Depending on your circumstances, you may have access to a number of forms of welfare support.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provides up-to-date information on current available benefits:
There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap.
Council Tax Support
Council Tax Support (sometimes referred to Council Tax Reduction) is available to help people on a low income and/or certain welfare benefits.
It is the claimant’s local council that will decide whether someone is eligible or not to receive a reduction in their Council Tax.
Each council sets its own rules, and has the power to change these rules from each April.
Some English councils made changes to their Council Tax Support rules from April 2016 due to budget cuts.
Council Tax Discount Schemes are also available to people living in properties that have been adapted for the disablement needs of someone in the household, or if there is only one adult (18 or over) in the property (or the other adult is ‘severely mentally impaired’ or a student or a youth trainee or apprentice).
For further information contact Durham County Council.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Durham County Council have what is known as a ‘Discretionary Housing Payment’ (DHP) scheme, which offers help to tenants who need a little extra financial support.
The payments are solely to help with housing costs, are not a form of benefit, and the council will decide if you qualify.
DHPs are only ever meant to be a short-term solution and are administered by the council, with funds granted from the DWP.
To qualify, you must already be in receipt of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.
For more information and how to apply click here.
Non-dependants are normally classed as anyone living with you aged 18 or over (21 if you are on Universal Credit). However, this does not include children for whom you still receive Child Benefit.
The government makes the assumption that these adults will contribute towards your household costs, including rent and Council Tax.
A sum of money may therefore be deducted from your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, and any Council Tax Support awards.
To check your status contact Durham County Council.
Pensions and Pension Credit
A State Pension can be claimed when you reach a certain age, and you can check when you will qualify here.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit made up of two parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
Guarantee Credit is a benefit that people of Pension Credit Age can claim. It tops up your income to a minimum level and is more generous than working age means-tested benefits. Even if you are only entitled to a small amount, the good news is that you automatically qualify for maximum help with your rent too.
Savings Credit is for people aged 65 and over and provides extra money to those who have made some additional provision for their retirement (for example a private or works pension).
Changes from April 2016 mean that if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 you will not be able to make a new claim for Savings Pension Credit.
You can find out more about Pension Credits and how to apply here.
Personal Independent Payment
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit paid to help people with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability.
Most people who are currently receiving Disability Living Allowance (except the under 16s and those who were aged 65 on 8th April 2013) are gradually being reassessed for PIPs instead.
To check your status and how to apply click here.
Working Tax Credit
If you are currently in employment you may be entitled to Working Tax Credits.
You can check if you qualify here.