-14 16:00:19

In my experience this was not the case. It took an age to process my benefits and I carried on paying direct debit on council tax. I did get it paid back eventually, you can put your council tax on hold, you do not have to be on the system ( benefits). You must go there asap and explain,you have no income. They usually only pay council tax benefits from the day you make your claim.( wish I knew that at the time)
All the best.

FloweryFeatureWall Wed 05-Feb-14 16:13:23

I wasn't clear, sorry blush They may not process your application without proof but you definitely need to make contact with housing benefit office ASAP. They should date stamp your application to show that you've been in so that you can have it all backdated. I should watch my advice sometimes eek!

AmIatwat Wed 05-Feb-14 17:18:44

Flowery, you are right, yes, it won't be processed immediately, but will be backdated to date contacted. I made this mistake..

Monetbyhimself Wed 05-Feb-14 17:40:55

Hope you're okay OP. not sure about other benefits but tax credits can sometimes make a payment quite quickly. Has your Ex discussed any plans for maintenance for the children ?

CharCharGabor Thu 06-Feb-14 12:17:11

Sorry for my late return! Thank you so much for all of your advice. I applied for income support over the phone this morning, and made a new single claim for tax credits. I just need to ring about housing benefit in the morning and we will be sorted. It's the finances that are causing me the most stress, once I know we can eat, and live I will feel better.

He is intending to pay maintenance but I just can't trust him to keep to his word any more so I want to protect us.

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