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Managing your benefits

Bank accounts

Once universal credit is in place, any benefits you receive will be paid to you in one monthly sum. You will need a bank account which allows you to set up a direct debit to help you pay your rent and other bills. If you need help setting up an account get in touch with our welfare benefits team on 0208 522 2040 or email welfare.benefits@east-thames.co.uk. You can also read this handy guide to basic bank accounts from the Money Advice Service. It tells you how basic bank accounts work, how to get one, and what to do if things go wrong.

Help to pay your rent  

Having a safe and secure place to live is always a top priority, which means paying your rent should be your top priority every month. Setting up a direct debit which leaves your account just after you are paid your salary or benefits is a good way of making sure your rent is paid on time every month. You may also be eligible for support in helping you pay your rent.

Housing benefit

If you are on a low income you may be eligible for housing benefit to help you pay your rent. Housing benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances. You can apply for housing benefit whether you’re unemployed or working. Find out more about housing benefit here.

Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary housing payment (DHP) is extra money provided by councils to residents who claim housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit and who are struggling with their housing costs. The budget is limited and local authorities have discretion on how they assess your financial circumstances.

Other financial support available

You can no longer apply for a crisis loan, although they may be other emergency support available from your local authority if you are experiencing an emergency or severe financial hardship. For more information contact your local authority or speak to a member of the East Thames welfare benefits team  0208 522 2040 or email welfare.benefits@east-thames.co.uk.