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Unable to afford rent on house

(9 Posts)
BettyBleue Wed 17-Feb-16 22:37:10

Hi, I'm a single mum to a 7 month old DD. Where I live, housing is very expensive and I pay almost £900 per month for a house which I hate (the house is cold, small, mouldy and I really don't like the area) but when I chose to rent it, it was the only house which accepted pets (I have a dog) and when my ex and I moved in, we went halves on the rent and were both working full time. Now, I'm a single mum on maternity leave and on statutory maternity pay, shortly to go to no pay, and my ex has provided no financial help for our daughter, although he starts paying child maintenance in March.

Before xmas I applied for housing benefit from the council, however they have told me I can only apply after I have applied for working tax credit. When I did the online calculator for tax credit, it said I wasn't eligible, however you can only enter earnings for the tax year 2014-2015 and therefore it doesn't take into account my reduced pay whilst on maternity leave. The council however are still insisting that I go ahead and apply, but that I write in the comments section that I have only been getting SMP the past few months.

I feel I am getting nowhere with this. It takes 2 weeks to receive an application form for tax credits and then I have to wait for the form to be processed, which will be several more weeks, then I have to wait for the council to decide if I am eligible for housing benefit. In the meantime, I only have enough savings to last me another month, then I go into my overdraft. I desperately wanted to keep hold of some of my savings.

I feel so depressed about the situation. I desperately want to move away from this area completely, but with no money, I won't be able to afford moving costs or the deposit on another property. I feel completely trapped and don't know what to do.

Can anyone offer me any advice?

Thank you

Daffodil1210 Wed 17-Feb-16 22:49:07

Sorry, not much advice but didn't want to read and run, and am hoping this comment bumps the thread for you.

Can you try contacting HMRC directly to see if they can give you any advice on how to apply?

It sounds like a very difficult situation - hopefully someone will be able to offer advice flowers

MyKingdomForBrie Wed 17-Feb-16 22:53:32

How far could you move? Some areas are a lot cheaper than others. Could you move in with parents maybe for a couple of months to save money in the short term to get a deposit together for a much cheaper area?

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Wed 17-Feb-16 22:55:51

The council should be able to process the housing benefit application while you are applying for tax credits.
Tax credits will take into account the current year income rather than last year if it's your first year claiming.

BettyBleue Wed 17-Feb-16 23:04:10

Thank you for your replies. I contacted the HMRC but the person I spoke to wasn't very helpful. I also contacted the council and I was told that I had to apply for tax credits first as if they pay me housing benefit and then if I later receive tax credits, I might be overpaid and they would have to recoup the overpayment from me.

Only my Dad is still alive and he wouldn't be able to accommodate us.

coolaschmoola Wed 17-Feb-16 23:12:23

Although they ask for the previous years information if you tell them that the current year is significantly different they will take it into account. My DH took voluntary redundancy in one year, receiving a settlement on top of his decent wage. The following year he had a period of unemployment which meant we had to claim tax credits - if they had only looked at the previous year we wouldn't have got a bean, however they took proof in the form of pay slips etc that the current year was completely different and we were able to claim.

Flowerpower41 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:27:45

Why don't you go on the local housing register and see if you can bid for a permanent home.

Fourormore Thu 18-Feb-16 10:45:14

Get your tax credit claim in ASAP and give them this years figures.

HappyHedgehog247 Fri 19-Feb-16 07:00:38

Maybe try your local Citizens Advice Bureau? I think they have lots or experience of dealing with tricky benefit situations and may have some ideas.

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